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 March 1944

1st March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Training and recreation.

Heavy rain during the early morning.

Operations postponed.


1 RIrF.

1st to 16th March – Platoon Training.


6 Innisks– BELLANO (1686).

Weather wet. Visibility fair. Wind light.

Owing to the bad weather, coys carried out weapon training, instructions on river crossing; using the sand tables etc.

Driver Mechs of S Company checked new and reconditioned carriers after their ‘running in’ period. The Mortar Platoon studied wireless procedure and carried out range work using the new 210 grain charges. The flight of the bomb was checked and found to be 2½ seconds on an average faster than the published time in the Range Table Manual. Base plates showed no ill effects. The A/Tk Platoon spent the day at Capua on raft construction and practice. A six pounder was floated on the raft constructed. All guns returned safely.

The Bttn received an allotment for the cinema at Caserta in the afternoon.

A rum issue was authorised and issued in the evening


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Heavy rain.

0800 Day training – River crossing exercise and line laying Signal platoon and Pioneer platoon over the River Volturno.

0900 FFI Inspections.

1400 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ.

1700 CO’s office.

1730 CO’s conference. Bttn HQ guard supplied by G Coy.

1800 Weather – heavy showers of rain and hail during the day. Deep mud.



2nd March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

1000 Brigadier carries out recce with COs of 6 Innisks, 2 LIR, 1 RIrF, 17 Field Regiment RA, and Second in Command 16/5 Lancers for TEWT on cooperation with tanks to be held at 1400hrs.

1400 Brigade TEWT down to Coy Commanders, LOs and Adjutants. COs act as DS to their own battalions. Reps from 16/5 Lancers and RA attend to assist syndicates.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1686).

Weather showery. Visibility fair. Wind light.

Coys carried out normal training including field firing and street fighting.

0900 The CO, accompanied by the OC, 138 Field Regiment RA left for Corps HQ for an address by the NZ Corps Commander, General Freyberg.

The Bttn football team played the 17 Field Regiment RA in the afternoon which we won by 3 goals to 1.

Recreational transport was provided for 20 men per Coy to go to Caserta during the afternoon.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Weather still showery.

0800 Second in command proceeds to area 961164 to conference and recce.

Coy training.

0930 CO goes out on local recce for training exercise.

1400 Brigade TEWT on cooperation with tanks.

1700 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ guard supplied by H Coy.

1800 CO’s conference.

Weather – Heavy rain at intervals during the day.



3rd March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Training and recreation.

1530 Divisional Commander visits Brigade Commander at this HQ.

Rain most of the day. Operations still delayed. Active patrolling and artillery duels are main activities on the Division front.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1686)

Weather showery. Visibility fair. Wind light.

The bttn carried out normal training…Platoon schemes, street fighting, section stalks etc…

The A/Tk Platoon fired 2 inch mortars on the range.

In the afternoon, 20 men per company went to the cinema at Caserta.

1730 The CO held his training conference, the subjects being discussed were:

  1. Brief outline of the bttn’s future role.
  2. Patrol exercise to take place tonight.
  3. Coys at Company Commander disposal 4/3/44.
  4. Each Company to do a night exercise before 8/3/44.

Company Commander to set the exercise, designed to practise night advances across featureless country.

Captain EW Kendal assumes command of D Coy. Intelligence summary No 5 was issued.

Attention was called to all concerned about damage to S8 set junction boxes.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Weather still showery.

0800 Coy training.

1030 Leave parties proceed to Caserta.

1400 Brigade TEWT on cooperation of infantry with tanks.

1700 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by S Coy.

1800 CO’s conference.

Weather – frequent heavy showers throughout the day.



4th March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Training and recreation.


1 RIrF.

Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1686).

Weather overcast. Showery. Visibility good. Wind light.

Coys carried out training including Platoon in the attack, while D Coy had boating practice.

1200 Brigade TPD Scott DSO, Commander 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade addressed the bttn, introducing himself to those who did not know him when he was in the brigade in Africa. He gave a rough outline of the future of the brigade.

1330 Officers and 12 NCOs per coy went to inspect of the 6th Armoured Division.

20 men per coy went to the cinema at Caserta.

1730 The CO held his usual conference. The points discussed:

  • The CO was going on a recce on 5/3/44.
  • A bttn exercise with one coy cooperating with tanks on Tuesday.
  • OC, 10 Field Battery will lecture to Platoon Commander on gunnery. Our Sergeants to contact Battery Sergeants for the same purpose. Time to be fixed 6/3/44.

Sand table 2000 hrs 6/3/44.

B Coy held a sing song in the evening which included the distribution of vino, teas and cakes.

Troops are allowed to send photographs in personal mail subject to certain restrictions. Attention was drawn to all ranks about ‘Safe Conduct Passes’ (distributed over German lines).

Intelligence Summary No 6 was issued.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Heavy showers.

0800 Company training.

0915 Officers and NCOs proceed to Mesobello for lecture and demonstration of Sherman tanks by 16/5 Lancers.

1400 Officers and NCOs return from demonstration.

1730 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by HQ Coy.

1800 Weather – showery during day.



5th March

Brigade HQ – VILLA VOLTURNO (N 1884).

Training and recreation. Church parades.

COs of their battalions and one Coy Commander go to HQ 16/5 Lancers to carry out recce of field firing scheme, Scheme is simple attack in cooperation with tanks.

1 RIrF celebrate Barrosa Day. Football match and concert were the main events of the day. Officers and sergeants celebrate during the evening.


6 Innisks – BELLANO (1686).

Weather showery. Visibility good. Wind light.

Today was considered a day of rest – there were no parades.

0930 RCs attended a service at Bellona Church.

Coy organised tombola and there was the usual party for the cinema at Caserta. C Coy invited all sergeants to a party in the evening.

Instructions for the Field Firing Exercise to be held on 7/3/44 were issued.

Lt R Phillips MM, Pioneer Officer and acting Town Major, proceeded on a Hygiene Course. Captain AG Kemp was appointed Town Major in his place.

A/Captain GP Dicker is appointed T/Captain having held the acting rank for 3 months.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather still showery.

0900 RC service at Bellona.

0930 CO, Second in Command, and Coy Commanders proceed to 16/5 Lancers area for tank demonstration.

1400 Sports.

1700 CO and Company Commanders return from demonstration.

1800 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by E Coy.

Weather – still showery.