War Diaries – 6th October 1943

Brigade HQ – TERMOLI.

0100 COs reported and Bttns mostly ashore. Plan to form perimeter defence of Termoli to ward off possible enemy attack at first light and then to continue to front line for plan already made by Divisional Commander.

0200 Brigade transport column left concentration area Campomarina (J8573).

0300 Bttns in position. 1 RIrF and 6 Innisks covering approaches from Pescara road. 2 LIR making inner perimeter.

0545 Brigade transport column arrived Termoli.

0600 Enemy recommenced shelling town.

0830 Brigade Tac HQ established H823770. Enemy shelling increased in volume and accuracy. Much MG fire. Enemy’s accurate shelling later attributed to the fact that in the church tower of Termoli two enemy spotters were located.

0915 Divisional Commander visited Tac HQ.

Enemy active on Brigade front. Advanced on tanks along Pescara road at first light this morning. Now held and shelling town. Own tanks making progress but slow.

1000 Bttn commanders reported at Tac HQ. Bttns to go to start line and advance on planned axis Pescara road – 1 RIrF right, 6 Innisks right with objective high ground to approximately grid line 81 at 1130hrs and to dig in.

2 LF came under command 36 Brigade.

1030 Main Brigade HQ left Termoli and opened at H823770.

2035 38 Brigade patrol intentions and responsibilities issued.

2030 38 Brigade informed by Division that in event of the enemy withdrawing during night 6/7 October, units would endeavour to establish contact at first light. Bttns informed.

1 RIrF.

0115 The CO issued his orders.

0200 A, B, D and HQ Coys marched to the dispersal point.

0300 They were in position.

0315 C Coy disembark.

0515 C Coy in position in reserve.

The CO was advised that the Bttn would take part in an attack that day and was instructed to bring the Bttn up to a start line

0800 Bttn moved to start lines. CO goes for orders.

0815 Bttn issues his orders.

1130 Bttn advances to the attack. The opposition being very thin on the ground, the chief danger was from desultory mortar and artillery fire with the occasional machine gunner firing on fixed lines. The various farm buildings on the way were cleared.

1250 The first objective was reached with A Coy leading HQ Command, C Coy. B and D Coys had six MMGs left and were out of touch. They did not reorganise on the first objective but pressed on. Their left hand platoons, being able to do so, assisted the right flank of the 6 Innisks by fire. A and C reorganised and received or the next advance.

Orders: advance to continue parallel with and on south side of Guglionisi road, then to run left handed onto the final objective. Order of march: A Coy, HQ Command, C Coy. Tanks to follow A Coy. Intermediate farms to be cleared as before.

1310 Advance continues.

A number of casualties were incurred by… and accurate mortar fire, which had increased in intensity.

1515 Main objectives reached.

Coys consolidated astride road facing south west. Ammunition had run short and carriers were used to replace it.

1645 Bttn was attacked in mistake by cannon firing Spitfires and Hurribombers. Attacks lasted for ¾ hour but there were no casualties.

A quiet night.

Fusilier Thomas Farrow, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Arthur Kinch, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Michael Keogh, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Arthur Villiers, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Percy Pitt, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal William Merryfield, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Henry Beardmore, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Ronald Dean, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier James Dicker, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Jenkinson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Leonard Twiss, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal James Percival, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier George Robinson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Alfred Parker, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Arthur Bedford, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – TERMOLI.

0030 D were first to disembark, and half Bttn HQ with 70 of C and B Coys followed an hour later.

0130 The position in Termoli was extremely confused. Commandos and a Bttn of 11 Brigade were holding the north and had beaten off a German counter attack the day before, assisted by our own carriers, and another one during the night.

Another counter attack was expected at dawn. The CO and Adjutant went off immediately to Brigade HQ to be told the situation and at 0230hrs, the Adjutant returned to lead the Bttn (less half) to an assembly area. From here, the coys present were placed in defensive positions in the area of Termoli railway bridge and station.  The RIrF were on our right and a troop of commandos formed on our left. In the meantime, the rest of the Bttn under Major Crocker had disembarked at about 0300hrs and joined the Bttn. Captain Hodgson contacted the Bttn with the MG and carrier platoons so that by first light, the fog of war began to clear.

