26th October

Brigade HQ.

0540 1 RIrF reported patrols confirmed enemy position 604816. Patrol attacked pt115 (627759). MG fire heard from area 6081 and 6481 during night and small position located 610820.

0600 6 Innisks and 2 LIR nothing to report during night.

1000 Brigade Commander and IO returned to main Brigade HQ from recce.

1115 1 RIrF reported enemy shelling area 652792 from 1100 to 1110.

1305 2 LIR reported 6 FW 190s bombed area 656798 at 1330hrs.

1330 6 Innisks in Montenero (6474) attacked by 8-12 FW 190s. No casualties or damage.

1920 Division and 11 and 36 Brigades and Brigade Group informed Brigade HQ closing present locations. 2100hrs opening same time at Convent near Petacciato (712792).

Tac HQ opens same time 663789.

2320 RIrF reported enemy battery concentration on bridge and road area 6379.

38 Brigade OO No 29 issued amendment No 1 to above issued.

Brigadier N Russell DSO MC issued to ADS.

Lieut Col N Grazebrook DSO CO of 6 Innisks took over command 38 Brigade.

Lieut A McI Smyth RIrF posted to 1 RIrF.

Lieut GMJ Chambers RIrF posted to this HQ from 1 RIrF as IO vice Lieut A McI Smyth

Captain JFS Griffin EME admitted 152 Field Ambulance and evacuated CCS following M/C accident.

1 RIrF.

1400 O Group at Bttn HQ. Orders for a readjustment of positions preparatory to an attack on San Salvo. This was a recce of new positions.

1700 Lieut HL Hutchison and two men went to recce a Start Line for the bttn in the area of pt42-6181. The patrol lost its way and had to return.

2100 D Coy and carriers relieved by 6 Innisks.

2200 C Coy to 622793. D Coy to 628797.

2210 B Coy relieved by 2 LIR and moved to 623799.

Carrier platoon 4 3 Mortars and 3 MGs moved into position in support of coys across river.

Lieut DF Thomason rejoined from hospital.

Lieut A McI Smyth rejoined from 38 (Irish) Brigade.

Lieut CMJ Chambers posted to Brigade.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks – MONTENERO.

1030 O Group – 8 A & SH to relieve us from Montenero, 6 Innisks to take over from 2 LIR, A Coy to come under command 1 RIrF.

The changeover to be effected

A Coy + 2 MMG and 2 Mortars with D Coy, 1 RIrF.

B Coy + 2 MMG, 2 Mortars and 2 A/Tk guns  – G Coy 2 LIR.

Bttn HQ to change to Bttn HQ 2 LIR.

C Coy + 1 A/Tk change with F Coy 2 LIR.

D Coy + 2 Mortars change with E Coy 2 LIR.

C Coy to remain in Montenero until two coys 8 A & SH arrive.

Montenero again bombed with effect.

1430 Marching personnel, less C Coy moved off. Transport waited until dusk in order to avoid observation.

1730 Take over from LIR completed. A Coy moved down to 1 RIrF position on River Trigno after dusk and came under their command.

Brigadier was taken sick and CO assumed temporary command of Brigade; Major Bryar taking command of bttn.

2 LIR.

0600 Brigadier’s “O” Group at Battalion HQ.

0800 Intelligence Sgt recce route from battalion area to 1 RIrF thence down to the River Trigno. W/Lieutenant JA Hunter admitted to hospital.

1100 CO’s “O” Group. Battalion to move across the river. W/Lieutenant HND Seymour awarded the MC.

1200 Eight enemy fighters – Bombers (FW 190s) bomb and strafe same area as yesterday.

1730 E Company, Battle Patrol, Intelligence Section, F & G Companies cross River Trigno in that order. As there had been no rain the river was only about one foot deep.

1745 Battalion HQ move to area 649805.

1815 Heavy enemy shelling of River diversion and Bridge lasting for 5 minutes.

1830 All Companies but H Company across the river and established in defence positions. E Company 638811. F Company 633809. G Company 629805. Battle Patrol and Intelligence Section 633804. Companies dig in. Intermittent enemy shelling on Bridge, Diversion and Wood 5380 during the night. No casualties. The enemy constantly shelled the diversion while our vehicles were crossing the river but none were hit. One carrier was bogged after crossing. It was not possible for all company transport to return across the River owing to the slippery nature of the ground & the coming light.

