21st May

Brigade HQ

A quiet night with only slight shelling.

0800 2 LIR to be relieved tonight by 56 Recce. Relief to be completed by 2200 hrs.

1300 Recce parties 56 Recce arrive as 2 LIR HQ. Slight shelling Brigade HQ area and Ace Route.

1500 Lieut-Colonel Caron CO of 12 Canadian Armoured Regiment visits Brigade Commander. This regiment is to be in support of the brigade during the next advance.

2300 2 LIR now relieved by 56 Recce. Slight shelling 6 Innisks’ area.


1 RIrF.

Bttn resting.


6 Innisks

Uneventful day during which everybody managed to make up for lost sleep. Many domestic tasks were possible too, although it was still necessary to maintain careful movement as the positions were overlooked by Monte Cairo.

Some social visits were paid to 5 Northants, who had moved to a position on our left, visits being carried out on the adjutant’s tank, a captured recce vehicle (tracked) of French origin, which was smaller than a Bren gun carrier.

The Brigadier phoned the CO and said that we were waiting to pursue our original role of “Fly and Fart Forward”.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1000 Warning order for bttn to move back to area 810185 on being  relieved by 56 Recce, night 21/22 May.

1100 Lieut Barker proceeds with advance party to new area.

1500 56 Recce advance party arrives at Bttn HQ.

1700 Lieut Barker reports no room in area 810185. CO decides to move coys back to rear of Bttn HQ on their relief by 56 Recce.

1800 Relief commenced. Bttn HQ moves back to farm 783195. Casualties from shelling during day – four killed and four wounded. One Coy Commander’s jeep destroyed.



22nd May

Brigade HQ

12 CAR revert to command of 1 Canadian Division.

1000 Divisional Commander visits Brigade Commander to discuss future policy and possible role in attack on Aquino.

1100 11 CAR now in support of this brigade. Lieut-Colonel Purvis CO 11 CAR visits Brigade Commander. Brigade rests. Slight odd occasional shelling during the day.

Situation: Canadians attacked Adolf Hitler Line just north of Pontecorvo with a certain amount of success and have penetrated the preliminary defences.

11 Brigade in front of Aquino have been doing active patrolling.


1 RIrF.

1130 Brigade Commander’s conference held at Bttn HQ (COs of 6 Innisks and 2 LIR attended).

1830 O Group to Bttn HQ for conference.

Following was given out:

Right flank of Hitler Line, Piedimonte San Germano, which had changed hands several times was being attacked by 3 Carpathian Division (Polish) tonight. Left flank of line French are behind Pontecorvo. Canadians facing Pontecorvo are to undertake a concentrated attack on the morning of 23rd.

78th Division – 11th Brigade now forward facing Aquino and will attack as soon as Pontecorvo has been taken.

38th Brigade will pass through as soon as Aquino is in our hands. This bttn leading and to pursue enemy.

Under command will be one platoon MMG of D Support Group and one troop 17 pounder A/Tk from 254 A/Tk Battery. In support: C Squadron, 11 Canadian Armoured Regiment.

Order of march will be D Coy (2 mortars and 2 MMGs), C Coy (2 mortars, 2 MMGs), Bttn HQ, B Coy (2 mortars (2 MMGs of D Support Group), A Coy (2 mortars of D Support Group), S Coy less 4 mortars and 4 MMGs).

Route – direct to Ace Route, then up Ace Route to Brigade SP at crossroads 788186.

Admin – unless otherwise notified, coy admin vehicles will go forward with companies.

Order of employment of companies from here will be C right, D left forward, A right, B left rear.

Reinforcements arrived during the evening – 31 ORs and 1 officer, Lieut Robinson, who was posted to A Coy.


6 Innisks

Major GF Maxwell is appointed Local Lieut-Colonel wef 17 May 44, while commanding the bttn in the absence of Lieut-Colonel HEN Bredin MC.

Weather good, but cloudy. Rain in the evening. Another quiet day with the only activity that of the Poles in Piedimonte where there were very fierce fighting was still taking place. Some 170mm shells were still falling near but not in the area – aimed at the artillery, which has now moved up to close behind and at our last HQ. Tanks support for our next battle was to be A Squadron 11 Canadian Armoured Brigade and Squadron Commanders and Troop Leaders came to bttn to meet Company Commanders and to discuss points.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1000 Canadian tank regiment liaison officer arrives at Bttn HQ.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Albert Bowen, London Irish Rifles.

