War Diaries – 16th to 20th October 1944

16th October

Brigade HQ

Standing patrol from 2 Innisks at La Vecchia heavily mortared during the night.

Battalion spent a quiet night, except for slight mortaring on London Irish.

Commander 6 Armoured Division and Commander 61 Infantry Brigade visit Brigade Commander.

Quiet day.

Normal standing patrols during the night..

2 Innisks – CASTEL DEL RIO.

Brigade Major phones to say attack is cancelled. Coy Commanders take Platoon Commanders to OP to look at ground. B Coy patrol to La Vechia.


0700 Sitrep: NTR.

1400 Intentions night 16/17: Patrol, one platoon strong, to base Pt 424 (039188) and detached recce patrols to Torre (0418) and Tambarella (0319). Time out – 1730 hrs, in at midnight

1800 Sitrep- NTR.

17th October

Brigade HQ

Patrol from 2 LIR to Fornione during the night saw nothing.

Civilian report enemy patrol entered Fornione after our own patrol had left and asked for food.

No shelling during the night.

0830 Commander goes to conference with Commander 78 Division.

Commander 61 Brigade goes on recce of brigade area. 61 Brigade are to relieve 38 Brigade in present locations. Brigade Commander now receiving orders for future operations.

1400 Orders for future move of the brigade.

1 RIrF are to move am 18th to be under command 36 Brigade.

10 RB to relieve 2 LIR on M Capella am 18th.

2 RB relieve 2 Innisks am 19th.

Probable future objective of brigade is Monte Spaduro M 0226.

36 Brigade attacking M La Pieve 029240 night 18th/19th.

2 Innisks – CASTEL DEL RIO.

1400 CO 10 RB arrives preparatory to relief of bttn and is taken around positions by the IO.

1700 Message from brigade to say relief postponed 24 hours to 19 October.

1900 A Coy patrol to La Vechia. Nothing to report.


0700 Sitrep: Patrol to Fornione NMS. Civilians report that an enemy patrol entered Fornione night 15/16 after our own patrol had left and asked for food. Quiet night. No shelling.

1000 CO and Recce Group from 10 RB (6 Armoured Division) arrive Bttn HQ. Bttn to be relieved shortly for operations elsewhere.

1100 Divisional Engineers complete track from village to Bttn HQ. Now possible for jeeps to use track.

1200 Bttn warned to move to concentration area Pezzolo (995195) 19 October after immediate stop south of Castel del Rio on 18 October. Intention: to follow through 36 Brigade’s attack on M Del Pieve and Monte Spaduro.

1730 H Coy patrol, one platoon to Fornione 0319, thence section patrols to Tambarella (0319) and Gardengo (0419) with recce patrols to 030198, 039198 and 046196.

1830 CO’s O Group. Bttn being relieved by 10 RB (6 Armoured Division) morning 18th October. H Coy (Reserve coy) to move off as soon as possible, presumably 0800 hrs. Other coys when relieved. Intermediate area 002148. Baths to be provided here by MBU. Bttn to bivouac here ready to move at 1300 hrs on the 19th.

18th October

Brigade HQ

2 LIR patrol at Gardengo 0419 during the night saw 14 enemy but ambush laid out did not materialise.

Deserters from 577 Regiment picked up by 2 Innisks at Carseggio 0118.

0800 1 RIrF leave concentration area for lying up area near San Apollinare 005231 and come under command 36 Brigade.

1515 Relief of 2 LIR by 10 RB completed.

2 LIR concentrate in area Castel del Rio.

1800 Standing patrol 2 Innisks goes out to La Vecchia as usual.


Bttn move to area Apollinare. Coy Commanders forward to La Vigna on recce. Under command 36 Brigade.

2 Innisks – CASTEL DEL RIO.

1100 CO goes to hospital. Second in Command takes over command of bttn. Orders for move Apollinare received.

1900 B Coy to La Vechia to do Chinese attack. Result NTR.


0700 Morning spent preparing to hand over to 10 RB.

1200 Bttn HQ left for concentration area. Relief almost completed, except for delay in arrival of RB Mortar Platoon.

1730 Bttn Mortar Platoon arrived at concentration area. Bttn bathed at MBU.

2200 O Group – Bttn ready to move in TCVs at 1000 hrs on 19th.  All mule loads to be ferried forward in 15 cwt trucks as early as possible to forward concentration area at Sassaleone (9920)

19th October

Brigade HQ.

0900 Relief of 2 Innisks by 2 RB commences.

Brigade HQ moves to new location at M 004231.

1000 2 LIR move forward to concentration area San Apollinare 005231

1030 2 LIR relief by 2 RB completed and 2 Innisk follow 2 LIR for concentration area near San Apollinare.

1900 1 RIrF move forward to take over positions on Pt 416 028248 preparatory to attacking M Spaduro 029269.

2100 1 RIrF commence attack on M Spaduro. One coy 2 LIR under command in reserve.

1 RIrF – 029248.

0300 Move to take over from 8 A & SH. Tac HQ – Pt 455, A Coy – Pt 401, C Coy –Pt 416. B, D and S at Gesso.

Proposed daylight attack on Spinella and Spaduro ridges cancelled and night attack planned. Last minute change of routes resulted from information given by POW. A, B, C move in that order. One coy, 2 LIR, under command, take over Pt 416. D Coy reserve. Wireless communication poor – NTR. Interference and jamming heavy, conversations sometimes quite unintelligible.

2154 LIR MGs in position on 416.

2225 Progress satisfactory (A Coy, ditto B Coy).

2230 A Coy on slopes of objective.

2320 B Coy request fire on their objective for direction.

Died on this Day:

Company Sergeant  Major Edward Crowley, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Robert Hodson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 Innisks – APOLLINARE.

