16th May

Brigade HQ – WOLFSBERG 6305.

Brigade Commander goes to Lavamund to meet Commander, 3rd Bulgarian Division. In view of the Croatian battles, it was agreed that the time allowance of his collection of booty should be extended to 1800 hrs on the 18th between Lavamund and excluding St Paul and 1800 hrs on the 20th in the area from Lavamund to Volkesmarkt.

The Bulgarian Commander requested that the time limit should be extended to the 22nd but this could not be sanctioned by the Brigade Commander. Owing to the lack of petrol and general administrative inefficiencies, the Bulgarian withdrawal from British territory was falling considerably behind schedule and it would be difficult to say when the final Bulgar will be back behind the military frontier.

Arrangements were made for a football match to take place between the Bulgarians and 5 Corps at which the Bulgarian Army Commander stated that he would be present.

The Brigade Commander met a Yugoslav Chief of Staff as well during the morning and stated that a British frontier post would be established somewhere between Lavamund and the Yugoslav Border.

This post was established in the Customs Building, 1 mile south east of Lavamund and produced no reaction from the Yugoslav Commissar or any military representatives.

1400 Liaison Officer, 46th Division arrives with the following orders: “Northern sector of present brigade area of responsibility to be taken over by 128 Brigade. The boundary between the two brigades will run from St Stefan 6302 north to include Koflach 5807.

5 Hampshires to relieve 2 LIR in Wolfsberg.

2 Hampshires to Twimberg to relieve 254 A/Tk Battery at St Oswald and troop 27 Lancers Twimberg and troop

A Squadron 56 Recce on road and railway duties.

1/4 Hampshires  to Koflach to relieve platoon 2 LIR and 27 Lancers.

Own regrouping to be as follows:

2 LIR to move to Lavamund with under command troop C Squadron 2 RTR, A Squadron 56 Recce less troop. 254 A/Tk Battery to move to Griffen under command 17 Field Regiment.

1 RIrF with troop 56 recce under command to withdraw coy from Bleiburg otherwise no change in location.

16 DLI established in Bleiburg with under command 13 Battery 17 Field Regiment, D Support Group, C Squadron 2 RTR less troop.

17 Field Regiment less 13 Battery to remain at Griffen with under command 254 A/Tk Battery, Squadron 27 Lancers, 2 RTR less 2 Squadrons.

Brigade HQ to remain in present location.

254 A/Tk Battery less troop moved to Griffen.

1800 During the day, the majority of the surrendered personnel were evacuated to their concentration area controlled directly by HQ 46 Division.

Investigations during the day showed little evidence concerning the man from 254 A/Tk Battery, who was lost last night. It is thought that the assassin was probably a deserter hiding in the surrounding hills and in a desperate frame of mind from want of food and clothes.

1 RIrF – ST ANDRE 623974.

With an enemy fatigue party, moved two 3 trains of arms from area SS trains to 6 Coy dump. Two hospital trains moved to Wolfsberg.

Instruction received on disposal of PoW and surrendered personnel. Plans now being made for 2 LIR to relieve our B Coy at Lavamund.

2 Innisks – VILLACH.

1030 A Memorial service was held in the Bttn Dining Hall in memory of members of the bttn who had fallen for their country in the battle from the Senio to the Po. The names were read out by the CO and the names of missing and wounded read out by all Coy Commanders. The tunes that were well known to those present and to our departed comrades were played by the Regimental Pipe Band. This was attended by all ranks of the bttn.

2 LIR.

British soldier shot during night whilst on sentry duty at station. During the day, several raids were made on private houses and numerous arms were confiscated. During the last few days, no new dumps were found.

1200 Bttn warned that the 5 Hampshires, 46 Division would be taking over the Bttn area. Bttn to move on 17th to Lavamund.

1500 Hampshires advance party arrived in bttn area.

1600 Bttn advance party left for Lavamund area.

1800 Sitrep: On information received, a patrol was sent to house at 641066, where a quantity of arms, ammunition, detonations and fuses were found. These were confiscated and one man was arrested and handed over to the FSS.

1900 Bttn band played in the town square.

17th May

Brigade HQ – WOLSBERG 6305.