27th October

Brigade HQ.

0015 1 RIrF requested brigade to send another Scammel and crew to bridge immediately.

0410 DR, who was dispatched at 0015 for Scammel not reported in or returned to this HQ.

0445 Tac HQ ordered Brigade LAD Scammel to proceed to bridge forthwith.

0530 Brigade commander spoke to 2 LIR, but they were out of contact with forward coys.

0550 6 Innisks reported HQ 663787. All coys arrived by 2300 26th October and took up positions vacated by 2 LIR.

6 Innisks patrol to 6375 searched farms but found no enemy.

0600 2 LIR reported everything went according to plan. Three coys over river. Locations:  Bttn HQ 648802, Coys: 635804, 633802, 628802, 649805. Slight opposition encountered.

0615 1 RIrF reported three coys over river and one coy and Brigade HQ this side as before.

Locations of three coys over river: 623799, 622793, 628797. Bridge shelled during night and 1 RIrF suffered 14 casualties. Patrol to recce area south of San Salvo located 2 MGs 615811 and suffered one casualty. Tracks in the area mined. All vehicles reported across river except a carrier, portee and q..CREME Scammel at Rec Pt near bridge moved off without orders when shelling started.

1000 GOC and AQ visited Tac HQ for conference with Brigade Commander. Orders for night made. Tac HQ moving tonight area 653785.

1700 2 LIR reported intermittent enemy shelling area bridge 6379.

Brigade letter on traffic control ref 29/Q issued.

Amendment No 1 to 38 OO No 29 dated 26 October 43 issued.

Captain KF MacLennan, REME, attached to Brigade HQ as REME Captain JFS Griffin evacuated to CCS.

1550 CO 1 RIrF enquired whether it was possible to postpone attack owing to sticky nature of ground, which would exhaust attackers. Brigade Commander replied that the attack would go in as already planned.

1830 Rain, which had fallen in the last hour and a half, prevented crossing of vehicles over diversion owing to the state of the ground on the far side, which was reported to be nothing better than a sea of mud. Four vehicles reported overturned on the diversion.

2200 Brigade diversion now usable but the programme of crossing necessarily curtailed.

2300 Barrage opened.

2335 6 Innisks reported in position.

38 Brigade Admin Order No 6 issued.

Read the Brigade’s account here.

1 RIrF.

0400 Lieut HL Hutchison took out his patrol again. One of his men set off a booby trap and was killed. The enemy MGs opened up and forced the patrol to retire.

1030 O Group at the Bttn HQ. Orders for the attack on San Salvo.

1800 A Coy crossed the river to join the other coys.

1815 Bttn HQ joined coys.

2130 C Coy moved to a position 500 yards in front of Long Farm to protect Start Line.

2230 Tape was laid along Start Line by IO.

2245 Coys moved into position covered by C Coy in the following order: Forward – A Coy left, B Coy right, followed by the HQ, followed by C Coy left, D coy right.

2300 Own artillery barrage starts.

2306 Forward coys crossed start line A Company on a bearing of 302 degrees, B Coy on 314 degrees. They had only gone a short way when heavy MG and shell fire was opened up on them. The whole bttn was pinned down, the rear areas still in area of start line. As the intensity of the fire increased, it became obvious that the bttn was in an enemy DF area.

The CO held an O Group at which he ordered D Coy, which had fallen behind to move up on the left of C Coy.

Sometime during the next half hour, the CO was killed by a stray MG bullet, which struck in the head.

B Coy continued the advance but was finally halted by the intensity of the enemy MG fire.

Major PJ Proctor had been hit and was missing, later known to be KIA and Major Wood assumed command

The CO took the decision to return to the area of the bridgehead, but not before it became obvious that any further attempt to advance would be futile and lead to a needless sacrifice of life.

Lieut JGC Glennie KIA, Lieut HL Hutchison (since died of wounds), 2/Lieut JV Baker wounded as were the other officer casualties.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Leslie Broadbridge, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Orr, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Edward Lightburn, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Williams, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Leonard Brown, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier George Walls Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Plant, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Sidney Cooke, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Kevin Curran, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Sergeant Albert Kidd, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Charles Warren, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Joseph Johnston, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal John Kelly, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

WO II John Keir, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Sergeant Baldwin Lloyd, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lieutenant Colonel Beauchamp Butler DSO, Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached from Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lieutenant John Glennie, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Major Patrick Proctor, Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached from Royal Ulster Rifles.

