26th July

Brigade HQ – SOUSSE.

1130 Brigade HQ moved from assembly area to Sousse docks to embark. HQ was split up to three parties; Brigade Major, BTO (Captain Nightingale), and OC, Signals Section (Captain Parsons). Personnel and vehicles were distributed accordingly on three different MT carrying vessels. Loading was completed by 1600hrs, and the vessels lay off Sousse, until the convoy sailed, approximately at midnight.


1 RIrF – SOUSSE.

0000 Transport serials left camp to embark on LST.

0400 Transport loaded with no mishaps.The ship was found to be fairly uncomfortable – each man had a bed below decks, and there was ample room for walking about on deck, despite the vehicles.

Marching serials went aboard LCIs during the evening. The allotment of ships for the bttn was one LST and four LCIs.

Convoy sailed.


6 Innisks – SOUSSE.

Remainder of Bttn with assault scales of transport embarked at Sousse port. All transport and HQ and S Coy personnel on an LST. Balance of Rifle Coy personnel on LCI.

2300 Convoy sailed.


2 LIR.

1800 Battalion left camp and marched to docks at Sousse.

2000 Battalion embarked on LST and LSIs.

2100 Convoy formed up off shore.



27th July

Brigade HQ – AT SEA.

Brigade HQ spent a very unhappy day aboard HM Transports on a choppy sea, which laid many low, irrespective of rank, for the majority of the journey. Fortunately the wind ceased with the fall of night.


1 RIrF – AT SEA.

A somewhat unpleasant day, owing to a very heavy sea. The ships, being flat bottomed, rolled excessively, and a large proportion of the troops, especially those in LCIs, were seasick.


6 Innisks – AT SEA/SICILY.

Rifles coys landed on beaches on Sicily south of Syracuse, and marched to Divisional Assembly Area, where the balance of light scales of transport (5 vehicles) was found awaiting them.

Remainder of bttn at sea, where adverse weather was encountered, both LSIs and LSTs rolling like a barrel. Considerable seasickness and conditions on board were far from comfortable.


2 LIR.

0400 Convoy sailed for Sicily and started a very rough passage to Ochrina Bay.



28th July

Brigade HQ – SICILY.

0700 Sicily sighted.

0915 MT Transport unloading on beach (J0920) and MT and personnel proceeded to concentration area (J0620) Cassibile, with the exception of Brigade Major’s party, otherwise all Brigade HQ. MT and personnel were in concentration area by 1600hrs.

1600 Captain Nightingale ((BTO) received orders to proceed to 78 Division concentration area Mineo (H6152) at once.

1745 Brigade HQ left concentration area (J0620) and proceeded to Mineo (H6152) via Floridia (J0232) and Palazzolo (H8030).

2045 Convoy halted about 5 miles past Palazzolo and Captain Nightingale (office in charge of convoy) was advised by CMP control that to proceed in the hours of darkness (lights not allowed) was extremely dangerous owing to the precipitous nature of the route; in consequence, Brigade HQ leaguered for the night in area (H7735).


1 RIrF – SICILY.

0830 Convoy beached about twelve miles south of Syracuse. Bttns marched about five miles along an extremely dusty road to 78th Division assembly area. CO went straight on forward to meet Brigadier at Mineo.

1430 Bttn’s MT moved.

1600 Marching personnel left assembly area in 3 tonners.


6 Innisks – SICILY.

Balance of Rifle coys landed and joined coys in Divisional assembly area. All coys lofted on 3 tonners and moved to Albospino (Sicily 269. 5273).

1300 Transport and remaining personnel disembarked from LST on Amber Beach (Sicly 269. 0515) and moved to Divisional assembly area.

1445 R & A groups leave for Albospino.

1600 Reminder of bttn less carriers leave for Albospino. Bad roads over mountains mostly at night. Total distance 97 miles.


2 LIR.

1100 Battalion landed at Bay of Ochrina – about 10 miles South of Syracuse and marched from beach to Divisional concentration areas.

