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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 – 6th to 10th July 1944

6th July

Brigade HQ – ITALY.

Leave parties to Rome and preparations for the handover of transport and stores continues.


1 RIrF – TIVOLI.

Advance parties from 56 Division arrived.


6 Innisks – TIVOLI.

The Bttn Pipe Band was taken to Rome to give a performance and a great crowd was drawn, which showed great appreciation. The usual allotment of 30% of the bttn went to Rome on day pass.

The rest of the day was quiet and uneventful.


2 LIR – TIVOLI.

0900 Usual leave parties to Rome.

Advance parties from 2/7 Queens, 56 Division arrive in bttn area.



7th July

Brigade HQ – ITALY

Leave parties to Rome and preparations for handover to 169 Brigade continues. Orders received for future moves of the brigade. Advance parties to recce concentration area at Taranto to move by rail at 1400 hrs, 9 July. Brigade to move by rail on 10 July from Rome to Taranto to a concentration area there. Trains, each holding 800 men, leave at 0900, 1200 and 1500 hrs.

6 Innisks and 50% Brigade HQ to leave at 0900 hrs. 2 LIR and remainder of Brigade HQ at 1200 hrs, 1 RIrF at 1500 hrs.


1 RIrF – TIVOLI.

PT interior economy. Day leaves.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier George Kennedy, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – TIVOLI.

Weather still fine and warm.

Normal allotment of day passes to Rome.

38 Brigade opened a canteen  – the ‘Shamrock Club’ – for the three bttns, which were well organised and fully appreciated by all the troops who used it.


2 LIR – TIVOLI.

0800 Usual leave parties to Rome.

0900 Transport, except for essential vehicles but including AFVs and A/Tk guns handed over to 2/7 Queens.

1800 Lt Col J McCann, Welfare Officer, Rome area and former Second in Command of bttn visited Bttn HQ.



8th July

Brigade HQ – ITALY.

At 1200 hrs, the Brigade Commander opened the Shamrock Club. The situation of feeding troops in Rome was still far from good and it was decided to open a restaurant for the Brigade Group. A great deal of hard work was put in by the Staff Captain in finding a suitable restaurant and organising the running of it. The restaurant was situated in the Via Gamero in Rome and was a complete success from the very beginning. A total of 700 meals being sold during the first day. In the evening at the Barberini Palace in Rome, Brigade TPD Scott and the officers of the HQ held an officers dance for the Brigade Group. About four hundred guests were present and the whole evening was an outstanding success, much appreciated by all. The Brigade Pipe Band played Retreat before the dance and later on in the evening, the pipers danced jigs and reels, followed by some Haymakers Jigs danced by the officers and their guests.

Lt-Col HEN Bredin MC returns to the brigade. He was wounded on Piumarola on 17th May when commanding the 6 Innisks.


1 RIrF – TIVOLI.

Massed bands of 38th Brigade beat Retreat on the square of Barberini Palace, followed by brigade dance.


6 Innisks – TIVOLI.

Weather fine and warm.

The bttn was to move on the 10th without transport, which was being handed over to 2/4 Hampshires of 56 Division. Therefore, the job of packing everything in crates was begun – the Bttn Pioneers being called upon for advice and assistance far more than was usual.

The Brigade Commander gave a dance for all officers of the Brigade in Rome. This was preceded by the Brigade Pipe Bands playing Retreat in the grounds of the palace where the dance was held.

The whole evening was very successful and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.


2 LIR – TIVOLI.

0815 Bttn parade of all RCs to practice drill for forthcoming visit to Vatican City.

1000 Bttn bathing at MBU.

1800 Intercoy football matches – HQ v G, E v H.



9th July

Brigade HQ – ITALY.

All stores and transport handed over to 169 Infantry Brigade. Brigade pick up remaining stores and prepares to entrain tomorrow for staging area, just outside Taranto. Brigade Commander addresses the officers and men of 6th Bttn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He explained to the bttn that they were being disbanded on orders from the War Office and were being amalgamated with the 2nd Bttn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The 2nd Bttn would retain the name and become part of the Irish Brigade. The officers and men made surplus to establishment by the amalgamation would become first line reinforcements for the brigade.


1 RIrF – TIVOLI.

Lt-Col JH Coldwell Horsfall assumed command. Divisional audience with the Pope. Carriers handed over. Advance party left for Taranto.


6 Innisks – TIVOLI.

Weather cloudy and cooler with high wind.

There were no day passes for Rome today, owing to the need for completing all arrangements for the move on the 10th. Packing etc went on all day and everything was stacked ready for loading.

1700 Brigade Commander arrived at Brigade HQ and spoke to all officers on the subject of the bttn being disbanded and asked for all assistance in softening the blow. After speaking to the officers, he spoke to the whole bttn and said that it had been decreed by higher authorities that the bttn was to be disbanded owing to the lack of Irish reinforcements.

The Second Bttn was to come from the 5th Division to take our place in the ‘Irish side’, but the Brigadier promises that as many personnel as possible of the 6th would be absorbed into this bttn and others would go to the 1 RIrF and 2 LIR, thus keeping as many of the 6th Inniskillings as possible in the brigade.

A new W/E raising the total for the bttn to 43 officers and 900 other ranks considerably helped in this. The bttn received the news with mixed feelings, none of them pleasant, for the men of the bttn had done a lot of good work together and had played a leading part in building up the reputation of the Irish Brigade. However….


2 LIR – TIVOLI.

0715 Bttn Parade of all RCs and a number of CEs for visit to the Pope and the Vatican City.

1730 Bttn warned for move on following day. All remaining stores packed up.

1900 CO addresses bttn and announce his transfer as CO of 1 RIrF. Lt-Col HEN Bredin, MC, assumes command of the bttn.



10th July

Brigade HQ – ITALY.

0900 6 Innisks and 50% Brigade HQ entrains at Rome station and move off at 0915 hrs.

1200 2 LIR and remainder of Brigade HQ entrain.

1500 1 RIrF en-train.


1 RIrF – TIVOLI.

Entrain at Rome for Taranto. Captain Hodsell and Lieut Room left bttn.


6 Innisks – TIVOLI.

Weather, cloudy but warm.

0500 Reveille.

0530 Heavy baggage went off to Prenestina Station, where it was loaded onto the train.

0640 Bttn left in RASC transport for Prenestina Station, where they entrained in box wagons, 30 men to a truck.

0910 Train pulled out and a very slow train journey commenced; about 25 miles being covered in the first ten hours.

1900 Train halted in a siding and food was cooking at the side of the line.


2 LIR – TIVOLI.

0900 Bttn leaves in TCVs for Prenestina Station.

1030 Bttn arrives at station and boards train,

1200 Train journey begins.



 

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