Sergeant Gerard Keegan, London Irish Rifles.

Corporal William Gadd, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Anthony Duckworth, London Irish Rifles.



23rd May

Brigade HQ

Brigade still in concentration areas. Quiet day. Canadians still continue to advance through Adolf Hitler Line. Pontecorvo reported in our hands.


1 RIrF.

Bttn resting and awaiting movement order.


6 Innisks

Still no activity on the part of brigade.

RC Church Service was held. Brigadier visited the bttn with prospective plan, namely that after 11 Brigade had cleared Aquino, 38 Brigade would follow through to line River Melfa. Rain during the afternoon and evening. Three new officers joined the bttn and are posted to coys as shown – Lieut HC Hall, B Coy; 2/Lieut RRB Roche, C Coy; 2/Lieut DGM Foster, B Coy.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

Nothing to Report.

Intentions: Canadians to smash Adolf Hitler line at Pontecorvo followed by 11 Brigade with 38 (Irish) Brigade as exploiting troops.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman AHC Smith, London Irish Rifles.



24th May

Brigade HQ

Brigade rests. Another quiet day.

Canadians have now reached line of River Melfa. 6 Armoured Division to attack and reinforce success but congestion on the roads prevented this being carried out.

2000 Brigade Group to move at 0800 hrs 25 May. To move south across Forme d’Aquino and clean up valley. Task not yet known.


1 RIrF.

Admin.


6 Innisks

Weather clear and bright. Bttn expectant but not yet ordered to move. At midday came a report that Canadian Armour had reached the Melfa and that other armoured units were exploiting north of Route Six. It was expected that this might change the plan for the Irish Brigade.

2100 Message from brigade that there would be no move tonight but the bttn would be at immediate notice from 0800 hrs, 25 May. Also Brigadier’s O Group would be held at 0800 hrs, 25 May.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Information: Canadians make a breach in Hitler Line above Pontecorvo. 11 Brigade occupied Aquino night 23 May without opposition. 1 Moroccan Division in possession of San Giovanni, west of Pontecorvo.

1000 Bttn warned for probable move forward by TCVs in afternoon or evening.

1345 Brigadier Scott visits Bttn HQ for conference re future operations.

1500 CO’s O Group.

2100 Bttn warned for move forward at 0730 25 May.

Information: Canadians reach River Melfa, 5 miles beyond Adolf Hitler Line.



25th May

Brigade HQ

0800 Tac Brigade moves up to G 787 185. Brigade Commander’s O Group. Orders given out for advance guard movement to move into Liri plain behind 6 Armoured Division and clean up any pockets of resistance. Delays due to traffic congestion postpone brigade move until tomorrow. Brigade Group remained in present locations. Lieut-Colonel Sir P Farquahar CO 3 King’s Own Hussars visits the Brigade Commander. This regiment from 9 Armoured Brigade to be in support of the brigade when the 11 CAR revert to command of 1 Canadian Division.


1 RIrF.

Admin.

Died on this Day:

Corporal Sydney Francis, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks

0745 CO and IO went off to the Brigade HQ for O Group. Brigadier delayed owing to the need for him to investigate traffic hold up, believed due to collapse of bridge over Fiume d’Aquino. On his return, he informed everyone that brigade was at three hours’ notice and that the plan would probably remain the same.

1230 G3 at Brigade HQ phoned information that the bttn would probably move at 1600 hrs, the plan being 6 Armoured Division to make bridgehead over the River Melfa. 11 Brigade to hold it, 38 Brigade to go through. 38 Brigade to move to concentration area tonight and continue with 6 Armoured first light tomorrow 26 May. CO also met CO and Squadron Commanders of 3 Hussars, who were to be our tank support in the near future.

1745 Bttn moved to an area at G 725240. There was no further move that night and no orders for continuing next day but the bttn was put at four hours’ notice to move.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 CO and IO proceed to Brigade HQ.

0730 Bttn ready to move.

0900 Bttn at 3 hours’ notice to move.

1100 Bttn at immediate notice as from 1600 hrs.

2100 Enemy aircraft bomb forward and rear positions over wide area. Own casualties – 3 killed, 4 wounded.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Albert Snelgrove, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Harold Clarke, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Samuel Fry, London Irish Rifles.