Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


War Diaries – 11th to 15th March 1944


11th March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Training. Brigade Commander to Caserta.

Night exercises.

Boxing 2 LIR v 6 Innisks, 2 LIR won by two fights. Cinema allotments Capua.

Brigade Commander visits 17 Field Regiment RA.

Rain during night.


1 RIrF.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1868).

Weather fine. Visibility fine. Wind light.

A and C Coys had ‘Hare and Hounds’ runs while B and D Coys went on field firing schemes with 3” Mortar and Vickers MG detachments.

There was a friendly boxing match between 2 LIR and ourselves, the results being: 2 LIR 21 points, 6 Innisks 15 points. As usual, there were parties to Caserta and Capua, also football matches between coys.

Major Little (S Coy) leaves the bttn to assume appointment as instructor.

1730 The CO held his daily conference.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – bright.

0900 Leave parties proceeded to Caserta and Capua.

0930 Bttn bathe at MBU.

1230 CO’s office.

1430 Inter Bttn Boxing Contest – 2 LIR v 6 Innisks.

Result – 2 LIR 21 points, 6 Innisks 15 points.

1730 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by E Coy.

1800 Weather – fair.



12th March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Church parades.

Cinema at Capua. This allotment now proving its weight in cold.

Bttns carry out interior economy.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1868).

Weather showery. Visibility good. Wind light.

Today was considered a day of rest, except to zero new rifles.

0930 Church services were held for C of Es and RCs.

During the afternoon, there were the usual parties to Caserta and Capua.

A number of reinforcements arrived including CSM Gibson who we were very pleased to see again. Lieut E Harper joined this unit and is posted to C Coy.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – heavy showers.

0900 Voluntary RC and C of E church parades.

0945 Leave parties from G and H Coys proceed to Caserta. Other coys send leave parties to cinema at Capua.

1430 Draft of two officers and 39 ORs arrive for hospital.

1730 Brigade HQ Guard supplied by F Coy.

1800 Weather – slight showers.



13th March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Bttns carry out training and recreation. Brigade Commander visits bttns during the day.

Lt-Col Chandler (Hampshires) visits Brigade Commander.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1868).

Weather fine. Visibility fine.

0815 The bttn set out on ‘Dog and Stick’ walks with rendezvous at Villa Croce 260873 for dinner. The return was by march route along the road. Total distance covered by approximately 20 miles. There were many groans of relief as sets of equipment were peeled off and weary limbs sank on top of blankets when billets were reached at 1730hrs.

T/Captain EW Kendal is appointed as A/Major.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – slight showers.

0930 Coys send leave parties to Caserta and cinema at Capua.

1730 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by G Coy.

1800 Weather – bright and sunny.



14th March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Brigade Commander to Division for conference with Divisional Commander, Brigade Commander then visits 128 Brigade and 4 Division HQ.

2030 Codeword Bradman received. Attack on Cassino to go in. Brigade at 4 hours’ notice to move wef 17 March.

Football match between 6 Innisks and 2 LIR during the afternoon. 6 Innisks won by 6 – 2.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1868).

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind light.

Today was given over to admin.

0900 The CO went round all billets on an inspection.

There were the usual cinema parties.

1430 The RASC Aldershot Brass Band entertained during the afternoon.

The bttn played the LIR at football and won by 6 goals to 2.

1730 The CO held his conference. It was decided that:

  1. Today’s training programme should be held tomorrow.
  2. Hats GS should be issued in place of Caps FS as soon as sufficient were available for the whole of the bttn.
  3. All ranks to be checked not wearing Battle Axes and Shamrocks.
  4. Coy Commanders notified about further allotments of seats for entertainment viz: 350 at 1430hrs on 17/3/44 San Maria, 150 on 15th and 16th San Maria.

A standing order for the prevention of malaria was issued.

Baths were available throughout the day.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – slight showers.

1400 Inter Bttn football match – 2 LIR v 6 Innisks.

Result – 6 Innisks 6 goals, 2 LIR 2 goals.

1745 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by H Coy.

1800 Weather – bright and sunny.



15th March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Bttns carry out training. Jeep drivers and mates report to Divisional HQ. One platoon 6 Innisks report to Divisional HQ to guard PoWs. Results 80% effective. Attacks by 4 Indian Division and 2 NZ Division go in during the afternoon. Patrolling by 11 Brigade on San Angelo front.


1 RIrF.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1868).

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind light.

The bttn carried out normal training including field firing, ‘Hares and Hounds’ lectures on malaria etc.

1330 The usual cinema party left for Caserta.

1400 The CO inspected the bttn in FSMO with all weapons, ammunition etc ready for battle.

1700 A party left for San Maria for a concert by 36 Brigade.

2/Lieut R Phillips MM is promoted War Substantive Lieutenant.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – bright and sunny.

1000 Coys send leave parties to Caserta and cinema at Capua.

1015 Brigadier’s conference at Bttn HQ. Lt-Col Dunnill DSO and Lt-Col Bredin MC were present.

1800 Weather – fair.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by S Coy.