War Diaries – 26th to 30th November 1944

26th November

Brigade HQ.

Slight shelling during the night on brigade front.

Normal harassing fire during the day. 1 RIrF leave Castel del Rio and move up during the afternoon to de-busing area just behind Brigade HQ.

1835 Relief of 2 Innisks by 1 RIrF completed. Relief was completed so early due to the constant smoke screen at San Clemente and bad mist on the mountain tops.

A Counter Mortar Programme was laid to take place during the relief.

Harassing of two groups of known mortar positions took place every 10 minutes during the relief.

2 Innisks return to new Rest Area at Castro San Martino south west of Firenzuola.

1 RIrF – 0030.

1830 Relief of 2 Innisks complete. Bttn HQ – 003301. B Coy – 006307. D Coy – 003302. C Coy – 005300. RE set up to plot minefield.

2 Innisks – SAN CLEMENTE.

0025 C Coy report 3 casualties from enemy mortaring. Phosphorous bombs were used. L/Cpl Scobie, Fusilier Carliss and O’Reilly.

0110 Mortar bombs in C Coy area. No casualties. No HSR.

0140 C Coy report mortaring, firing on bearing 85 degrees from 00453055, area being shelled unknown.

0145 Bttn HQ track harassed by MG fire. No HSR.

0715 Four Italian civvies come into our lines. They give valuable information about enemy in Tamagnin area.

1000 3” mortar fire 60 rounds on Tamagnin and 50 on Point 166.

1100 CO and O Group 1 RIrF arrive at Bttn HQ.

1200 Italian civilians interrogated by FSS representative. Much valuable information received.

1610 Bttn HQ relieved.

1630 B Coy relieved.

1710 A Coy relieved.

1825 C Coy relieved.

Bttn marched on em-busing point and proceeded to Castel San Martino for rest. Major Mathew had arranged billeting.


0800 Sitrep: Recce Patrol to bridge 018278 reported enemy outpost and was subsequently heavily mortared. Patrol sent out to deal with outpost reported it held in strength and approach difficult. Slight shelling during night. Otherwise NTR.

Intentions night 26/27: E Coy to send Ambush Patrol (1 and 6) to bridge at 017288. Time out – first dark, in at midnight. Recce Patrol to send Sniper Patrol (1 and 1) to 013298 Time out – 0530 27th, in at first light.

1930 Sitrep: Five enemy seen digging at 013298 when mist lifted at 0800 hrs. H Coy mortared by light mortar during afternoon. No casualties. Otherwise NTR.

During the night, the Pioneer Platoon laid a booby trap at north corner track junction 008299.

Weather – drizzling rain throughout the day.

27th November

Brigade HQ.

The Irish Fusiliers had a very quiet night and no mortaring and shelling.

0500 Patrol from 2 LIR to gully at 017288 found it quite unoccupied. They left booby traps at entrances to the gully.

0600 Six enemy seen working on defences at Point 342 013298.

0810 Eight to ten shells 105 mm landed in Brigade HQ areas.

Considerable MT movement was heard on the tracks leading up to Casa Murano during the day.

Slight harassing fire during the day.

2055 Ambush patrol from 2 LIR to culvert 017288 saw enemy east of house 015286, also between house and culvert and enemy at culvert. They attempted to get behind but failed.

No enemy seen on the knoll at 015289.

Snipers established by 2 LIR at Point 342 013299 during whole of today saw nothing owing to smoke blowing up valley San Clemente.

Patrol from 1 RIrF heard MT movement in distance.

1 RIrF – 0030.

Slight shelling in area. Conference with Brigadier, Lt Col Bredin, Lt Col Baker RA.


0230 Bttn in Castro San Martino.

1000 CO visits all coys and rearranged billeting and accommodation.

1600 CO’s conference in Command Post. Captain ET Irving appointed OC HQ Coy temporarily. Lt Col RH Scott visits Bttn HQ.


0600 Still raining.

0800 Sitrep: Sixteen shells fell in G Coy area at 2030 hrs. No casualties. Patrol to gully at 017288 found it unoccupied. Signs of previous occupation but no digging.  Patrol returned after booby trapping entrances.

Intentions night 27/28: Ambush Patrol, strength 7 to culvert 017288. Time out – last light, in 2200 hrs.

2000 Sitrep: Six enemy seen working on defences at Point 342 013298 at first light. Slight HF during day, including light mortars.