0800 CO and Coy Commander to Apollinare on recce.

1100 Relief commences. Bttn goes by TCV in coy blocks to Apollinare and concentrates.

1300 Relief completed.

1700 Bttn concentrated at Apollinare for the night.


1000 Bttn ready to move.

1130 TCVs ready bttn area. Bttn em-bused.

1400 Bttn now in area of Sassaleone. Hot meal served prior to move forward at dusk.

1700 Orders changed. Bttn to move forward with essential 1st line equipment to area S Apollinare (005230). E Coy and MMGs to move right forward in support of 1 RIrF.

20th October

Brigade HQ

0600 12 PoW brought in, captured by 1 RIrF during the night.

The results of their interrogation, the information brought back by an officer from Monte Spaduro and other sources produced the following story of the attack:

“The attack went in at 2100 hrs and met an enemy pocket of resistance in the house at Spinello 031253. It was found that the house was practically surrounded by a minefield and a strong point. The forward coy by passed this resistance and attacked Pt 362 028263. The enemy defence was about a hundred yards forward of this point, roughly held by about one or two coys, each with one platoon up. The quick assault of the 1 RIrF took the Bosche by surprise and he retired after very little fighting down the gullies. 12 PoWs were taken at this juncture. Another coy went onto  Monte Spaduro with practically no opposition. They were heavily counter attacked at about 0630 by a strong enemy coy assisted by heavy mortars firing from the back of Pt 380 025274. Considerable damage was inflicted on the enemy before the coy ran out of ammunition. Only ten men returned and said that a number were killed or wounded and the majority take prisoner. The coy was pinned to the ground by mortar fire and by snipers firing down into the gullies. There was also a sharp exchange of grenades.

15 PoWs were taken by the coy in their initial assault of Monte Spaduro but these returned to the Bosche lines.

At about the same time, the coy left on Point 362 were counter attacked and overwhelmed. From these two coys, only forty men returned including two officers.”

The remaining two coys of 1 RIrF consolidated on Point 416 with the help of one coy 2 LIR and were heavily shelled all day.

1700 Five deserters belonging to 756 Regiment surrendered to Artillery OP at Vignia. Identification 3,5 and 7 Coys, 756 Regiment.

C Squadron 12 CAR now under command.

Locations of 1 RIrF:

C Coy – 028248.

D Coy – 029247.

E Coy 2 LIR u/c – 030249.

2 LIR less E Coy concentrated – 003227.

2 Innisks concentrated – 005233.

One coy 2 LF moved to take up position on Pt 362 018250 and came under command of 2 Innisks.

1900 2 LIR are to attack Monte Spaduro tonight in conjunction with an attack on Monte Acqua Salata 0424 by 8 A & SH. This latter feature must be taken before an attempt to capture Spaduro can be made. The failure to take Acqua Salata last night no doubt boldened the Hun for his counter attack last night.

2230 8 A & SH report that they have taken Acqua Salata without opposition.

1 RIrF – 02824

0030 A Coy consolidating on objective. Have 12 prisoners.

0330 B Coy crossing wadi onto Spaduro.

0515 B Coy on objective, having engaged in two skirmishes and taken two prisoners including one sergeant major.

0545 Considerable enemy movement on lower slopes. Counter attacks forming. DFs brought down.

0600 Strong counter attack in progress. Coys appear to be surrounded.

0700 A Coy overrun. B Coy beat off attack. Our mortars and Vickers in position.

0730 B Coy being attacked again, short of ammunition. C Coy on saddle between Spinello and 387.

0930 B Coy overrun. German stretcher bearers at work on Spaduro. C Coy pinned by fire from 387 and Spinello. Tanks from Gesso reducing Spinello.  D Coy pinned by fire from Acqua Salata ridge. 3” mortars engaging targets there in spite of being sniped.

1100 C Coy extricated under smoke.

1200 D Coy come out shortly after C. Suffered casualties. Left 4 dead.

1600 Heavy shelling on bttn area all day. Five hits on Tac HQ. Several casualties. D Coy to evacuate to Apollinare at dusk.

2000 2 LIR O Group arrived at Tac HQ.

2300 2 LIR in position. C Coy patrol unable to reach 031252. Two 6 pounder sat our A/Tk platoon digging in on Gesso ridge.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Victor Turner, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Charles Johnston, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Muldoon, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Ernest Winder, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Frank Batty, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier George Webber, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Harold Jones, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Walter Holmes, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier George White, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Francis Haveron, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Alexander Smith, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Smith, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Leonard Baird, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Royle, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Albert McCulloch, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sergeant Harry Elliott, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Major Maurice Crehan, Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached from the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps

Fusilier George Burchett, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Patrick Gallagher, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Manning, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal William Murphy, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Alan Jenkins, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 Innisks – APOLLINARE.

0800 RIrF on objective but cut off by enemy. Two coys lost.

LIR to go to Crows foot tonight. No move for us.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Henry McCabe, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


0700 Bttn (less E Coy and MMGs) spent night in San Apollinare.

1600 Final O Group to move forward at 2130 hrs, with 1st line equipment on mules, to Pt 401 (028246). Artillery plan – Mike 1 to shell enemy positions continuously with varying barrage until 2359 hrs. F and G Coys to move forward at 2359 hrs. F Coy to clear enemy positions as Eastern Casa Salara (034263). G Coy to swing left and clear territory as far as Western Casa Salara (022263). Then, with H Coy, to consolidate general area, track junctions: 029259 – 030257. E Coy to move into reserve behind them.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Richard Evans, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Frederick Murphy, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman William Fisher, London Irish Rifles.