Fusilier Leonard Stone, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Percy Childs, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sergeant William Jackson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Mathew Shuttleworth, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sergeant Alfred Smith, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – RIVER TRIGNO.

Rainfall making river crossing extremely bad. This crossing was under direct observation by the enemy and was accurately shell throughout the day and night.

During the night, the RIrF and LIR completed their move across the river into the narrow bridgehead in preparation for their attack on San Salvo. 6 Innisks moved down to the river to take over the bridgehead with B, C and D Coys across the river and Bttn HQ and A Coy, which reverted to command, on the near side.

2 LIR.

1000 CO visits Company areas.

1300 Intelligence Officer recces area for Battalion Start Line for tonight’s attack on San Salvo.

W/Lieutenant MOW Clarke MC joined the Battalion from hospital.

2130 Battalion HQ & H Company move from present location and cross River Trigno.

Battalion HQ established in area 633806. H Company in area 632807 at 2300 hrs.

F & G Companies move to start line.

2200  Heavy and concentrated enemy shelling of FUP as the two Companies take up position. There were no casualties.

2300 Tanks of the 46 RTR across the River in support of 38 Brigade.

2300 Units of 78th Division move fwd to attack San Salvo. 2/LFs (11 Brigade) right. Object Stn di San Salvo 639848. 38 Brigade due left. Objective San Salvo. 2/LIR. Right 1/RIF Left. The attack was supported by five regiments of Field Arty and one battery of Mediums.

2300 Companies move fwd F right. G left.

2315 Heavy enemy MG fire from 2/LFs front.

2330 The enemy lay down a heavy and concentrated DF from guns and 6” mortars.

2335 A wall of enemy machine gun fire on fixed lines causes companies to get down.

Died on this Day:

Lieutenant Michael Marmorstein, London Irish Rifles.

28th October

Brigade HQ.

0100 1 RIrF and 2 LIR reported held up and Lt-Col Butler CO 1 RIrF killed. Opposition appeared very determined. Many flares and verey lights on the front. MG is apparent from all directions and the whole of the front is being heavily mortared.

0130 1 RIrF held up on line 610805 – 622806.

(c 0130-0230hrs, Tac HQ out of touch with bttns and information obtained through RA channels).

0230 Position extremely obscure although front itself appeared quiet.

0300 2 LIR established comms with Tac HQ and reported that they were in touch with coys who, although they had met determined resistance, were in some cases, within 1200 yards of San Salvo. A repetition of the last nine lifts of the barrage was asked for. These become available at 0340hrs and they made further slight progress.

0330 C Squadron 46 RTR reported over river diversion together with guns of 255 A/Tk Battery and A/Tk guns of 1 RIrF and 2 LIR closely following.

0430 2 LIR ordered to establish themselves and dig in the best available positions. 1 RIrF, who had been trying to retain contact with forward coys, ordered to withdraw from bridgehead over river to area 6677.

0715 Division informed Brigade of conference at 11 Brigade HQ 0900hrs. Brigade commander to attend.

0845 6 Innisks reported 5 casualties. Enemy shelled diversion 0740hrs and mortared it at 0805hrs. No enemy movement observed. 2 LIR reported Major AK O’Connor 2.i.c. killed.

1005 6 Innisks reported heavy concentration area of bridge. 2 LIR locations: Bttn HQ 632804, 626804,  626806, 629808, 632805, 633801.

1900 Brigade ordered food and ammunition to be taken across diversion by horses and carts.

Horses and carts RV at T junction 6677, approximately 1600hrs. Horse and carts requisitioned by main Brigade HQ from Petacciato. 1 RIrF reported in area 657773.

1 RIrF.

0330 The Adjutant was ordered to take the Command Group and the remnants of D Coy back.

0500 The rest of the bttn took up a position around the bridge, having been brought out of action by Major RLG Wood.

During the day, Major Wood went back and made arrangements to bring the bttn out of bridgehead at dusk.

