Skip to content

Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


War Diaries – 16th to 20th June 1944

16th June

Brigade HQ.

0800 Forward troops have now reached 537710.

2 LF, 418778–400768. 1 Surreys along 75 Northing.

1415 6 Innisks concentrating. Bttn HQ moving to 518566 and coys concentrating around there.

1800 Warning Order. One coy 1 RIrF to report to 56 Recce tonight. The remainder of the battalion to report tomorrow. 1 RIrF come under command 56 Recce. Transport to be provided within the Brigade Group.Thirteen x 3 tonners from 6 Innisks, seven from 2 LIR and 5 from Brigade HQ.


1 RIrF.

0430 Battle Patrol plus 2 sections from B Coy with 2 mortar carriers as support and commanded by Lieut Manson were sent as part of a task force to 9th Armoured Brigade HQ where they came under command with the task of clearing Route 71 with the aid of tanks from Citta Della Pieve 3784 to Castiglione De Lago 4295.

2100 Bttn Warning Order to move in brigade transport to area of present location of 56 Recce where bttn was put under command of Lt Col Chavasse as support to 56 Recce.

A Coy with B Coy in reserve moved along axis of Route 79 behind elements of 56 Recce until Monte Giove was reached.

2115 Forward recce elements held by A/Tk guns and mortaring from the area of the castle.

2230 A Company attacked and captured the castle killing five and capturing 35 prisoners and large quantities of equipment including trucks and three 75 mm A/Tk guns.


6 Innisks – TORDIMONTE.

Weather – fine and warm.

No events during the morning.

The bttn had been told that as the battle had moved so far o, it was no longer operational and that a more comfortable area could be recced.

1400 This had been done and the bttn moved to an area nearer the river and bivouacs were brought up:

The dispositions now were: Bttn HQ 518566, A Coy – 517569, B Coy – 516565, C Coy – 533569, D Coy – 537570.

S Coy was in the castle at Corbara and they discovered some very good wine in the cellars. The bttn, not being operational, made good use of it.

At dusk, the Mobile Film Unit put on a cinema show for the bttn.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0800 Bttn bathing at MBU.

Information: 11 Brigade passed through bttn area moving north along axis Route 71 and reached Ficulle.



17th June

Brigade HQ.

0500 Remainder of 1 RIrF pass SP for move forward to join 56 Recce.

1945 Mobile carrier patrols operating with 9 Armoured Brigade to Brigade HQ. They had a successful operation in the Citta del Pieve sector and were highly praised by CO, 3 KOH.

The patrols managed to get into the town but had to come back due to lack of tank support and increasing enemy opposition.


1 RIrF.

0500 B Coy who had been following up joined A Coy and consolidated.

0700 Bttn moved forward and concentrated in the area of the castle.

1430 A and B Coys moved forward and consolidated ground gain gained by the Recce in area 8855 where a two company front was held for the night.

Rain throughout the night


6 Innisks – TORDIMONTE.

Weather – rain at intervals, low cloud and mist.

Bttn spent a quiet day, resting, swimming in the Tiber and attended to washing, sewing and other domestic duties.

1900 Brigade Commander visited the bttn – socially and was asked by the CO if a dance in celebration of Waterloo Day could be held in Orvieto. The Brigadier could not answer at nice as permission had to be obtained from Divisional HQ.

1930 Permission was given by Brigade HQ for 5 officers and 50 ORs to visit Rome for the day on 19th June.

2000 Warning order was received from Brigade HQ that the brigade would move to area Montegabbione (4481).

Lieut Foster rejoined the battalion having escaped from the enemy when they ran into a party of British troops at Montecastello 6572. He also brought back the man, who had detailed to watch him.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1800 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ. Informs CO that bttn will probably not be committed for 5 days.



18th June

Brigade HQ.

0130 Brigade Group warned to move to concentration area Monte Giove 4881 south.

0600 Sixty men per bttn and 20 from Brigade HQ leave for the day in Rome.

0915 Brigade HQ pass SP.

0930 2 LIR pass SP.

1100 6 Innisks pass SP.

1900 Brigade Group now in new area. Brigade HQ 483811, 2 LIR 473808, 6 Innisks 455799, D Support Group and 254 A/Tk Battery also in new area.

There are still several vehicles from all units stuck behind the diversion at 452808. There was considerable rain during the day, which made the diversion eventually impassable after so many vehicles had gone over it.  At 2330 hrs, there was very heavy downpour of rain, which made it impossible for any vehicles to pass the diversion either way. It was decided to wait until the morning to clear the diversion. One coy 6 Innisks warned to move at first light to assist the REs in mending the road.

R Group, 2 LIR, at half hour notice to move from 0730 hrs and battalion at one hour notice from same time.

1 RIrF remain under command 56 Recce.


1 RIrF.

1000 Recce made good progress during the day and found a bridge at 9050 untouched as B Coy was sent forward to protect it and to form a bridgehead across the river.

1400 D Coy given task of clearing enemy infantry from Castello to 498839 and this entailed a long approach march as tracks were impassable for trucks.