28th November

Brigade HQ.

Normal harassing fire during the night.

Patrol from 2 LIR went out at first light to knoll 015289 but found no sign of the enemy.

1405 Four enemy observed below crest 016297 and engaged by MMGs of 2 LIR.

House at Point 156 015287 heavily mortared and shelled during the day.

The Irish Fusiliers had a quiet day.

1745 Twelve Nebels fell in area 994302.

Patrol from 1 RIrF to Casa Tamagnin 013303 encountered enemy 50 yards south and 200 yards east of house.

Patrol from 2 LIR to culvert 017288 reached there just before the enemy and drove them off. Section to the knoll 015290 found it heavily defended. Another eight enemy were found in gully between knoll and Casa Sillaro.

1 RIrF – 0030.

Slight mortaring and shelling of bttn area.

2100 B Coy patrol (Lt Gunner) reports Black Ridge 009306 to Point 312 clear but found 3 slit trenches at Point 312 (014306).

2205 B Coy reports Rifle, TMSG and grenades area Casa Tamagnin 012302.

2355 Fusilier McLean and Fusilier Kincaid reports patrol reached a point 200 yards east of Tamagnin and 50 yards south of track where they were engaged by 3 enemy. Fight ensued. Two enemy killed. Captain Coetzee wounded and unconscious and had to be left behind.


0800 Leave to Florence for one day commences.

1700 B Coy personnel have accident with grenade. One killed and 7 wounded.

Lt Col RH Scott leaves.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier John Blackmore, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


0800 Sitrep: Patrol to culvert 017287. On way back, saw three enemy, 400 yards east of house 015286, 3 enemy half way between house and culvert and about 6 enemy at culvert. Attempt to get behind them and cut them off failed. Knoll at 015299 searched at last dark and 2 trenches found. Snipers at Point 342 013299 all day yesterday saw nothing owing to own smoke screen.

Intentions night 28/29: Fighting Patrol, strength 2 platoons, to culvert area 017288. Detached patrols to investigate 020288 and 017292. Time out – first dark, in midnight.

Recce Patrol, 1 and 2, to Point 358 at 013298, then along ridge south east to Casa Il Sillaro. Time out – first dark, in 2200 hrs.

Sniper Patrol, strength 2, to Point 358. Time out – 0500 hrs 29th, in – last light, 29th.

1900 Sitrep: Left forward coy mortared intermittently during day. Four enemy observed on crest at 016297 and engaged by MMGs at 1405 hrs. House at 015287 shelled and heavily mortared during day. 0900 hrs – movement observed at Casa Monte Merlo 033286. Engaged by artillery and 12 enemy made quick exit when house was hit

29th November

Brigade HQ.

Normal shelling and mortaring of Brigade area during the night.

Heavy shelling and mortaring of forward house at 014287 occupied by section 2 LIR.

0815 Pamphlet shells were dropped in bttn area.

It was during the night that 4 Para Regiment made a strong attack on 2 Royal Scots’ positions on Monte Castellaro 9833 and gained considerable successes.

1800 Patrol from 2 LIR went out again to knoll 015290 and met no opposition at first but saw enemy digging in.

House at Point 156 was heavily stonked at this time, causing one casualty.

Enemy on knoll heavily mortared by 2 LIR.

2135 Patrol from 1 RIrF encountered enemy at 015307.

1 RIrF – 0030.

1430 Enemy movement area Tamagnin engaged by 3” Mortars.

Shelling and mortaring and MG fire in bttn area.

2315 D Coy patrol (Lt Beaver) engaged in area 015307 and Sgt Howell fatally wounded.

Died on this Day:

Sergeant Frank Howell, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


1000 CO visits S Coy at Firenzuola.

1100 Message: the bttn to move to San Clemente at 0800 hrs 1st December received. Coys informed.

1500 Pipes and Drums beat retreat at Castro San Martino.

2000 CO holds party for WOs and Sgts in HQ Mess. Accident at Firenzuola. Sgt Smith killed.

Died on this Day:

Sergeant Douglas Smith, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


0800 Sitrep: shelling and mortaring of battalion area during night. Recce Patrol to Point 358 report track leading to Casa Sillaro 018293 to be very narrow with an almost sheer drop of 20-30 feet on either side. Movement head from Sillaro house and area of point. Patrol reached there just before enemy and drove them off. Estimated strength of enemy about 12. Section of knoll 015290 found about 30 in occupation and were fired on, then tried to work round to left and discovered another 8 enemy in gully between knoll and Sillaro and were again fired at. Section patrol on right of culvert engaged enemy patrol about 150 yards forward of bridge 017288. Patrol withdrew leaving holding party at house 015287.

