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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 – 1st to 5th June 1944


1st June

Brigade HQ.

By about midnight on the night of 31st May/1st June, the 6 Innisks were finally established around Le Cinque Vie 5237. They patrolled forward during the night and also at first light to Point 267 5338 and discovered that various tracks were mined but made no contact with the enemy who had retreated the previous evening from his positions on Il Castello in full retreat.

11 Brigade went through advancing on Torrice and 8 Indian Division advanced towards Veroli, gradually ousting the 6 Innisks from their front line positions. The Brigade was told that they were now in reserve and arrangements were quickly made for mobile cinemas and bathing arrangements and a clean change of clothes was quickly organised.


1 RIrF.

0615 Battalion moved to area 519338 in support of the other two bttns.

Order of march D Coy followed by C, A, And B Coys in that order.

0830 Bttn was concentrated in a small area and billeted as far as possible in houses on either side of the road to Ripi.

2000 Bttn placed at four hours’ notice to move as 6 Innisks cleaning up of their area had been successful.


6 Innisks– RIPI.

Weather fine and sunny. Visibility very good.

0730 Reveille.

The bttn spent most of the day cleaning weapons, checking admin points and generally resting after its recent operations.

By the evening most of the troops had found some source of wine at local farm houses and the day was concluded in a most satisfactory manner.

T/Capt PS Anderson joined the bttn and relinquished the rank of T/Capt on posting.

Died on this Day:

Sergeant Francis Girr, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0800 A Echelon arrived in bttn area.

0900 Bttn bathing at MBU.

1330 New 2.i.c. Major MJF Palmer (1 RIrF) arrives at Bttn HQ.

2000 New draft of approximately 30 men arrives Bttn HQ.



2nd June

Brigade HQ.

A restful day for the brigade. The advance towards Rome and to the hills in the north west continues.


1 RIrF.

Bttn placed at six hours’ notice as the brigade is now in reserve.


6 Innisks – RIPI.

Weather fine and warm with light wind.

0730 Reveille.

Adjutant and IO visited Lieut Col HEN Bredin at the 2nd General Hospital, Caserta and found him quite cheerful and very optimistic about returning to his bttn in the near future.

1100 MBU arrived in the bttn area and was established by a plentiful supply of well water.

1330 MBU opened for business and was kept very busy until closing time at 1900 hrs.

The bttn was left to its own resources during the day and most people took the opportunity of bring their mail up to date.

An open air cinema show was given in the evening and was much appreciated as this was the first show the bttn had seen for many weeks. The show was also enjoyed by a number of civilians, who collected at the rear of troops – some of these had never before seen a film show.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1100 Bttn Promotion Conference.

1400 CO’s O Group.

1800 CO attends Brigadier’s conference on W/T Communication.

1900 Battle Patrol disbanded and personnel returned to rifle coys. Reason given – that the patrol could not be used in swift advance, only in static warfare.



3rd June

Brigade HQ.

The brigade rests and reorganises.

Brigade Commander informed that 78 Division is now in Corps reserve.

Lt Col Maxwell, 6 Innisks, relinquishes command.

Major J Kerr assumes command at the rank of local Lt-Col.


1 RIrF.

1730 Admin. Bttn church service was held in area of Bttn HQ.


6 Innisks – RIPI.

Weather – fine and sunny. Light cloud, visibility good.

0730 Reveille.

0930 RC Church service was held.

1330 MBU opened up again for members of the bttn, who had not been able to get there the day before.

1500 Lieut Colonel Maxwell was instructed by Brigade HQ to report to them with his full kit and batman.

Major John Kerr came from B Echelon to take over command of the bttn.

The day was quiet and uneventful and all troops were satisfied to be left to their own resources in their coy areas – where they were comfortably established.

In the evening, a message came from the Brigade HQ giving the bttn an area to be swept in conjunction with the other bttns of the brigade, for small parties of enemy believed to have been left behind by the retreating enemy.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1430 Officers’ and NCOs’ parade for lecture on tanks.

1600 B Echelon arrives in bttn area.

2230 Tanks of 3 Hussars (9 Armoured Brigade) ceased to be attached and left bttn area for other operational duties.



4th June

Brigade HQ.

Civilians reported that there were still a few enemy in hiding in the various houses around Boville Ernica.

1 RIrF and 6 Innisks organised areas of responsibility and searched the surrounding countryside, but made no contact, although they learnt that some enemy had left the night before.

2130 Warning order received from 78 Division to be detailed by 38 Brigade to be under command of 9 Armoured Brigade for special Task Force in the Paliano-Tivoli direction.

2200 1 RIrF warned to move.


1 RIrF.

0600 Admin.

0900 Bttn O Group. Orders to sweep area east of present location as snipers were known to be in area.

0930 Rifle companies crossed start line and swept areas allotted to them Warning order. 0773.

1345 Reports from companies – nothing found. Rumour by civilians that 20 Germans had occupied a house until 2 June but was unconfirmed.


6 Innisks – RIPI.

Weather bright and clear.

0730 Reveille.

1030 Coys were given areas at 530390–570370–570350–530350 in their search for the enemy. Soft hats were worn and minimum of equipment carried.

No enemy were encountered but a number of abandoned weapons were found – mostly damaged.

At 530360, trees were found to have been found blown across the track and Teller Mines laid in the vicinity. A large quantity of explosives was left in the area.

Although no enemy was found, most people managed to get some eggs (and occasional chickens) from the houses they had searched, as gifts from the people and were well satisfied with their day’s work.

1700 A C of E church service was held.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0900 Bttn bathing at MBU.

2130 ENSA film show in bttn area.



5th June

Brigade HQ.

Commander 1 RIrF reports to 9 Armoured Brigade. 1 RIrF warned to move before 1000 hrs.

1 RIrF move to concentration area just the other side of Frosinone on Route 6. Delayed considerably by excessive traffic.

1800 Reports received that the French have captured Tivoli. This town was to have been the objective of the Task Force comprising of 3 Hussars and 1 RIrF.

2000 Task Force cancelled. 1 RIrF to move to a better concentration area G 439395.


1 RIrF.

0700 CO to conference with Commander 9th Armoured Brigade. Orders issued. Bttn to be part of task force.

1100 Bttn left for start point.

1230 Bttn concentrated in area, start point 455380.

1700 Permission granted to find a more suitable area for the night.

1800 Recce by company commander and bttn moved into company areas.

2130 Stand down. Task force has been cancelled as French have reached objective.


6 Innisks – RIPI.

Weather fine in the morning, light showers in the evening.

Bttn continued to enjoy its rest, but followed the news and Intelligence Section maps with keen interest.

1400 News was received that Rome had fallen and we knew it would soon be our turn to continue to chase after the enemy.

It had been arranged for the Brigade Pipe Band to play to the bttn but this was postponed for twenty four hours and the Bttn Band was to play instead.

1700 Heavy rain set in and this too had to be postponed.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1600 CO addressed a parade of Signal Platoon and congratulated them on their good work during the recent operations.



 

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