War Diaries – 15th March 1943

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.

Relief of 38 Brigade during night 14/15 carried out according to plan and without enemy interference. 1 King’s Shropshire Light Infantry relieved 10 RB and 1 Duke of Wellington’s Regiment relived 2 LIR. Recce party left area Gafour for new location near Testour (4420).

Brigade HQ closed present location (Fme Cussac) 1900 hrs and reopened same time south of Testour (442207).


The night was quiet – there nothing to report.

0715 Patrol Speedwell returned, having searched and lain up in Farms 633105 from 2300 – 0400. No enemy was encountered.

0735 Patrol Mayflower returned, having searched Farm 618112 and lain up in it from dusk to dawn. No enemy were encountered but one member of the patrol thought that at 1848 hrs, he had seen six Germans coming down from the hills to the north of the farm and subsequently disappearing into the wadi. No other member of the patrol was, however, able to confirm this.

0845 20 men observed by RA OP entering Farm 628112. They were shelled and no further movement was observed.

1340 Patrol of 9 enemy searched the hillside 590097 for our OP. They were all armed with Schmeissers and were seen to disappear NE along a gully towards Farm 618112.

1600 A man, by his dress a native, was met at 590092. He had been seen earlier in the day, and remarked upon for his blue eyes and pale shin, the command of his bearing and the excellence of his dark bay mare. On the second occasion, he was heard addressing someone in an authoritative tone in Arabic. He then converged, from behind a group of dwellings, followed by definite natives. He descended the hillside on horseback and crossed the plain eastward, eventually entering Farm 633105, having first put his horse free to grass. He was not seen to emerge although the farm was watched by 1 ½ hours.

1605 One scout of the Bttn Intelligence Section, hiding in an Arab village in the NE slopes of Burnt Hill 6009 was searched for by a German, whose suspicions were aroused by the barking of dogs. The Arabs protected him and he was not discovered.

1800 OPs returned and reported the above incidents and also that Farm 618112 showed many new vehicle and foot tracks, the former leading to the farm from the wadi north of it, of estimated 20 vehicles, the latter from wadi 614106 to the farm. All this information was promptly passed to all other units, but line comm, being out of order, it had to be sent by R/T.  The delay this imposed made the warning too late to be given to Patrols Black and White before they left.

1855 Patrol Black encountered a patrol of enemy estimated strength 12 at approximately 620090. Both patrols were walking along the top of the east bank of the wadi and saw each other simultaneously. Both ran for the wadi, but the enemy, being a single file and nearer there than we in extended order, got there first and opened fire, killing two and wounding two. They were all armed with Schmeissers.

During the night, heavy rains fell and Bttn HQ, which was in a Nullah by 0215 hrs found itself in places up to 5 feet under a roaring torrent. No patrols were sent out and there was nothing further to report.

2355 Patrol White returned, having no incident to report, The farms in Square 6310 were clear of enemy.

Fusilier Sidney Dobson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

A busy day. Arrangements were completed for the handover and the Bttn’s journey to its new area. The Support Group was to be left behind until the Foresters’ own support weapons came up.

During the night, the Foresters took over the Coy positions and the Bttn moved off. The journey was not accomplished without incident. The commanding officers’ car overturned into a gully, which contained about the usual quota of mud and water and the occupants, which included the CO and the Intelligence Sergeant made uncomfortable and hasty exits from unusual angles and completed the journey by devious means – including rides on one 3-tonner and a TCV. The roads, particularly from the Bttn area to the El Aroussa road were only just passable and various strenuous deeds were wrought on route, many a 3-tonner and TCV being rescued from precarious positions in ditches and gullies alongside the muddy tracks. Needless to say, the order of march suffered somewhat, but eventually and by stages, the whole Bttn arrived at its destination just outside Gafour.

Fusilier James Forbes, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0445 Battalion marches to Olive Grove 570044.

Major Dunnill joins from 1 RIrF.