War Diaries – 5th October 1943


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 unbeknown to the rest of the bttn had been heavily engaged during the day by German tanks and infantry now withdrew 3 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 at 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 outthe 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.

Rifleman Eric Mitchell, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Arthur Groome, London Irish Rifles.