War Diaries – 23rd October 1943

Brigade HQ.

0050 Lieut Lorrimer posted as 2.i.c. Brigade Signal section.

Two coys 6 Innisks move to Montenero.

0200 2 LIR reported in position. Bttn HQ 670793.

0210 Battery 70 Medium Regiment firing on enemy battery south of San Salvo.

0227 RA reported two enemy SP guns west of R Trigno.

0235 2 LIR firmly established and moving up behind 1 RIrF.

0240 2 LIR A/Tk guns and support arms ordered to move down.

0245 River Trigno bridge reported blown.

0330 RE report road to bridge now clear of mines.

0335 Own troops now crossing River Trigno.

0450 Bridge reported to be gapped for 200 feet. Culvert 400 yards west of bridge reported  blown, crater 60 x 20 feet.

0500 C Squadron 46 RTR and support arms ordered to move down, well on way. Both Bttns in position. Two coys 1 RIrF across the river. Bridgehead of 200 yards depth formed but further progress barred by extensive minefield. 2 LIR positions: Bttn HQ 655789, E Coy 656786, F Coy 655793, G Coy 648798, H Coy 655789.

0715 Civilian reports indicate Montenero evacuated by enemy. Air task for today called off.

56 Recce Regiment ordered to proceed to Montenero.

0720 Report on bridge as follows: 100 yards north east of bridge, depth varying from one to two feet, bottom sound and accessible from Petacciato side.

0810 56 Recce Regiment 1 ½ miles south of Montenero.

0845 GOC and CRA visited Tac HQ.

0930 Corps Commander and BGS visited Tac HQ.

0945 2 LIR report movement in Farm 643810. Artillery taking target on and 2 LIR arranging snipers.

1000 Extensive Teller minefield located 650793 – 650803. Tracks, fields and farms all suspected to be mined.  All mines heavily booby trapped, sometimes three times and with dynamite.

1030 OC Support Coy 1 RIrF reported Bttn to be extending bridgehead to depth of 500 yards. Battle casualties: 4 killed, 24 wounded (22 mine casualties).

1100 56 Recce Regiment reported Montenero clear.

1140 38 Brigade Tac HQ closed.  Control reverted to main HQ.

Extract from Times Weekly Sept 43 issued.

1515 56 Recce Regiment revert to Divisional Command wef 0001hrs, 24 October.

6 Innisks informed by Brigade Commander that they will occupy Montenero this afternoon. 1 RIrF will enlarge bridgehead but will not go too far until A/Tk protection is able to cross the river.

Detachments REs and A/Tk will arrive tonight.

Minelifting will continue on western bank of river.

Limited patrols to gain contact will be arranged if defensive work permits.

Army Commander’s message on anniversary of Alamein received.

2 LIR informed that they will consolidate and send forward vigorous patrols, one to recce possible river crossings and another to gain contact with enemy.

2 LF will occupy high ground east of river crossing tonight. This will be the Brigade programme for the next few days.

1830 56 Recce Regiment reported leading patrols entered 1045hrs and town occupied by 1130hrs. Mines encountered and lifted, 646746, 646739 and also observed in track 640728 and 644729 – not cleared. Montenero – Tavenna road deeply cratered at 652700 and bridge on Mafada road at 638737 and 686738 blown. 2 LIR will get in touch with 2 LF as soon as possible, by first light at the latest.

2335 6 Innisks locations: Bttn HQ 646729, 648731, 648726, 648728, 645728.

Captain GK Parsons OC Brigade Signals Section ADS.

1 RIrF.

0300 C and D Coys crossed the river on the north side of the bridge under orders from the CO, who had arrived shortly before. They met no opposition but on reaching the far bank were stopped by a minefield.

0430 The area of consolidation occupied by C and D Coys was too limited so D Coy was ordered to withdraw to the east side of the river to area Farm 636783.

0800 B Coy (Major JW Dunn) moved across the river and took up a position on the north side of the river. C Coy moved to the south side. A Coy (Major PJ Proctor) was established in area 632793. Bttn HQ near road and track junction 624790.

1020 Enemy shelled area 6378.

1350 Bttn HQ moved up track to 634787.

1405 Enemy shelled area Bttn HQ.

1900 RE party arrived for mine clearing.

Throughout the night, the enemy regularly shelled the road 6378.

Corporal Frank Hare, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Harry Slinger, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier David Owen, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Clifford Bass, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sergeant Percy Allison, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Robinson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Lewis Brown, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier James Bill, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – Pt 263 (H6976).

56 Recce reported Montenero clear of enemy, but area mined.

1230 Bttn ordered to Montenero.

1400 Bttn moved off by march route in following order: A, B, Bttn HQ and D Coy. Recce party moved forward by transport.

1530 O Group at OP in Montenero.

1615 A Coy arrived and moved into position, closely followed by the other coys including C Coy, which was released by Brigade at 1330hrs. By dusk, all coys were in position and the town was strongly defended. Bttn HQ at 648729.

DF tasks arranged.

2 LIR.

1 RIrF establish bridgehead with two Companies (B & C Companies.). No serious opposition.

0815 Brigadier cancels Artry bombardment of Montenero 6473 and orders 56 Recce (under command of 38th (Irish) Infantry Brigade) to enter the town. Town found to be clear.

0930 H Company report enemy OP Farm 634610. Arty shell it.

1730 Battalion HQ move to position more central to Companies at 663790.

6 Innisks established at Montenero. 2 LFs on our right flank.

Lance Corporal Martin Byrne, London Irish Rifles.