1000 CO proceeded to Brigade HQ for orders regarding future move.

1100 Smoke screen coming up the valley to envelope bttn area. Bttn casualties so far – 1 killed and 10 wounded.

1800 E Coy’s forward house being heavily shelled. Bren gun knocked out. Orders given for house to be held despite shelling.

2000 Sitep: Slight HF on left forward coy. Heavy mortaring and shelling of house 014287. At 0815 hrs – enemy pamphlets on bttn area.

2200 Brigade HQ ask for names of 4 personnel for month’s leave in UK. One each from E,G, H and S Coys chosen.

30th November

Brigade HQ.

Intermittent shelling of brigade area during the night.

Attempts by 1 Division during the night to dislodge the enemy from Monte Castellara failed.

1700 One PoW captured by 2 LIR at 009294. Identification 10 Coy, 3 Para Regiment (1 Para Division).

1840 Patrol from 2 LIR to knoll 015290 captured an enemy listening post of two men. Identification 7 Coy, 289 Regiment (98 Division).

2015 Strong enemy attack – probably a coy – attacked along a ridge at 012306 on 1 RIrF positions. Engaged by MG fire. Enemy threw grenades and fired schmeissers. Attack dispersed by mortar DF. Situation cleared up by 2159 hrs.

Standing Patrol on Point 312 013307 approached by two enemy. Patrol opened up and was immediately fired upon from enemy positions around.

Patrol to Point 166 019303 only got to within 200 yards of the house.

1 RIrF – 0030.

0600 Standing Patrol area Point 312 report scream from area of MG target at 0100 hrs.

General shelling and mortaring on bttn area.

2015 D Coy patrol (Lt Beaver) report enemy on both sides of Black Ridge (007306 to Point 312).

2020 B Coy call DF 5. Grenade and schmeisser fight at OP (007306).

2035 B Coy corrects DF to bring closer.

2050 B Coy called DF 3.

2055 B Coy calls repeat.

2100 B Coy reports all quiet.

2345 D Coy patrol returns. Made no contact after fire fight at B Coy OP.

B Coy Standing Patrol at 312 attacked. Sgt Trickett wounded and captured.


1000 CO speaks to BM reference move of bttn. Not yet decided if we relieved 2 LIR.

1100 Personnel for UK leave – Lt Smith, CQMS Rourke, L/Sgt Little, Fusilier Winfield. Leave Arezzo 5th Dec 44.

1400 Lt Bannister and Lt Young join bttn from 1 CRU.

1430 CO visits S Coy.

1700 CO returns.

1800 Admin orders for move issued.

2300 Order for move received from brigade. Bttn to relieve 2 LIR.


0010 Several heavy shells landed immediate area Bttn HQ.

0210 Several more shells landed in Bttn HQ area.

0610 More shelling Bttn HQ. Line to mortars reported out of action. Linesmen out to repair it.

0800 Sitrep: Patrol saw enemy digging in at knoll 015289. Patrol returned and had area mortared. Stand Patrol Point 156 heavily shelled and mortared during night. Intermittent shelling of bttn area during night.

0900 Drizzling rain in the valley. Smoke screen enveloping bttn area.

0930 Intentions night 30 Nov/1 Dec: Fighting Patrol, strength 1 and 12 to knoll 015290. Time out – first dark, in 2200 hrs. Local protection by standing patrols.

1600 Mortar OP report 1 deserter gave himself up.

1830 Patrol to knoll 015290 report capture of 2 prisoners from an enemy patrol.

Two 15 cwts with ammunition for forthcoming move forward not now needed as attack cancelled but ammunition unloaded at E Coy. Mortar Platoon, who were to move forward in support of attack, to remain in present position.

2000 Sitrep: Mortaring and shelling of bttn area during day. 1 PoW surrendered at 008289 – Identification, 2 Para Regiment, 1 Para Division. Patrol to knoll 015290 returned with 2 PoWs – Identification, 7 Coy, 2 Bttn, 289 Regiment.

Shelling, mortaring and an increase of MG fire on bttn area during the night.