War Diaries – 21st to 25th October 1944

21st October

Brigade HQ.

0110 2 LIR attack. Their objectives were Casa Salara 022263 down line of track and ridge in a south easterly direction to 029259 and then onto Pt 387, 032256.

0600 The attack was unsuccessful. The pocket of resistance in Casa di Spinello was not properly clearly up and this forced the coys to detour down into the gullies below and they were unable to advance along the top of the narrow ridge. Repeated attempts to attack during the night made no progress. As dawn broke, the coys found themselves still in the gullies so they consolidated their positions and held on. They were heavily shelled and mortared during the day as was the reserve coy and the remainder of 1 RIrF on Pt 416, holding the firm base.

Locations – 2 LIR coys now at approx 028254, 027255 and 025254. Reserve coy at 027247. 2 coy 1 RIrF on Pt 416, 028248.

1700 2 LIR attack enemy positions on Pt 387 at 032255, 031257, 028259 and 025259 for the second time. They were assisted by a slight mist, but right from the beginning, they met heavy opposition, especially from the ridge between Casa Spinello and Pt 387, 032255.

The leading coy suffered heavily and the CO brought the battalion back to Pt 416 rather than go up against superior numbers.

Positions were consolidated around Pt 416 and relieved one coy 1 RIrF, which returned to concentration area San Apollinare. Bttn HQ, 1 RIrF also returned to San Apollinare leaving one coy under command of 2 LIR.

1 RIrF – 028248.

Shelling in battalion area much reduced. Six pounders successfully engaged targets.

Died on this Day:

Lance Corporal Thomas Borrett, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 Innisks – APOLLINARE.

0900 Orders for attack on Spaduro received. The CO and IO go to OP to look over ground. LIR did not reach objective. Attack postponed.


0600 Sitrep: Casa Spinello (031253) held by enemy and house surrounded by minefield. Position by passed by forward coys. Progress to objectives slow. Enemy positions at 031257 and 028250 being attacked by forward coys. Situation obscure. Tanks neutralised Casa Spinello.

0700 Bttn casualties known so far: G Coy – 5 wounded, 2 missing.  H Coy – Lt Cramb killed, 2 wounded. S Coy – 1 killed, 1 wounded. Shelling and mortaring in bttn area all day.

1000 Intentions night 21/22 October: G and H Coys to make a frontal attack against enemy positions at Spinello and area of track junctions. E Coy to do a flanking movement.

1700 E Coy begin to move forward, Heavy rain started to fall. Confused small arms fire and shelling all night.

Died on this Day:

Lance Sergeant Frank Janes, London Irish Rifles.

2nd Lieutenant Stephen Thompson, London Irish Rifles attached from The Loyal Regiment.

Corporal Bernard Gage, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Thomas Galligan, London Irish Rifles.

Lieutenant Christopher Cramb, London Irish Rifles, seconded from South African Armoured Corps.

Second Lieutenant James Bryning,  London Irish Rifles attached from The Loyal Regiment.

Rifleman James Blair, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman William Murphy, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Aubrey Eaton, London Irish Rifles.

22nd October

Brigade HQ.

2 LIR were fairly heavily shelled.

1200 2 LIR patrol returned from Casa di Spinello and report it still occupied and heavily defended.

1400 C Coy, 1 RIrF returned from 416 to Bttn concentration area at San Apollinare.


0300 Bttn HQ ordered to return to Apollinare. C and S Coys remain under command of 2 LIR.

2 Innisks – APOLLINARE.

1000 CO goes to brigade. New plans formed re attack Salara ridge from west in conjunction with 11 Brigade attack on Spaduro. IO pays a visit to see route and objective.


0600 Coys withdraw to general areas Bttn HQ attack having failed. Still raining heavily.

0700 Bttn casualties so far, excluding H Coy: 3 officers and  2 ORs killed, 25 wounded and 16 missing.

1300 G Coy patrol of one sergeant and 3 ORs returned and reported Casa Spinello still occupied by enemy.

1800 H Coy moved back to San Apollinare for rest. D Coy 1 RIrF also move back to San Apollinare and  their positions on Pt 416 were taken over by G Coy.

2200 Bttn mule teams arrive. Bttn cookhouse set up at Bttn HQ farm. Coffee made for all personnel. Intermittent MG shelling and mortar fire during night.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman William Collins, London Irish Rifles.

23rd October

Brigade HQ.