First light saw the CO and Lt-Col CH Butler of the RIrF at an OP with an officer from the Commandos, where the ground for the day’s attack was pointed out. The enemy attack at dawn did not materialise but Termoli was bombed soon after first light.

Orders were then received from Bttn HQ for a two Bttn attack, supported by tanks on either flank, on the area rd junction 803767 – pt 161 – San Giacomo, with the object of enlarging the Termoli bridgehead with RIrF right and 6 Innisks left. Information, both about the enemy’s strength and dispositions, and the locations of our own troops was almost nonexistent, but it was known that the enemy were supported by tanks.

0800 Hasty recces were completed and, at 0905, the Bttn moved out of Termoli to an assembly area where it was met by the remainder of S Coy. The state of the ground, however, prevented cross country movement by vehicles other than tanks. The Bttn had no artillery support as none was yet available.

1030 The attack started across broken country suitable for infantry. Communication within the Bttn was by runner only, as no wireless batteries were available in the country. A tank battle proceeded on both flanks of the Bttn, which progressed steadily forward with coys leapfrogging each other.

1300 The CO was wounded by fire from a tank and Major Crocker took command.

By the time the final objective (San Giacomo) had been reached, the enemy had already evacuated it, and in fact Bttn HQ was the first to enter the village after a long and arduous advance across very broken country.

Coys quickly followed and were allotted defensive positions on the outskirts of the village, which were occupied soon after dusk.

2100 OC S Coy brought up supporting weapons and rations after a patrol had cleared the road between and ourselves and the RIrF and the meal was very welcome after the long and arduous day. The welcome given to our troops by villagers spoke for itself. A 50% stand to was ordered for the night but no counter attack developed.

Casualties were 4 ORs killed, CO and 14 ORs wounded. Two enemy PoWs were taken.

Fusilier William Timmins, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Smith, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Moffat McCormack, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0130 Battalion disembarked at Termoli (8378). Moderate enemy shelling of harbour and docks during disembarkation. Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer recced Battalion positions.

0130 ‘F’ vehicles left their harbour area and proceeded by road to Termoli. Arrived without incident 0600 hrs.

0230 Battalion HQ Advance Party and E Company arrived in town of Termoli & took up positions. Battalion HQ established in main street.

0300 Battalion “O” Group on recce. F Company disembarked completely. Remainder of Battalion disembarked at 30 minute intervals and went straight to their allotted positions. E Company in area of Station. F, G & H Companies in the town.

0700 German attack on Termoli. First thrust against 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers (2LFs) in positions north of the town. Enemy shell the town. Battalion under temporary command of 11 Brigade.

1000 Enemy repulsed. Battalion back under command of 38th (Irish) Inf Brigade.

Two companies under orders to proceed to 2/LFs should they require them.

1015 6 Innisks & 1 R I F attack through 2/LFs positions.

They encounter slight opposition and advance between 3 to 4 miles. 2/LIR in reserve.

1400 Battalion attack on two company front. H Company on right. E Company left. Objectives, Cemetery and high ground to the West. These were taken in 30 minutes.

1530 Battalion HQ moved forward to the Railway Station. G Company moved forward as defence Company on E Company’s left rear. Battalion positions were consolidated & preparations for German counter/attack were made. F Company moved forward over Rly. S Company to Rly Stn.

A/Major B H Westcott wounded in action. Admitted to hospital.

Captain Rev H Graydon granted award of MC.

Rifleman Oliver Whitham, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Graham Fenn, London Irish Rifles, attached from Royal Irish Fusiliers.


Rifleman James Kelly, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Ivor Morgan, London Irish Rifles.

Corporal Edward Murphy, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Stanley Peers, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman John Wilson, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman William Jenkins, London Irish Rifles.

2/Lieutenant Stanley White, London Irish Rifles.