1800 The bttn withdrew to area 6677.

2230 Bttn in new position.

The bridgehead was shelled in the morning and the bttn suffered more casualties. Major WG Dunn was killed and Captain Franklyn-Vaile was wounded.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier John Allen, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Henry Pritchard, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier William James, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sergeant Leslie Farbrother, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Major William Dunn MC, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – RIVER TRIGNO.

The attack proved to be a costly failure and LIR and RIrF were withdrawn back in to the bridgehead by first light. One squadron of tanks had also crossed the river during the night. Consequently, the crossing and bridgehead were under frequent and accurate shell fire throughout the day.  Heavy rain fell again and prevented another attack on San Salvo, in which 6 Innisks were to have taken the lead, from taking place.

Maintenance of forward coys was extremely difficult in the wet, and could only be done at night.

Slit trenches became full of water, but the shelling forced their use. LIR and RIrF recrossed the river thus relieving the congestion in the area.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Albert Cockayne, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Henry Johnson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0001 The fighting and progress of the battle is the very confused owing to the difficulty of communication caused by the heavy Arty and Mortar fire on the forward troops and Battalion HQ.

0001 Enemy plaster area of the wood, bridge and diversion with medium and Field Arty. The 6” Mortars fall just in front of the wood and on the line of the Companies approach. In the Battalion HQ it was impossible to differentiate between our own support Arty and the enemy guns firing on our fwd troops. The Arty and the fire on the enemy started on the 2/LFs front and worked from right to left across the Battalion on to the 1 RIF. At one period, the 1 RIF reported 200 shells in their area in 6 minutes.

This fire was heavy and continuous until about 0330 hrs.

0400 E Company move fwd to defensive position in right rear of F Company.

0615 Major CAF Gibbs comes in to report that F Company is in a gully between the wood and the enemy MG positions. He reports that 2/Lieutenant MC Marmorstein was probably killed when his platoon, which he was leading, was caught in the first enemy DF fire. Major G Phillips G Company Comdr was wounded in the head and taken to hospital.

1030 Major APK O’Connor, 2/ic, killed by enemy shell, in the wood 6380 while supervising the supplies of the battalion.

The division attack was repulsed. One company of 2/LFs reached the Rly Stn and left one platoon there. When daylight came, this platoon was isolated. No news has come through about them 1/RIrF suffered rather heavily. The Battalion’s final casualty figures were 9 killed, 23 wounded and 20 missing. The majority belonged to F Company.

One company of 6 Innisks in position near Bridge.

Brigade’s “O” Group. 2/LIR and 6 Innisks to attack San Salvo tonight.

1700 5th Corps Comdr orders 1/RIrF and 2/LIR to retire back across the River, leaving 6 Innisks on the North side to hold the bridgehead. Brigade attack cancelled. S Company remains across the River and the tanks in support of 6 Innisks.

Heavy rain during the day has made it almost impossible for transport to move.

The Battalion withdraws to defensive positions South of the Trigno.

H Company in their original position at farm 648801. Battalion HQ 655796.

E Company 659800. F Company 653799. G Company 653795.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Norman Sharp, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Herbert Ryan, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Christopher Clarke, London Irish Rifles.

Corporal Sidney Tye, London Irish Rifles.

Corporal George Evans, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Alfred Glass, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman James Johnston, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman James King, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Patrick McCauley, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Bernard Wignall, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman G Gallop, London Irish Rifles.

Major Arthur Kevin O’Connor, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Reginald Thompson, London Irish Rifles.

Lance Corporal Cecil Rowley, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Desmond Delaney, London Irish Rifles.

Corporal Frederick Webster, London Irish Rifles.

29th October

Brigade HQ.

0625 Brigade Major ordered strict MT control. Only operationally necessary vehicles to be on roads. Chains to be discarded when leaving tracks.

0920 Divisional order ref MT restrictions in view of bad weather received.

1400 Main Brigade HQ closed Convent, Petacciato (H712792) and reopened same time Farm H6777. Tac HQ closed 1430 and joined Main HQ at above location.

1730 6 Innisks sitrep. Intermittent shelling all day bridge area. Enemy MG fire reported from area Olive Grove 627827 at 1055hrs and 1550hrs.