1800 D Coy cross river and lie up just short of Castello awaiting artillery stonk.

2100 Advance started but no contact was made and the company consolidated in area 498839 with C Coy as a firm base in Castello.

2225 One platoon sent forward to probe as far as Rasale. Still no contact so company was moved forward to the area 498839 where they remained by the Bttn HQ and S Coy were still in the area of Monte Giove


6 Innisks – TORDIMONTE.

Weather overcast – heavy rain at intervals.

0600 Advance party left to recce new in accordance with brigade instructions. Rest of bttn started to pack and clean up the area ready for the move.

0800 Party left for Rome, followed by envious eyes from the rest of the bttn.

1100 Bttn em-bused and left on its long journey to Castel Di Fiori (454798). Brigade SP at junction of Routes 71 and 79 was passed at 1115 hrs. For four hours, the bttn travelled through rain and mist arriving in area 4382, where a diversion had been turned into a quagmire by the rain, and it took some eight hours for the bttn to get past it. The leading coy arrived in Castel Di Fiori at 1915 hrs. Two stray German Paratroopers remaining in the area were promptly seized. The last of the bttn arrived in the area just after midnight.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0500 Bttn move to area to Montegiove 4880.

0945 Bttn including B Echelon, move by transport.

1345 Bttn arrive in area Montegiove. Bttn established at 485816.

1430 Sitrep to coys: 1 RIrF in area 5086. 56 Recce across river 5090. Piegaro in our hands. Enemy hold Citta Della Pieve with paratroops. 1 RIrF entered Citta Della Pieve two days ago, killed 25 enemy and took 50 PoWs. Responsibility of the town was handed over to 1 East Surreys. The enemy afterwards reoccupied the town.

78 Division Intention: To bypass enemy strong point Citta Della Pieve by crossing river in area 5090. 38 Brigade Intention: 1 RIrF to push forward through 56 Recce bridgehead. 2 LIR presumably will go through 1 RIrF – probable route via track Montegrande–Castiglione 5087.

Bttn at 1 hrs’ notice to move – later cancelled.



19th June

Brigade HQ.

Heavy rain during night and morning

REs had left work on diversion so Pioneer Platoon and one more coy from 6 Innisks were sent down to the diversion at 0900 hrs. Transport started moving through by 1000 hrs.

1055 Rome leave parties return.

1100 Brigade Group to move to area Tavernelle 4881 north.

1130 Prisoners arrive. Two taken by 6 Innisks from 1 Para Regiment, five from 6 Coy 754 Regiment, two from 3 Coy 755 Field Regiment. Two officers by D Support Group from 334 Artillery Regiment.

1500 2 LIR pass SP.

1600 Brigade HQ pass SP.

Only 25 TCVs were available for the brigade. They were used by 2 LIR and then had to return to pick up 6 Innisks. Also, the route taken was along a third class road with two very bad diversions through streams. This, together with the torrential rain, made it difficult for the vehicles to get though and slow time was mde.

2000 Brigade HQ and 2 LIR established in new area.

Brigade HQ at 488817 north, 2 LIR HQ at 496814 north.

6 Innisks were established in Tavernelle by 2200 hrs. D Support Group and 254 A/Tk Battery were not complete until the following morning due to traversing the diversion.

1 RIrF still under command 56 Recce and now in area Bartocciame 5089 north. To revert back to command 38 Brigade at 0600 hrs tomorrow morning.

Brigade Commander saw Divisional Commander during the day and received instructions for forthcoming operations.

Irish Brigade to advance on morning of 21st June, passing through 11 Brigade and attack north towards Castiglione 4195.


1 RIrF.

0630 A Coy proceeded to area Castello.

0830 C Coy plus one squadron of 56 Recce with a battery of SP guns in support under command of Major Neville Chance given task of clearing the track as far as Lake Trasimene.

1130 A Coy arrive at start line 498839 and are given the task of protecting the right flank of C Company.

1500 C Company report one platoon astride the main lake road in area.

1530 Patrol sent to village at 508891 where enemy are reported to be. A short clash took place in which Sgt Boviard was killed and L/Cpl Brown wounded. One prisoner was captured from 4 Para Regiment.

1600 A Company confirm on the right flank of C Coy.

1630 D Coy given task of clearing and capturing a castle at 475880 thus conforming on the left flank of C Coy. A three company front was held by the battalion for the next two days.

1900 Tac Bttn HQ moved into castle, which was held by D Coy.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Charles Hallett, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Sergeant William Bovaird, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Jeffrey Taylor, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – CASTEL DI FIORI.

Weather – slight rain, low cloud and mist all day; dampness made diversions difficult.

0900 CO returned from Rome, having been travelling since 2000 hrs on 18th June.

Bttn had been found billets and so the bad weather did not cause much worry.

Various working parties were sent out as follows to assist REs in making diversions passable. D Coy from road junction 437821 to 435845 and the Bttn Pioneers to 425822.

B Coy were standing by to lend assistance but were not needed.

