Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 Royal Fusiliers

11th May.

Bttn remained in concentration area resting.

2359 Bttn moved to forward concentration area 8917 in rear of Monte Trocchio by march route arriving and settling in by 0400 hrs.


12th May.

Bttn remained in concentration area awaiting news of the other two brigades of the divisions who were to have formed a bridgehead over the River Gari but were meeting with very strong opposition.

2200 Brigade Commander gave orders for 12 Brigade to cross River Gari as 10 Brigade and 28 Brigade were pinned on the south side of the river and were unable to push on.

2300 CO gave orders to coy commanders. These orders were verbal but generally the plan was for the bttn to cross the river (by a Bailey Bridge which was being erected during the night) on the right of 6 Black Watch , who were to cross before us with one squadron of 2 Lothians in support.

Z Coy left, W Coy right were to be the first wave followed by Bttn HQ with X and Y Coys following Z and W Coys respectively as second wave and mopping up troops.


13th May.

0400 Bttn moved from concentration area to the bailey bridge arriving at 0530 hrs and discovered that the bridge had not been completed. The route on which we were halted was under constant mortar and artillery fire. Consequently, the CO moved the bttn back to the safety of some nearby houses.

0700 Bttn moved down the road again to the bridge site and eventually crossed the river between and 0700 and 0800 hrs. Details of the forming up and assault are best found in the Brigade Intelligence Summary No 36 and Situation Report.

1900 Bttn HQ was shelled heavily and made untenable.


14th May.

During the morning, the enemy made a strong counter attack from the north but were repelled.

0600 W Coy, who had consolidated on the right, were brought over to the left of the bttn front and push forward a few hundred yards to an objective given by the brigade.


15th May.

0500 Heavy concentration of mortar and artillery fire on bttn area.

Bttn reorganised into two composite coys in view of the casualties ie W and X, Y and Z.

1430 Enemy attempted to infiltrate on right flank. Tanks called up and the situation was soon restored.


16th May.

A fairly quiet morning. Brigade visited Bttn HQ and informed us that the 1st RWK on our left and a bttn of Beds and Herts on our right were to attack at 1830 hrs.


17th May.

During the early hours of the morning, W and X Coys moved forward to 846189.

0800 W Coy patrol returned having made contact with our left flank.

0900 Began the general move forward, W and X Coy followed by Y and Z Coys and Bttn HQ. Finally cutting the railway between points 53 and 46 and taking up positions on pts 60 and 51.

1900 Bttn was ordered to advance to cut Route Six in order to prevent the escape of the Cassino garrison. Approximate positions by 2000 hrs were X and X at 841200 Y and Z south of the road at 842196.

2100 – 2200 Eight PoWs gave themselves up and from then onwards up until first light, a steady flow of prisoners arrived – total 51.


18th May.  

OC W Coy (Major I Thomas) took a patrol up the mountain to the monastery and claims to be the first British troops to enter and proudly cherishes a white table cloth belonging to the monastery with which a party of 28 PoWs surrendered.



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