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Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


War Diaries – 21st to 25th July 1944


21st July

Brigade HQ – AT SEA.

This evening, a concert was arranged by the padre of 2 LIR and the pipers and singers in the Brigade entertained all personnel aboard HMT Banfora over the internal communication system.


6 Innisks – AT SEA.

Weather bright and warm with calm sea.

1000 Usual ship rounds.

After ship rounds, Lt Col Kerr gave a talk to officers and senior NCOs on the Middle East. This was a very interesting and enlightening talk and afterwards others, who had spent time in the Middle East were invited to talk on their experiences there.

1630 OC Troopship called a conference for all officers and informed them of embarkation on 22nd July.

The remainder of the day was uneventful.

In the evening, a concert was held and relayed over the ship’s microphone transmission.


2 LIR.

At sea.



22nd July

Brigade HQ – EGYPT.

0800 Convoy arrived at Alexandria.

0900 Brigade Commander comes aboard, having flown from Bari to Cairo.

0930 Brigade commences to disembark in lighters. 6 Innisks first followed by Brigade HQ and 2 LIR. Pipe Band of 2 Innisks played the brigade ashore.

1030 6 Innisks, Brigade HQ and 2 LIR em-bused at the docks and proceeded to Amiriya Transit Camp and arrived there at 1230 hrs.


1 RIrF – PORT SAID.

1800 Docked.


6 Innisks – AT SEA.

Weather fine and warm.

0500 Reveille.

0800 The ship pulled into Alexandria harbour and all preparations were made for disembarkation.

0945 Personnel were taken ashore by lighter, landing at the dock at 1000 hrs. The Pipe Band of 2 Innisks played as the bttn came ashore and several officers and ORs of 2 Innisks were there to meet us.

1015 Bttn proceeded by MT to Amiriya Transit Camp about 9 miles south east of Alexandria, where a hot meal was prepared.

Lt Col J Kerr and the Orderly Room Clerk went to 2 Innisks to discuss further points on personnel to be retained when the 6th Bttn was disbanded.

A baggage party was left in Alexandria to collect the heavy baggage. The bttn was warned for an early move next morning so everyone settled down to sleep soon after dinner.


2 LIR – EGYPT.

0900 Convoy arrives at Alexandria.

Bttn disembarks and moves by transport to 58th Transit Camp (Amiriya District), 15 miles from Alexandria. Bttn spends night in this camp.



23rd July

Brigade HQ – AMIRIYIA.

0530 Brigade em-bused.

0630 Brigade convoy left Amiryia. Order of march – Brigade HQ, 6 Innisks, 2 LIR. Destination Qassassin.

1230 Lunch halt. Convoy passed over Delta Barrage, then ran parallel to Ishmalia Canal through Tel el Kebir to Qassassin.

Convoy arrives at Qassassin Camp.

1900 Brigade Group, including 1 RIrF, who landed at Port Said established at Qassassin Camp.


1 RIrF – QASSASSIN.

0630 Disembarked and proceeded by train.

1500 Arrived at Qassassin. Major Crehan and Captain Chambers S/O to No 1 General Hospital. Major N Chance rejoined unit.


6 Innisks – ALEXANDRIA.

Weather fine and warm.

0330 Reveille.

0345 – 0445 Breakfast. Considerable difficulty was found in getting everyone fed owing to the shortage of cookhouses.

0530 Bttn, along with the rest of 38 Brigade, em-bused.

0630 Convoy moved off and had an uneventful journey across the desert.

1230-1330 A halt was called and the cooks made tea. Haversack rations were eaten.

1810 Convoy arrived at Qassassin Camp where it was met by the advance party and personnel were guided to their tents.

As usual, the bttn did not take long to settle in and very soon everything was well established.


2 LIR – EGYPT.

0500 Bttn em-bused for move to Qassassin Camp.

0630 Bttn moved.

1100 Halt for tea meal at Khatatea Refugee Camp area.

1800 Bttn arrive in Qassassin Camp


24th July

Brigade HQ – QASSASSIN.

Day spent in cleaning and reorganising camp sites and areas. Admin Orders received concerning future leave. Four periods allotted each of five days allowing 25% of units to go on the one period. Leave is to Cairo, Alexandria or Ishmalia. Also 15% of unit strength allowed on day leave to these three places. Brigade Commander lays down training policy, which is to spend as much time on PT and drill during the early morning and then progressive talks or talks in the evening. Arrangements were also made for AEC lecturers to come and talk to units on various political and topical subjects. Welfare facilities for the men are excellent. There are plenty of NAAFIs, concerts and cinemas and they have set a high standard, which was very pleasing to see.


1 RIrF – QASSASSIN.

Light training. PT drilling etc. Adopted pre war routine.


6 Innisks – QASSASSIN.

Weather fine and warm.

0730 Reveille.

During the day, the btttn settled down to learning all over again the ways of peace time soldiering. Equipment was scrubbed etc, and soon long lists of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts” were published and it soon became obvious that the complete freedom we had enjoyed in Italy would now be seriously curtailed. An Officers’ Mess and Sergeant’s Mess were started and in the ORs’ Dining Tents, plates were available, a much appreciated change after the long spell of feeding from mess tins.

0900 The first Regimental Quarter Guard was mounted.

1000 RMO started the first of a series of lectures to coys on VD and anti malarial precautions.

In the evening, the bttn was allotted 25 seats at the ENSA show of ‘Nomads of the Nile’ and the same allotment was to continue nightly until 29th July.


2 LIR – EGYPT.

1000 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ.

Arrangements being made for leave parties to Cairo, Alexandria and Ishmalia.

Transport drawn from BOD – 13 x 3 tonners, 28 x 15 cwts, 9 Jeeps and 3 Portees. Also five 6 pounder A/Tk guns.



25th July

Brigade HQ – QASSASSIN.

General routine. Early morning parades and day leave parties. Brigade Commander now acting Divisional Commander, while Divisional Commander is away and the other Brigade Commander’s are on a course.


1 RIrF – QASSASSIN.

Five day leaves to Cairo, Alexandria and Ishmalia. Lieut Beamish rejoined bttn.


6 Innisks – QASSASSIN.

Weather very bright and warm.

0530 Reveille.

0630 First parade; parades were to continue until midday only.

The disbandment of the bttn on 10th August made a great deal of extra work for Bttn HQ, the personnel of the Bttn Orderly Room working until 0430 hrs on 26th July.

Leave for 6 days was to be arranged for the whole bttn on the basis of 25% at a time for 4 periods, to one of three locations – Cairo, Alexandria and Ishmalia, the first party leaving on 26th July.

Lt Col J Kerr returned from the 2nd Bttn, bringing with him Lt Col R Scott and reps from the 2nd Bttn in order that further conferences might be held with 6 Innisks coy commanders on the disbandment.

6 Innisks Leave Instruction No 1 issued.

A party went to the ENSA show ‘Nomads of the Nile’.


2 LIR – EGYPT.

1230 Balance of G1098 stores drawn from ADOS.

2300 Baggage party and baggage arrive from Alexandria.



 

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