Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


1 RIrF – May 1943

1st May.

A quiet day. The Bttn was warned in the evening of a possible counter attack by the enemy. A few changes were made in the Bttn’s position, and Bttn HQ moved back about 200 yards behind a ridge. CO went on a recce.


2nd May.

No counter attack developed during the night, and none during the day. Two forward companies were mortared rather heavily during the afternoon. Lieut GL Care was wounded. Our mortars went into action and had some success shooting up some enemy on far slope of pt 416. Received a warning order for a move in the next few days. CO did not return today.


3rd May.

Orders for relief by the French tonight. Some difficulty handing over to the French owing to the shortage of French speakers in the Bttn. Full details of the move in the Appendix.


4th May.

A quiet day. Role in new area was to form a back stop for the impending advance. 78 Division were to form the back stop and the Irish Brigade less 6 Innisks were on the extreme right flank. The Bttn position was out of shell range


5th May.

No change in Bttn positions. A quiet day spent resting and cleaning after several weeks in the mountains.


6th May.

Bttn positions still the same. Large scale attack on Tunis commenced . 6th Armoured and 7 Armoured Divisions reached La Mornaghia. Bttn prepared to move forward when required and also prepared for a possible counter attack.


7th May.

Attack reported going favourably. Nothing could be seen of it from our positions owing to the duct in the Medjez valley caused by the streams of transport which were going down the Medjez valley all day.

1930 Elements of 7 Armoured Division in Tunis.


8th May.

Details of move in Appendix.

78th Division were to clear Tunis. 38 (Irish) Brigade to take the southern part of the town. Bttn was ordered to exploit and mop up any enemy around Lake Sedjoumi.

1400 Bttn started to advance with the carrier platoon leading, followed by A Coy. The road down the west side of the lake was full of 6th Armoured Division transport and there was no sign of any enemy. Bttn went round the southern end of the lake, and took up positions across the four main roads, leading from south to north into Tunis. Only a few hours were spent in these positions. The Bttn then moved back and consolidated in La Gagna.


9th May.

A quiet day spent settling in. No leave granted into Tunis.


10th May.

Ten percent of the Bttn allowed in Tunis. Nothing unusual to report. A quiet day.


11th May – TUNIS/LA GAGNA.

A quiet day.

1330 Patrols of 1 officer and 2 sections in transport were sent out by companies to the following places. A Company Inegrine, B Company Inaxula, C Company Hamman Lif and D Company St Germain.

1830 Patrols returned. A, B, and C Coys with nothing to report. D Coy brought in two suspect Italians and report having seen large quantities of German stores and equipment in several French houses.


12th May – TUNIS/LA GAGNA.

Patrol programme was cancelled. Companies engaged in marshalling prisoners from Cap Bon. Received orders for local move tomorrow.


13th May – TUNIS/LA GAGNA.

0615 Recce parties return to new area 1551.

1500 Bttn transport moves to new area.

1600 Marching personnel move.

1630 LO goes to tea at Division.

1800 Bttn reported in new area. D Company still dealing with prisoners on Tunis race course.

Captain Hanna rejoins Bttn.


14th May.

A quiet day. Nothing to report. Bathing under coy arrangements was carried out.


15th May.

A similar with nothing outstanding taking place.


16th May.

First recognised Sunday since landing in Africa. Quiet day and a holiday.


17th May.

0700 Party went to Bougie for mens’ kit bag. Quiet day.


18th May.

Orders and preparation for Victory Parade into Tunis.

Q Staff very busy sewing on Divisional and Brigade signs.

Detailed in attached appendix.


19th May.

Quiet day. More preparations for Victory March.

1700 Party for the parade move off.


20th May.

Victory March through Tunis. Extremely hot day. Bttn well represented in the Brigade group. The remainder were allowed to watch.


21st May.

A quiet day. Nothing to report.


22nd May.

Bttn still getting reorganised. Training programmes being made out. Being so near the sea, every man had ample opportunity for bathing almost every day. Party returned from Bougie with kit bags.


23rd May.

Nothing to report.


24th May.

Rest period still in progress. Bttn still in same area.


25th May.

A quiet day. Nothing to report.


26th May.

Received warning order to be prepared to move on the 28th. Carried out a few preparations.


27th May.

Packing up and preparing for the move tomorrow. Bttn was ready to move by 1900hrs in the evening.


28th May.

Full details of the day in Appendix.


29th May.

Continuation of move to new area.

1100 Bttn arrived in new area, a few miles north of Guelma. It was found to be very exposed to the sun, with very little shade. Chief attraction to the men was a swimming pool coming from a naturally warm spring, only about 500 yards from the camp.

30th May – GUELMA.

No training. Spent the day settling in, putting up tents etc.


31st May – GUELMA.

Coy training started. Preparations for the Brigade training camps, which were to operate on a twenty eight day programme.