1000 GOC 46 Division holds conference at Brigade HQ for Commanders of 38 and 128 Brigades.

1030 Liaison Officer goes to Yugoslav HQ at Lavamund to arrange from the handing over of 800 Croats, military and civilian, at present located at Wolfsberg.

1100 Brigade Commander holds conference at Brigade HQ. Commander 128 Brigade and his COs were present.

Following regrouping and relief programme to be carried out:

38 (Irish) Brigade to be relieved by 128 and 138 brigades and to revert to command 78 Division on relief.

38 (Irish) Brigade to move to Tarvisio are to take over responsibilities of 138 Brigade.

1500 Relief of 1 RIrF by 2 and 5 Hampshires commences. 2 Hampshires relieve coy 1 RIrF at Lavamund and 5 Hampshires. Remainder of bttn in St Andre area.

1920 Relief of 1 RIrF complete. Bttn moves to Tarvisio to relieve 6 Lincolns by first light 18th May.

1 RIrF – TARVISIO 6768.

Complete change of plan. B Coy relieved by the Hampshires of 138 Division of 46 Division. We moved today to Tarvisio, where we were not expected to arrive until tomorrow.

2 Innisks – VILLACH.

0800 S Coy took over the Road Block 894810 from D Support Kensingtons. C Coy took over Road Block 880815 and A Coy took Road Block 882812 from B Support Group. the guard at 877793, an enemy oil dump, was handed over to 132 Field Regiment (Field) RA.

In the morning, the Brigade Major and IO of the bttn visited all Road Blocks in the bttn area.

2 LIR.

0500 Bttn move cancelled and 5 Hampshires were directed to Lavamund instead.

0800 Bttn began unpacking and settling back to the day’s normal routine.

1200 250 Officers and ORs from a German hospital train were put into the Bttn PoW and Transit Camp.

1600 Another 300 Germans from a hospital train were also put into the Bttn Laager. Arrangements were made to evacuate these 550 Germans together with others to St Stefan (or Volkermarkt) on morning of 18th.

18th May

Brigade HQ – WOLFSBERG 6305.

0800 Relief of 17 Field Regiment by 1/4 Hampshires commences.

1200 Relief of 17 Field Regiment complete.

1300 Brigade HQ hands over all sectors concerning Wolfsberg area for 2 LIR, who remain in command of sector until relieved by 6 Lincolns.

Brigade HQ moves to Tarvisio to take over sector from 138 Brigade.

1400 800 Croats under escort 2 LIR were handed over to Yugoslav forces near Lavamund. This was not easily done but accomplished after a considerable amount of parleying and pleadings.

1 RIrF – TARVISIO 6768.

Brigadier McKechnie of 138 Brigade, the CO and IO look over the ground from defence and blockade point of view. Bttn settled in several good farms.

2 Innisks – VILLACH.

1400 The Brigade Commander arrived at Villach in a Spotter Plane and was met on an air strip by the Commanding Officer. He visited many of the Road Posts and the PoW Camp at St Andre.

2 LIR.

0745 Escort of 1 and 2 sent to conduct party of 600 Croatians to Lavemund. This was the Croatian War Minister’s party, which had been waiting since his arrest. Orders to hand them over to Tito’s troops. Party conducted to within one mile of Lavemund, where responsibility for handover was taken over by CO 5 Hampshires.

0800 Bttn advance party warned to be ready at 1000 hrs today.

1100 Transfer of hospital cases from the bttn camp postponed as no transport could be laid on.

1400 Advance party from the 6 Lincolns arrived in bttn area.

2000 Arrangements made to hand over the Bttn Laager and the interpreters not required by the bttn to the 6 Lincolns.

19th May

Brigade HQ – TARVISIO.

0900 Command of sector passes from 138 Brigade to 38 Brigade. Yorks and Lancs, 2/4 KOYLI and 71 Field Regiment come under command.

2 LIR relieved by 6 Lincolns and proceed to Tarvisio. D Support Group and A Squadron 56 Recce also relieved.

254 A/Tk Battery remains under command 128 Brigade.

0930 GOC 78 Division phones up Brigade Commander. Following orders issued:

2 LIR to be stopped in Villach and to await further instructions. Brigade to be prepared to be relieved by Jewish Brigade Group tomorrow.

