Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


1 RIrF – December 1944

1st  December – 003301.

0130 Standing Patrol NCO + 3 to Pt 312 013306 outflanked by superior enemy fire. Sgt Trickett wounded and captured.

0150 B Coy Commander Maj A Morris OBE MC out with small force and stretcher to recover missing NCO. Unsuccessful.

2359 Lt JPF Beamish reported after engaging Pt 166 018304. Cpl Bennett wounded in stomach – subsidiary patrol detached at Tamagnin 013303. Outstanding performance by Lt Beamish at Pt 166 in engaging HO at close quarter with pistol and grenade – slightly wounded by mine outside own FDLs.


2nd December – 003301.

0415 LT CR Unwin reported after patrol to 015308. Enemy digging at Point 312 and 012307. Patrol lay up in between but unable to interrupt any enemy. Slight clash with one. No casualties.

0530 Detached patrol returned from Tamagnin. NTR.

1940 Sgt Cros DCM, Pioneer patrol to 007301 to clear minefield. Track to Tamagnin cleared.

2215 2 Innisks patrol clash in front of their left forward coy. Enemy withdrew. 4.2” Mortar DF called down.

2300 Strong enemy force seen on Point 342 014298.

Lt JRF Beamish admitted to hospital. Wounded.


3rd December – 003301.

0230 Enemy patrol seen moving south to north across C Coy front. Centre platoon engaged with SAA. Enemy scattered and set off mines. MMGs engaged and patrol withdrew down gully 009299.

0525 CSM Davidson (B Coy) engaged Tamagnin with Piat HE at high angle.

0630 C Coy patrol returned. Lt PJC Trousdell reports having fired at two enemy near own FDLs.

D Coy patrol to Point 312 reported fresh diggings.

1807 D Coy patrol to 009298 placed. Schmeisser Machine Pistol found 009304.

2130 Coy 2 Innisks report 40 enemy missing from Casa Di Sillaro 016293 past Point 278 014294  towards Casa Di Sasso 007294.

2230 D Coy patrol (Sgt Eales) engaged enemy at 012301.

Initial surprise lost. Enemy scattered.

Captain JP Phelan MC admitted hospital.

Lt MER Pattinson promoted A/Capt.


4th December – 003301,

Major AJ Morris OBE MC admitted hospital.

Captain N Plymen promoted A/Major.

Lt SD McIlhinney promoted A/Captain.

Our men had to replace the muleteers who, with the mules, are exhausted.


5th December – 003301.

0010 Fighting Patrol (Lt C Pretorious engaged enemy patrol 011305. No casualties. Otherwise NTR.

1805 Lt Unwin made further sweep of area 009304, scene of patrol clash on 3rd and found stick grenade and P38 automatic.


6th December – 003301.

0515 Captain McKevitt’s patrol from Point 312 013307 reports enemy movement and conversation area Tamagnin 013303 about 2400 hrs.

0600 Standing Patrol from 010802 report being fired on by MG at 1830 hrs.

0800 2 Innisks report 1 platoon of left hand coy overrun.

0820 C Coy (Major CR Titterton) report having fired with SA and 2 mortars and MMGs at enemy attacking 2 Innisks and hearing screams as result/ Casualties from 2 Innisks confirmed at least 3 enemy casualties caused by our MMGs,

0845 Patrol of 1 officer and 6 sent to 008299 in effort to cut off enemy.

0925 2 Innisks report situation restored.

0935 Patrol returned. No contact made.

2350 Red verey light on their front B Coy (A/Maj Plymen) stand to.


7th December – 003301.

0100 B Coy stand down. All quiet.

2000 Relieved by 2 LIR. Bttn move by MT to Castro San Martino


8th December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Much bathing and laundering. River not fordable today.


9th December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Conference. Coy Commanders’ leave party to Florence.


10th December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Conference. Coy Commander’s discuss arrangements for expected move and battle.


11th December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

0730 Early am orders to move up. CO, IO and Captain RSV Howard (D Coy) to Brigade. All plans back 24 hours.


12th December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Recce to bttn area. Visibility limited by fog. Major JS Clarke MC admitted to hospital.

Captain RSV Howard promoted A/Major.


13th December – 003301.

1920 Relieved 2 LIR complete. Relief made


14th December – 003301.