Very slight shelling of Pt 416 during the night.

Enemy movement from Pt 387, 033255, observed at dawn and engaged by our MMGs.

Plans were finally completed for the final attack on Monte Spaduro.

The enemy had been defending this feature fiercely and stubbornly for four days in spite of our attacks and constant shelling still holds on.

2 LIR are to secure Casa Spinello.

2 Innisks are to secure Casa Salara, 022263, Spaduro (pt 362), 028263 and down to Pt 387, 032257.

11 Brigade with two battalions to secure Pt 396 and Pt 380, 0227 and the ground down to M Sillaro.

The main attack to start at 2230 hrs and be preceded by the attack on Casa Spinello by the London Irish.

1200 Patrol from 2 LIR went out to Casa Spinello and succeeded in bringing back a prisoner. He was quickly interrogated and the enemy positions around Spinello were pinpointed from his information. The PoW belonged to 5 Coy, 756 Regiment.

1600 Information regarding enemy positions passed to 2 LIR just in time. They decided to take advantage of the mist and start their attack at 1630 hrs.

1800 The London Irish gained their objectives.

1845 Enemy counter attacks commenced. In all four of these were repulsed. 2 LIR remained firm in their positions waiting for the other assault to commence. The gaining of these objectives by the London Irish was the key to the whole attack and great credit is due to them.

2230 The main assault to gain the Spaduro feature commences.

2 Innisks met little opposition in the initial stages of their attack but ran into a minefield, which caused about 10 casualties.

They had a stiff fight for Pt 387 but eventually took all their objectives and held them against the one enemy attack that went in. In all, they took 49 PoWs and the London Irish 20 PoWs. Identifications were from 1 and 11 Bttns 756 (all coys committed).

2 LF and 1 East Surreys from 11 Brigade took their objectives and captured 60 PoWs. Identifications were from 98 Division, 1/290 Regiment.


Reorganisations on 3 rifle coy level.

2 Innisks – APOLLINARE.

0830 CO and O Group go to OP to look at ground and route.

1050 Brigade say attack is on tonight.

1400 O Group orders for attack is issued. D Coy to Salara. B Coy to Little Spaduro. C Coy track fork 029259. A Coy to go to Pt 387 if time. Zero hour 2230 hrs.

2000 Bttn starts via La Strada track peters out and we have to follow river bed, going is very bad. Half of B, C  and A Coys get lost, only D and a half of B Coy cross the start line at 2230 hrs and go into the attack.

2330 Remainder of bttn arrive at start line and C and B Coys are pushed on to objective.

They had had casualties from mines.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Frank Hughes, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


0600 E Coy sent out probing patrol to Spinello.

1400 E Coy patrol returned from Spinello with 1 prisoner.

Identification – 5 Coy, 756 Regiment, 334 Division.

1430 CO’s O Group: E Coy to move forward at 1630 hrs and take Spinello. Consequent on that, 2 Innisks will attack at midnight from Ripiano area and capture Pt 387. Two bttns of 11 Brigade will attack from 2 Innisks left flank and take Pts 380 and 298.

Second stage: E Coy to move forward and take over Pt 387 from 2 Innisks. H Coy (on ½ hour’s notice from midnight in San Apollinare) to move in reserve behind E Coy. F Coy to take over Spinello and G Coy to remain on Pt 416.

Third stage: H Coy to fill in any gaps between 2 LIR and 2 Innisks. F Coy to move forward for patrolling and exploitation as far as the eastern Salara. The bttn in the most favourable position will take Monte Spaduro as soon as possible.

1630 E Coy move forward.

1800 E Coy report on objective. Enemy shelling and mortaring entire area Pt 416 – tracks Bttn HQ – Gesso.

1900 E Coy consolidating, with F Coy, who was sent up to help. One platoon of F Coy suffered casualties in minefield. Two prisoners brought in to Bttn HQ from Spinello area. Identifications – 2 Coy, 754 Regiment, 334 Division.

2000 Enemy still shelling and mortaring bttn area – own counter battery artillery in action.

2200 Bttn MGs and mortars firing to draw enemy fire whilst 2 Innisks and 11 brigade prepare to attack on left.

2330 H Coy arrived Bttn HQ from San Apollinare.

Died on this Day:

Corporal Patrick Long, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Richard Birkett, London Irish Rifles.

Lance Sergeant Albert Ward, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Frederick Pritchard, London Irish Rifles.