1830 Brigade HQ closed Farm H6777 and reopened Convent, Petacciato same time.

2105 Brigade Commander to attend conference Divisional HQ A Mess 1730 30th October.

2305 Divisional order to prevent unnecessary transport on roads. Vehicles to be issued with COs’ permit. CMP arranging checkpoints.

1 RIrF.

0645 Bttn was ordered to move to San Giacomo.

1045 Bttn moved.

1300 Bttn in new position.

Captain BDH Dunn, Adjutant and Captain WH Lang RMO were admitted to hospital. Lieut DF Thomason took over the duties of adjutant.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

Died on this Day:

Lieutenant Hugh Hutchison, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal William Baker, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – RIVER TRIGNO.

Weather improved somewhat. Shelling of crossing now became so accurate that individual men crossing by day were fired at by 105mm guns. A Coy relieved B Coy forward of river by night.

2 LIR.

The battalion dig in their new positions.

Occasional enemy shelling of the diversion and bridge. Enemy counter battery fire on guns just behind the battalion area.

30th October

Brigade HQ.

0730 2 LIR reported in defensive positions area Grazebrook Farm. No enemy shelling reported.

1400 6 Innisks captured two PoWs identified 3 Coy, 79 Panzer Grenadier Regiment area Farm 624788 1100hrs.

A report of this patrol is attached.

Patrols night 29/30 October see Sitrep 1700hrs.

1700 Situation on Brigade front see Sitrep.

2 LIR took over 6 Innisks’ positions west of River Trigno during night 30/31 October.

1800 Owing to the changeover of bttns, 2 LIR will undertake patrols planned by 6 Innisks. Major FFK Ball DCLI posted to No 1 Advanced Army Reinforcement Unit. Foggia (Authority 5 Corps MS.78 Division A/730 dated 30 October). Major AW Gibbon A & SH relinquished appointment as acting Brigade Major to undertake the reorganisation of 1 RIrF. Major HFW Holmes R IrF posted to this HQ from 5 Corps vice Major AW Gibbon.

An appreciation of the enemy defence of San Salvo issued.

1 RIrF.

Major AW Gibbon assumed command. Bttn started to reorganise. Captain EE Rawlings joined as RMO.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier James Henderson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – RIVER TRIGNO.

Acting on civilian reports, B Coy sent out a patrol to a neighbouring farm and brought in two prisoners of 79 PGR driving back more of the enemy patrol.

1815 Bttn was relieved on the bridgehead by LIR and withdrew to a position on the east side of the River Trigno and north of the crossing.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Frank Oldham, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

1100 Battalion warned for move across the River Trigno to relieve the 6 Innisks who are to be attached to 36 Brigade for the second attack on San Salvo.

1130 CO’s “O” Group. Companies to move across the river tonight.

1300 Confirmation of the brigade move across the River Trigno.

1730 G Company cross river take up positions area 527795.

1800 E & H Companies cross the river. E Company 630159. H Company 633802.

1830 F Company and Battalion HQ move to positions xxxx

F Company 631790. Battalion HQ 634790.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Frederick Anscombe, London Irish Rifles.

31st October

Brigade HQ.

0050 2 LIR reported all well and nothing to report.

0240 6 Innisks reported all well and nothing to report.

0600 Brigade reported to Division changeover of 2 LIR and 6 Innisks completed satisfactorily and without enemy interference. Locations as before.

0745 2 LIR patrol reported two enemy MG area 615815 and another area 620815.

1200 CO 2 LIR reported enemy patrol on recce last flank of bridgehead yesterday. CO expressed himself very disquieted at the vulnerability of the left flank of the bridgehead and of his own inability with troops under his command to maintain the bridgehead should the enemy launch a determined attack.

1600 Brigadier N Russell DSO MC returned to Brigade HQ from CCS Termoli.

1700 Situation on Brigade front. See Sitrep.

1 RIrF.

Reorganisation continued.

Died on this Day:

Lance Sergeant Forbes Gilberg, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – RIVER TRIGNO.

Weather definitely improved and ground drying out; Bttn rests and dries, and starts getting the mud of equipment and clothing.

The casualties during the time the battalion held the bridgehead was as follows:

1 officer wounded.

3 ORs killed.

21 ORs wounded.

2 ORs missing.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Peter Awcock, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.