1215 Bttn received warming order of move (not before 1600 hrs) to Tavernelle W 4881 (NIG) and recce party moved off.

1500 Party from Rome returned having been on the road since 1630 hrs on 18th June.

The bttn was pleased to notice that in today’s issue of the ‘Crusader’, the article on the ‘Infantryman’ written by Lt-Col Bredin, MC, was published. Two paragraphs had been omitted but this was no surprise as Lt-Col Bredin felt strongly on the merits of the infantryman.

1515 Warning Order received from Brigade HQ, times not given owing to shortage of TCVs, which had to lift 2 LIR and Brigade HQ before returning to carry 6 Innisks.

2015 CO started off to new location but found that owing to the very bad conditions of the road, traffic was blocked and not moving, so he returned to the bttn.

2130 Message was sent to Brigade HQ asking for permission to move at first light on the 20th owing to the bad state of the road.

Italians civilians reported 5 enemy in houses, two kilometres away and A Coy sent out two sections to investigate.

2200 After visit from CMP, who confirmed that the roads were impassable, CO decided that the bttn would stay in position for the night and leave at 0530 hrs on 20th June.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

O Group at immediate notice to move as from 0700 hrs. To RV at road fork 482812. Bttn at 1 hrs’ notice from 0700 hrs. Order of march – E, F, G, H Coys, Bttn HQ and S Coy. S Coy prepared to go forward after bttn reaches new area in following priority – Mortar Platoon, VMG Platoon, A/Tk Platoon. B Echelon to remain in present area.

1300 Bttn warned to move at 1500 hrs.

1900 Bttn arrives area Tavernelle. Bttn HQ established 498813.



20th June

Brigade HQ.

0930 Brigade Commander goes out on recce with COs, 2 LIR and 6 Innisks and Second in Command 1 RIrF. 11 CAR now in support of this brigade. Lt Col Purvis CO 11 CAR visits the Brigade Commander and goes out on recce with him.

1800 Brigade Commander’s O Group.

Following were present: CO 2 LIR, CO 6 Innisks, 2 I/C 1 RIrF, CO 17 Field Regiment, Commander 315 A/Tk Battery, Rep 57 Field Regiment, Rep 2 RHA, CO 11 CAR  who are in support of 38 Brigade.

2 I/C 214 Field Company in support of 38 Brigade.

Commander D Support Group (1 Kensingtons).

11 Brigade to inform us of the situation from time to time and give definite positions at 0300 hrs so that 2 LIR may be informed.


1 RIrF.

1100 Tac Bttn HQ moved in behind the companies in area 494880.


6 Innisks   – TAVERNELLE.

Weather dry but low clouds.

0530 Bttn left for Tavernelle (4880) where it was met by Major Mathew, 2 i/c, who with the advance party had managed to find billets for the whole bttn including A and B Echelons.

0930 CO went to Brigade HQ in order to carry out recce with the Brigadier and returned at 1130 hrs with news that the bttn would not move that night but would move forward early on 21st June.

1400 Bttn Band played in village and, as usual in Italian villages, the whole village turned out to watch and listen.

1800 CO went to O Group conference at Brigade HQ.

2000 CO holds O Group conference attended by Supporting Arms and gave the following orders.

Bttn will move at 0630 on 21st June in transport to DP in area between Macchie (4387) and Panicarola (4488) and from there would advance along general lines of Route 71 giving right flank protection to 2 LIR, who were advancing west of the road.

6 Innisks to start their advance when 2 LIR had reached Sanfatucchio.

Report lines and reference points were given to all concerned.

Order of march: A,B,C,D Coys, each forward coy followed by its own troop of tanks.

Tanks to join infantry at Macchie.

Situation to be deal with as met.

Preparations were made for the move the next day after which bttn rested as much as possible.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0930 Bttn warned for move forward at midday.

Information – Brigade Group concentrated in area Tavernelle. 28 Amphibious Jeeps under brigade control (presumably for future operations across Lake Trasimene in order to attack enemy in rear on west side of lake).

1500 Move forward postponed. CO’s O Group. Intention: Bttn, with B Squadron CTR to surge up west side of Lake Trasimene. 11 Brigade to reach line 408920 – 381900 on night of 20th and allow 2 LIR to pass through at 0700 hrs on 21st June. Order of march from present area; E, F, G, H Coys, Main Bttn HQ, S Coy and Kensingtons’ 4.2” Mortars. De-busing point – 415900. Attack to commence at 0700 hrs. Order of battle – E Coy with 1 to tanks (forward recce), R Group, Pioneers (for bridging and clearing mines), 3” and 4” Mortars, S Coy Commander’s Recce party, remainder of tanks, F, G and H Coys (H Coy to mop up any bypassed enemy).

Flank Support – 6 Innisks following on right rear to take Castiglione, if necessary.

Artillery Support – Divisional artillery, 1 Battery Mediums, 2 troops of M 10s. Latter cooperating with tanks.

Final Intention – to reach crossroads and bridge 365040 (Codeword – Longbow).

1900 Information: 11 Brigade failed to reach their objective. DP thereupon changed to La Chiusa.



 

Scroll To Top