1000 Brigade Commander goes to HQ 78 Division for further orders.

1500 Brigade Commander gives following verbal orders over telephone.

2 LIR have been stopped in Villach and ordered to concentrate at Velder. Brigade HQ to move to Treffen 892861 as soon as possible.

All details concerning sector handed over to 1 RIrF, who will command sector until relieved by bttn of the Jewish Brigade tomorrow. Units of 46 Division to come under command Jewish Brigade until they revert to 46 Division.

D Support Group ordered to send two MMG platoons to 2 LIR and remainder of group to 2 Innisks.

17 Field Regiment to send one battery to each 2 LIR and 2 RIrF. 26 Battery 17 Field Regiment to remain at Camporosso pending relief by Field Regiment Jewish Brigade Group.

1 RIrF – TARVISIO 6768.

Move again tomorrow. Advance parties at 0700. Main body at 1130.

2 Innisks – VILLACH.

1045 The Brigadier from HQ RA paid a visit to the bttn.

1500 The Brigadier 38 Brigade arrived at Bttn HQ and held a Bttn Commanders Conference. The CO and CO of the 2 LIR and Brigade Major were present. On this day, barbed wire was erected around the PoW cage at St Andra by the German PoWs. The reason for this was to stop German civilians entering the camp rather than to stop the Germans from getting out. The persistence of civilians in their attempts to get among the interned personnel caused more trouble to A Coy than 13,000 men confined to camp.

2 LIR.

0600 Bttn sector handed off to 6 Lincolns.

0800 Bttn convoy moves off. Route: Wolfsberg – St Anrda – Griffen – Klagenfurt – Villach.

1200 Bttn column was halted 25 kms north of Tarvision and informed that a change of plan had occurred and that the advance party had been recalled from Tarvisio and was moving north again to Velden on the Worther See. Bttn to wait until advance party had arranged billets in Velden.

1600 Bttn moved back to Velden area and waited on the outskirts for 2 hrs whilst final billeting arrangements were completed by advance party.

1900 Bttn HQ in Mosslacher Hotel 033803 with coys nearby.

2100 Bttn bad played in the town.

20th May


1 RIrF relieved by Bttn Jewish Brigade Group and hand over all commitment in Tarvisio sector. Bttn moved to area south of Faaker See on relief.

Brigade Group and location

2 Innisks revert to command and 6 RTR also came under command.

Brigade HQ: Treffen 892981.

2 Innisks:  HQ/Coys – Medjez Barracks Villach 870897.

2 LIR: HQ – Velden 0481, Coys – Velden around Q.

1 RIrF: HQ – 946748, Coys – 929753, 935748 and 2 Coys – 921758.

D Support Group – 875805.

A Squadron 56 Recce – Augsdorf 044792.

C Squadron 4 Hussars – 846742.

This sudden move to the Villach sector was necessitated by the possibility of securing complete military control of the Divisional area of responsibility.

All Jugoslav forces under Marshal Tito were given orders to clear out of Carinthia by 1800 hrs, 21 May. This applied mainly to the Jugoslav 19 Division and it was quite clear that they intended to comply with the order. What was not so certain was whether the old bandit groups operating independently and with desires of territorial gains would also comply.

Accordingly, information was to be obtained of all Jugoslav troops in Southern Austria after this date and, of necessary, an operation would commence to clear them out of the country back to the Jugoslav Border.

1 RIrF – LATSCHACK 9474.

Bttn moved into billets about area of Faaker See, very cramped. Purpose to secure Austro-Yugoslav frontier. Round up PoW and surrendered personnel.

2 Innisks – VILLACH.

0800 A Church of England Service was held in Villach by the Church of England padre of HQ RA Group. This was attended by many members of the bttn. There was also an RC’s Parade in Villach.

The Brigade Commander visited Bttn HQ.

2 LIR.

0830 RC Service Velden Church.

1000 Local situation: troops of Marshal Tito’s Yugoslav Army were asked to withdraw from Austrian territory, which they had occupied. If they refused, then 2 LIR would become involved in forcing them to withdraw to their own frontier. Fortunately, Marshal Tito agreed to the British request and ordered his troops to be back inside the Yugoslav by 1900 hrs 21 May.

1500 Warning Order – Bttn to remain in present locations for tonight. No move likely before morning of 22nd. Advance parties prepared to move at short notice from 1200 hrs on 21 May.