1630 Battalion left by transport via Floridia, Palazzolo, Biccher, Vizzini and Mineo. Battalion bivouacked for night 2 miles north of Mineo.



29th July

Brigade HQ– SICILY.

0515 Brigade HQ continued via Bucherri ((H7537) and Vizzini ((H6741) to Mineo (H6152). From Mineo, on its peak, the convoy entered the Divisional concentration area and proceeded to Brigade concentration area (H5173) Albospino.

1400 Brigade HQ established at Albospino (H518730). Bttns were disposed as shown on trace, attached as appendix (6 Innisks 528728, 2 LIR 505722, 1 RIrF 517723, Support Group 502723.

17 Field Regiment, 254/64 A/Tk Regiment, 280/49 LAA and 214 Field Company RE were detached from 38 Brigade Group. 38 (Irish) Brigade Operational Order No 6 issued as Appendix.


1 RIrF – SICILY.

0030 Bttn MT arrived in new area 5172.

0300 Marching personnel arrived in transport.

The roads on the way up were extremely bad, and several breakdowns and accidents occurred. One three tonner containing a platoon of B Coy mortared with the result that one officer and nine men were admitted to hospital and several others sustained minor injuries. Lieut LG Dunn admitted to hospital.

Bttn spent a quiet day re-organising in new area. Extensive recces were made for the forthcoming operation, which was to take Centuripe and the high ground round it.


6 Innisks – SICILY.

0600 Transport arrives, although not without casualties to vehicles.

Carriers left Divisional assembly area.

New area is stubble field with gully containing washing water. Bttn HQ is established in a farm, whose Sicilian owner is most hospitable. Recce of possible future area of operations by Brigade O Group.


2 LIR.

0800 Battalion continued by transport to Albospino, west of Raddusa, lie up in assembly area.

1000 “O” Group recce forward areas.

2300 “S” Company arrived in assembly area from Ochrina Bay.



30th July

Brigade HQ – SICILY.

Brigade Major’s party arrived here 1200hrs. Camp Commandant and advance party left for new area. Major MF Douglas Pennant resumed appointment of Brigade Major.

Brigade Major made recce of new Brigade area.

1130 Brigade HQ, Bttns and Support Group moved to Brigade concentration area 5179, arriving in new area approximately 0400/31, after gruelling journey over bad track.


1 RIrF – SICILY.

0800 CO’s orders for the attack.

Brigade operational order.

2030 Bttn moved to a new Brigade assembly area.

2200 Bttn arrived in new area 515791.


6 Innisks – SICILY.

Carriers rejoined bttn.

Bttn moved by night to forward assembly area at distance 7 miles.

Heat considerable and water in short supply. Bttn again on compo rations.


2 LIR.

Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer recce forward areas. Battalion warned to move.

2000 Battalion moves into hills and bivouacked in area 5 ½ miles North of Albospino.



31st July

Brigade HQ – SICILY.

2/Lieut JS Page Backhouse attached this HQ as 2.i.c. Signals Section.

0915 Six FW 190s made low level attack on Brigade area dropping three or four light bombs and machine gunning. No damage or casualties.

1200 Camp Commandant and advance party left for new area.

Purchase of mules and muleteers.


1 RIrF– SICILY.

A quiet day. Some doubt arose as to whether the attack was to take place.

1900 Bttn moved up again to area 5583.

On this night, 36 Brigade attacked Centuripe unsuccessfully.


6 Innisks – SICILY.

Extremely hot day.

1600 C & D Coys under command of 1 RIrF and moved to defensive position at 5482.

1800 B & A Coys moved to defensive positions on pt 230 (5984). A 7 mile march, much of which was over stony mountain tracks in the dark. Supporting arms were unable to follow.


2 LIR.

0900 Six MEs flew over battalion area and dropped bombs near brigade. Probably looking for tanks which were in the area yesterday.