1st October

Brigade HQ – ANDRIA.

1835 38 Brigade OO No 27 issued.

1 RIrF.

A quiet day spent settling into the new area.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks – BARLETTA.

0830 S Company carried out a 15 mile route march, having a bathe in the sea at Barletta en route. Remainder of bttn spent the day cleaning up after move from Taranto. Mosquitoes very bad in this area – many people bitten. T/Capt J Norman was appointed acting Major. 

2 LIR.

One Sergeant and 30 Other Ranks to perform Route Piquet party to keep roads clear of civilian traffic on main Foggia-Barletta road.

Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer report to Brigade HQ for conference on pending move.

2nd October

Brigade HQ – ANDRIA.

0700 Brigade Group parties left Brigade HQ for new brigade area.

1415 Brigade Support Group column left Andria (O9293) for new area via Barletta (J9004), Cerignola (O5897), Foggia (J2919).

1815 Brigade Group Motor Transport (MT) column harboured for night off rd Foggia–San Severo at J1839. Total mileage for day – 68.

1 RIrF.

Bttn 20 mile route march during which the Colonel received a warning order to move to Termoli. The end of the march was accomplished in a sharp downpour of rain.

0700 Advance party under command of Captain JK Brown left for Termoli.

1500 Transport under command of Captain EL Gibbon left for its journey by road to Termoli.

The night was uncomfortable as each had only his ground sheet and blanket to cover them from the rain.

6 Innisks – BARLETTA.

0715 Bttn route march (less S Coy). Bathe on route in sea near Barletta. CO and Adjutant recalled from the march, and MT received orders to move at 1500hrs.

1830 March finished in rainstorm, and hasty packing for MT move was done during violent rainstorm. Transport moved off at 1500hrs to Foggia area. Clothes dried out in the late afternoon.  

2 LIR.

One Sergeant and 30 Other Ranks on Route Piquet as for 1st.

One Sergeant and 30 Other Ranks traffic control on Andria-Barletta road.

0730 Battalion route march. Approx 17 miles (78 Div order).

1030 Brigade orders motor transport to be prepared to move from 1200 hrs.

1600 Motor transport left battalion area by road to area Torremaggiore (30/0743).

3rd October


0820 Brigade Group MT column left area south of San Severo (J18l39).

1000 Brigade HQ established J1245. Instruction for marching personnel issued.

1 RIrF.

1315 Bttn marched to factory area in Barletta. Night spent under cover.

6 Innisks – BARLETTA.

Storm during night 2/3 October made troops very wet. Troops allowed in town until 1230hrs.

1400 Bttn moved by route march to factor buildings in Barletta. There was heavy rain after 25 minutes marching.

2 LIR.

Adjutant recced Barletta for billets.

1500 Battalion marched to factory in Barletta. Battalion HQ established Factory (37/9204)

4th October

1 RIrF.

A quiet day in the same area. The men were allowed to go into town.

Major HEN Bredin MC joined the battalion as 2.i.c.

Captain DEH Hayward was promoted a/Major wef 22 Sept 1943.

Captain WG Dunn was promoted A/Major wef 23 Sept 1943.

Lieut L Franklyn-Vaile was promoted A/Captain wef 6 Sept 1943, and appointed 2.i.c B Coy.

Lieut MC Trousdell was promoted A/Captain wef 22 Sept 1943.

Captain RF Hodsall A Coy is posted to S Coy and assumed command.

Lieut LW Hutchison B Coy is posted to A Coy.

Lieut DE Thomason B Coy is posted to HQ Coy, and appointed IO vice Captain L Franklyn-Vaile.

2200 Transport arrives at Divisional Transport are 12 miles out of Termoli.

6 Innisks – BARLETTA.

Troops allowed in town until 1300hrs.

1500 Standing by to move.

1700 ‘No move’ order came through and clothes were dried. Warning orders received for move the following morning.

2 LIR.

Battalion allowed into Barletta from 0830-1200 hrs. Brigadier in Battalion area. Adjutant visited docks re embarkation.

1700 Lieutenant F Lyness & Company representatives transported Battalion stores to TLCs

W/Lieutenant JH Barker admitted hospital.

5th October


0700 Brigade HQ transport column ordered to move. Owing to heavy rainfall, transport heavily bogged and unable to start before 1000hrs. Diversions on road San Severo-Serracapriola reported damaged by rain and caused further delay.

0945 Brigade marching personnel embarked at Barletta (J9004) for Termoli ((J8378). For details of move see Brigade OO No 27 attached

1830 Brigade HQ transport column arrived in concentration area south of Campomarina ((J8573).

1945 Brigade marching personnel arrived in Termoli (J8378). Town under heavy shell fire.

2000 Brigade Commander and IO visit SS Brigade HQ at Termoli. Situation reported to be in hand but critical.

2200 Conference with Divisional Commander at 36 Brigade HQ. Plan made for 38 Brigade to support CLY  tanks in attack at 0800hrs 6 October.

2300 Brigade HQ established Termoli (J8378) near 11 Brigade HQ.

Read the Brigade’s account.

1 RIrF.

0220 Support Coy leave Divisional support area for Termoli

0500 They arrive at Termoli.

0630 Support Coy went into action astride the coast road to Pescara with 5 MGs and worked with a mixed force of Commandos (SRS) and Recce troops under command of OC Recce Regiment.

0745 Bttn main party embarked at Barletta in their LCIs, Nos 291, 294 and 122 under command of Lt-Col BH Butler DSO, Major Proctor and Major Wood respectively. Brigadier Russell travelled on LCI 294.

0930 Ships leave harbour.

2010 LCIs reach Termoli harbour having had a smooth voyage. Enemy shells are landing in the town.

2040 LCI 294 starts unloading. The jetty only allowed one ship to unload at a time, which proved a serious disadvantage later on.

2100 S Coy, which un-beknown to the rest of the bttn had been heavily engaged during the day by German tanks and infantry now withdrew three MGs.

A liaison officer from SS Brigade had contacted the brigadier (38 Brigade) and outlined the serious position to him and Brigadier Russell had gone off to Divisional HQ.

When the Colonel landed from LCI 297, he was put in the picture and immediately recced a concentration area.

2200 A, B and D Coys concentrated above the harbour in a narrow street. IO went to SS Brigade HQ. C Coy, which was on LCI 122, did not disembark until some hours later due to a lack of liaison with the convoy commander.

2330 CO was called to SS Brigade HQ, where he was told more details of the position.

6 Innisks – BARLETTA.

Heavy rainstorm during night.

0515 Reveille, breakfast at 0545. Transport. loaded with cooks’ equipment and rations, moved off for docks.

0715 Marching personnel moved off to docks. Embarkation commenced almost immediately on arrivals.

0745 Troops very crowded in LCIs (only 7 for brigade).

1000 LCIs sailed out – the sea was calm in the morning, choppy in the morning – a few people sea sick.

2000 Arrived Termoli. Anchored off shore owing to shallow water. Shelled at anchor – no casualties or hits.

2 LIR.

0710 Battalion marched to Barletta docks & embarked on TLCs. Convoy sailed at 1000 hrs..

1030 Battalion Rear party (1 jeep & 2 M/Cs) reported to Brigade HQ left to join remainder at Battalion transport on road south of Serracapriola (30/9655)

Motor transport halted at 2000hrs at 30/9559. Orders for all ‘F’ vehicles ready to move at 0100 hrs 6th instead.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Eric Mitchell, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Arthur Groome, London Irish Rifles.