0100 Conference was held at Brigade HQ to discuss the move forward and possible street fighting in Tunis.
0330 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade OO No 26 was issued expressing the intention “38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade will concentrate in area La Mornaghia in order to operate against enemy in Tunis.”
0500 Brigade Major and Staff Captain left with jeep and recce car to meet Divisional Commander at La Mornaghia.
0730 Brigade HQ left on route for Tunis.
1000 Brigade HQ arrives at La Mornaghia (J9449).
1100 Plan of Tunis was sent to each Bttn. Brigade was given task of clearing Tunis with 6 RWK under command for the operation. 1 RIrF were ordered to take up ‘stop’ positions south of the town while 2 LIR (left) and 6 Innisks swept from north to south. 6 RWK were to man road blocks and strong points taken over from 22 Armoured Brigade.
1210 1 RIrF reported delay due to lateness of artillery battery in support.
1215 6 Innisks reported arrived in assembly area.
1230 2 LIR were ordered to start off in TCVs and move when ready.
1345 1 RIrF on the move.
1500 Brigade HQ entered Tunis via Le Bardo and passed through the centre of the city to La Gagna (0952). Progress was slow owing to the tremendous demonstration by the civilian population.
1830 Brigade arrived in defensive positions south of Tunis as shown in trace.
1930 Section Defence Platoon under Camp Commandant raided Farm K0150 and took 8 PoWs. 2 LIR reported 30 PoWs mostly of HGJR taken south of Tunis.
2325 Orders were received from 78 Division that 6 RWK were to revert under command 36 Brigade on 9 May.
Details of move in Appendix.
78th Division were to clear Tunis. 38 (Irish) Brigade to take the southern part of the town. Bttn was ordered to exploit and mop up any enemy around Lake Sedjoumi.
1400 Bttn started to advance with the carrier platoon leading, followed by A Coy. The road down the west side of the lake was full of 6th Armoured Division transport and there was no sign of any enemy. Bttn went round the southern end of the lake, and took up positions across the four main roads, leading from south to north into Tunis. Only a few hours were spent in these positions. The Bttn then moved back and consolidated in La Gagna.
6 Innisks – J638280.
0300 Brigade Conference. This is the occasion that the Bttn returns to 38 (Irish) Brigade, having been on “loan” to 36 Brigade for 5 days.
0500 O Group. CO announces that the Bttn will take part in clearing of Tunis.
0830 Bttn move off in MT. Side roads still very muddy.
0900 Head of column reaches main road. Delays by 1 RIrF, 2 LIR being late coming from Brigade area. Continuous stream of traffic, including nearly all types of Allied vehicles, and guns and Churchills all rolling towards Tunis.
1000 Bttn convoy moves off and reaches La Mornaghia without incident, where we turned down a side road for lunch.
1400 Orders for CO give the southern part of Tunis as our area. He warns Bttns to be prepared for street fighting.
1430 Bttn embusses and moves off towards Tunis, passing an unbelievable host of Axis PoWs, walking away from Tunis.
1500 They were unescorted except for solitary CMPs. They carried their kit and were unarmed. All services were there. They formed up in single file on either side of the tree fringed road. The only vehicles are the CO’s carrier and wireless truck and several motor cycles. A French soldier supplied as guide by Brigade cannot speak English. The CO communicates with him in French. A Coy leading – under Captain Hanna – got held up on reaching the ancient gates by the LIR, having got into our area. Bttn moves on after 1 /2 hour delay.
Resistance has been announced at an end in Tunis. A tremendous welcome awaits the Bttn. Most of the public buildings are flying Tricolours. Groups of people stand on the road cheering, clapping and giving the V sign. Reaching the Rue de France, there was a crowd right across the road. The vehicles have to force a passage through a sea of people, waving flags and throwing roses to us. Some civilians asked us if we were the 8th Army. They seemed badly informed about the situation of the war.
Bttn turned down the Rue de Carthage, left the crowd and received orders from the CO to close in threes to march to lying up area.
2000 Bttn HQ reach Farm 089518. A Coy proceed to Hill 100500. C Coy to area of 090505. B Coy in area 090510.
The role of the Bttn is to prevent counter attack by strong enemy elements still on Cap Bon. There are strong forces of Allied troops south of our positions.
0430 Commanding Officer’s O Group 78 Division to clear Tunis. Brigade concentrating in following areas 11 Brigade Manouba 38 Brigade La Mornaghia, 36 Brigade Sidi Mohammed.
0630 Recce group move off to concentration area at La Mornaghia.
0730 Battalion embussed in TCVs.
0812 Battalion pass S P.
1145 Battalion arrives in La Mornaghia. Battalion HQ established at 965519.
1150 Commanding Officer’s order group. Battalion to clear streets of Tunis. Order of march – H, E, F, G, Battalion HQ and A Echelon. To sweep in a southerly direction along Avenue de Paris and Avenue de Carthage. Right E Company followed by G Company. Left H Company followed by F Company. Battalion HQ and A Echelon to move along axis of advance. 6 Innisks to clear other half of City. 1 R Ir F to move south around Lac de Tunis and establish blocks on main route to Tunis.
1210 Battalion leaves La Mornaghia. Debussing point at Road June 936563. No opposition so far.
1330 Battalion commences to clear town. All resistance had ceased by this time in Tunis and in the surrounding areas and those who had escaped were making for the Cap Bon area. The battalion was mobbed by huge enthusiastic crowds who lined the Streets, waving flags, giving the ‘V’ sign and wanting to shake all of us by the hand. No opposition was met whatsoever except the terrific crowds and the battalion managed to reach the south side of Tunis by 1645 hours.
1730 Battalion established its position on high ground south of Tunis – Battalion HQ 093618 E Company Point 40, F Company 099525 remains in Tunis to police town guard V Ps and hospitals. H Company Point 86 (1051).
2000 Remainder of battalion transport turns up – held up by congestion in Tunis.