Lieutenant John Bruckmann, London Irish Rifles, seconded from South African Armoured Corps.

Major Ronald Boyd MC, London Irish Rifles.

24th October

Brigade HQ.

Coy 8 A & SH now under command 2 LIR and takes over positions on Pt 416. Coy 2 LIR relieves coy 2 Innisks at Pt 387.

Locations –

2 Innisks’ coys at 022263, 024259 (with platoon at 026259), 028263 and 029259. HQ 023257.

2 LIR – HQ and coy 401, 027259.

Coy 8 A & SH under command Pt 416, 028246.

2 coys at Spinello, 031253.

Coy at Pt 387, 032255.

Slight harassing fire on our forward positions during the day.

1500 Rain commences.

1900 Coy 2 Innisks relieved coy 2 LIR on Pt 387.

2200 Coy 2 Innisks moves forward to Casa Salara, 035263 and left one platoon in occupation,

Detached patrol to Casaliana, 036258, was fired on from direction of Casetta di Sotto, 041260.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Albert Kinsman, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 Innisks – APOLLINARE.

0030 D Coy reports on objective. B Coy reports reached Casone.

0130 B Coy on objective, 10 prisoners.

0230 C Coy reports on objective – 4 prisoners taken. Heavy opposition from Pt 387.

0445 CO send A Coy through C Coy to Pt 387.

0535 A Coy reports on objective. 37 prisoners taken.

0700 LIR are to relieve us on Pt 387.

0915 A Coy return from Pt 387 to Casone, in area of Bttn HQ. Numerous RIrF dead found. Total casualties for battle – 3 killed in action, 10 wounded in action.

2030 D Coy sends two platoons to Casa Salara Pt 340.

2300 D Coy report on objective. Patrol through to Salalina report it clear.

Died on this Day:

Corporal George Riley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


0330 2 Innisks reported well on their way to their objective. Enemy DF still being drawn to bttn area. Own wounded now being brought back.

0500 One coy 8 A & SH moved through Bttn HQ to forward positions. All objectives reported taken. 11 Brigade now being assisted by tanks.

0600 Enemy wounded and prisoners being brought in to Bttn HQ. Total for last 24 hours – 18 prisoners. Mainly 756 Regiment, some 754 Regiment.

0800 Locations: G Coy – Pt 387. E and F Coys – Casa Spinello area. H Coy – area Bttn HQ Pt 401. 2 Innisks and 11 Brigade along entire Spaduro ridge.

1400 Casualties now known to be – 5 officers and 13 ORs killed, 1 officer and 58 ORs wounded. 3 ORs missing.

1500 Warning order for bttn to move back to concentration area San Apollinare night 24th/25th.

1700 H Coy move back at first dark. G Coy move to area Pt 416 with orders to move back to San Apollinare on following night.

25th October

Brigade HQ.

Coy 2 Innisks relieve coy 2 LIR successfully on Pt 387.


HQ and A Coy – 023259.

B Coy – 028263.

C Coy – 033255.

D Coy – 028259 with platoon at 035263.

Coy 2 LIR still in position at Spinello, 032253, now under command 2 Innisks.

Remainder 2 LIR now concentrated at San Apollinare.

1800 56 Recce Regiment less one squadron taking over positions on Pt 387, 032255 and Spinello, 031258, and come under command 38 Brigade.

A Squadron Pt 387, 033255.

B Squadron Spinello, 033253.

Bttn HQ, 027247.

Relief completed without incident and there was only slight spasmodic shelling for the rest of the night.

2 Innisks – CASONE.

0600 One coy LIR under command on Pt 416.

1000 Brigade informed that 56 Recce taking over LIR position and Pt 387 tonight.

1100 OC 56 Recce comes to recce positions.

1115 The CO holds an O Group.

1900 Lt Murray and patrol of A Coy, patrol to pimples forward of Casa Salara.

2000 56 Recce relieve LIR and C Coy.

2100 Patrol encounter enemy in strength.

2300 Artillery fire laid on and platoon attack launched.


0430 E Coy and Bttn HQ moved back just before first light. Bttn HQ in farm San Apollinare – coys in bivouacs.

1000 Baths at MBU. Bttn resting for remainder of day.

1700 Pioneer Platoon personnel returned to Spaduro ridge to bring back bttn dead with the aid of G Coy, now moving back.

Died on this Day:

Sergeant William Farthing, London Irish Rifles.