0515 B Coy OP reports movement area 013313.

1600 C Coy (Major CR Titterton) report one 75 mm shell fell short in area. No casualties our MMG destroyed.

2220 Another short into C Coy area.


15th December – 003301.

2300 Recce patrol (Lt R Unwin and including Sgt Cross DCM) reported that they reached the spot about 25 yards from Tamagnin 013313, encountering no mines, no wire, no sentries but heard voices inside the buildings..


16th December – 003301.

0225 Patrol to 16 got off course and wound up under cliffs east of Tamagnin approximately at 013302 where occupied enemy weapon slits were located.

2306 D Coy forward platoon (Lt AJF Parish) reports lowest bullets in concentration from MMGs hitting saddle position of his platoon at 004301.


17th December – 003301.

0030 B Coy (A/Maj W Plymen) report completion of pits for 2” Mortars on Black Ridge 011307.

1830 B Coy 2” Mortars fired from pits at 011307 put sixty bombs on ridge east of Tamagnin area 016302. Mortar team then withdrew to coy position. Schmeisser fire and grenades observed in area vacated about ½ hour later. Lt JPF Beamish rejoined bttn from hospital.


18th December – 003301.

0750 C Coy (Major CR Titterton) engaged three enemy 250 degrees to their front with forty rounds of 2”Mortar HE.

2150 D Coy (A/Major RSV Howard assaulted Tamagnin 013303. Smaller building cleared and the wall of the main house reached in the face of heavy HE and Schmeisser fire and showers of grenades from upper windows and slits.Assault was covered by fire platoon (Lt AJF Parish) with Brens, TSMGs and Piat engaging enemy sources of fire. All the while, Lt Parish conducting the fire and passing a running commentary over the phone to command post. Area immediately north of house was booby trapped and wired, causing casualties. Final assault by 2 platoons was prevented by an immediate counter attack from three sides, which came down from Antrim Ridge 014302 and ridge 011303.

2210 3” Mortar DF called for and, still by covered fire platoon, withdrew in good order. Enemy casualties estimated six houses. Own: Major RSV Howard and 9 ORs wounded. All evacuated, a good job by the stretcher bearers. Signals did a good job, even retrieving on the next day the assault cable laid for the show.


19th December – 003301.

0130 Enemy mortar stonk area 005299 killed Lt AJF Parish and 2 ORs and wounded Lt Col JH Horsfall DSO MC and CSM payne DCM.

1555 Three enemy at Tamagnin 013303 engaged by 3” Mortars.

Captain AJ Wilton joined bttn from ICRU


20th December – 003301.

0540 Patrol from 0133307 reports singing in area 019303.

1640 B Coy (A/Maj N Plymen) reports one short 25 pounder in their area during a shoot over Cerere.

1845 Standing Patrol 008300 report lights on the Anzzelara Ridge area 021301.

Lt Col MJF Palmer assumed command of the bttn.


21st December – 003301.

0325 3” Mortar report 2 shells short in their area.

0350 B Coy (Major N Plymen) reports shell short in coy area.

1425 D Coy (Captain AJ Wilton) report short shell, area 004300.

Major JS Clarke MC rejoined from hospital. Lt HR Carver joined from hospital.


22nd December – 003301.

0940 RAF gave demonstration of accurate dive bombing scoring hits on Cereto 012310 and Anzellara 023307.

Air OP ranged Medium Artillery on Tamagnin 013303.

Lts RRJ Bartlett, DR Dorney and HC Quail joined bttn.


23rd December – 003301.

1805 4.2” Mortar fired on Tamagnin and started a small fire, which quickly went out.


24th December – 003301.

NTR. Captain JP Phelan MC rejoined from hospital.


25th December – 003301.

Quiet policy adopted on Corps level, not a shot fired on either side. Normal protective patrols maintained.

A/Captain McIlhinney relinquished T/Capt on becoming surplus to WE.


26th December – 003301.

Relieved by 2 LIR and moved by march route and MT to Castro San Martino.


27th/28th December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Baths and great preparations for Christmas dinner.


29th December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Celebrated Christmas.


30th December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

NTR.


31st December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Advance party CO, IO, SO, Pioneer Officer forward to 000286 to prepare to take over from 2 Innisks.