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 1945

1st/2nd May – 218938.

Nothing to Report.

3rd May – 218938.

CO spoke to the bttn congratulating them on their recent performance and accomplishments and giving a preview of our future role in Austria.

4th May – 218938.

0900 Advance party to Divisional Concentration area 9608.

Bttn Move Order No 16.

5th May –218938.

Bttn moved as per Movement Order 16. Bad traffic jam as far as Adige River. 11 Brigade provided billets in staging area at Terviso.

6th May –3318.

Bttn continued move to allotted area, 3 villages about Colloredo.

7th May – 3318.

Establish 5 road check points to control traffic. Orders for dispersal of enemy personnel.

8th May – 3318.

0900 Bttn moved to Cividale 555225. CO and IO to D Coy (Major J Wilton) posts at Caporetto 670398 to arrange relief by 2 LIR.

Bttn Pipe Band played retreat in public square.

9th May – 3318.

Nothing to Report.

10th May.

Bttn move to staging area east of Klagenfurt Austria area 2982 where a certain amount of enemy military and civilian transport was required.

11th May – Yugoslavia 623974.

Bttn move to Wolfsberg then return to St Andre. D Coy (Major Wilton) undertakes to locate and guard train from St Andre south to Jugoslav border. C Coy (Major Howard) established at PoW camp at Framre 620948. B Coy (Major Phelan MC) dispatched to deal with SS troops area Etendorf 7186.  On arrival at 699975, Major Phelan MC sent one platoon onto Lavamund 715840 to assist some on PoWs in keeping order there. With the other two platoons, he took over 3 kilometres of armoured trains, 130 German civilians and 1,200 SS troops. These, he disarmed and transported to PoW to C Coy. While this was being done, Brigadier TPD Scott DSO and Colonel Murphy Palmer, with the assistance of NZ and Australian PoWs, persuaded the Cossacks at Lavamund to accept disarmament and surrender and arranged for them to come in tomorrow.

12th May – ST ANDRE 623974.

Complications arose when the Bulgars took to slit trenches and said they had been ordered not to allow the Cossacks past. Lt Lafferrty deployed his platoon and prepared to engage the Bulgarian Army while the matter was being discussed with the Bulgarian General. He is being assured the Cossacks were disarmed and that the arms would be turned over to him and, not wanting any trouble with the British anyway, decided to call off his dogs. So, at about 0730, the head of the column appeared on the bridge crossing the Drau. 4.000 Cossacks and 3.000 horses, led by a mounted NZ Sergeant (ex PoW) and three misc officers and, escorted by 11 other ex PoW. Pickets were placed at strategic points along the point and, in spite of the tension at the start, the Cossacks were not a little nervous, all arrived at 6 Corps camp without incident.

In the afternoon, four 15 cwt loads of SA and Mortar Bombers were recovered from the SS dumps and transported to C Coy. A certain amount of wireless and telephone equipment was acquired by the bttn from the Armoured trains at this time.

During the afternoon, too, S Coy carrier patrols were directing enemy columns to C Coy’s camp in increasing streams. In the last evening, they detained one Bulgarian officer and 2 ORs drunk and causing a disturbance.

D Coy (Major AJ Wilton), having made its HQ in the Monastery at St Paul 6690, is moving the trains north in an effort to clear the line to the Jugoslav border.

13th May – ST ANDRE 623974.

CO and IO to Lavamund to make an appointment for CCRA 5 Corps with Bulgarian Corps Commander. When the meeting took place, the Bulgarian Army Commander appeared. At Lavamund, we found our road block: a tank, a staghound and a section of B Coy, refusing passage to a bttn of Yugoslavs. Authority in this action was checked and confirmed. B Coy (Major Phelan) less one platoon doing a difficult job of keeping order amid threat (and acts) of rape and loot.

Shortly before noon, it became apparent that the German Officers and NCOs of the Cossack must be re-armed to maintain control of their men. This was done and 50 MPs being issued. There is a different flow of Bulgars towards Lavamund from the west.

14th May – ST ANDRE 623974.

Bulgar and Yugoslavs concentrating south of Lavamund to halt mass migration of Croats, who are endeavouring to place themselves in British custody. This concentration led to the removal of aids from two hospital trains just to the south of the Yugoslav border.The recuperating casualties immediately broke the trains into sections and man handled them over the border to spot north of Lavamund where we persuaded them with rations and much supplies from the SS Armoured Trains.

German infantry and cavalry still passing into 6 Corps Camp.

15th May – ST ANDRE 623974.

New change in policy.  Brigade OP Instruction No 6.

SS and Cossacks moved in groups to respective assembly areas, the Cossacks moving in a body at 1330 hrs.

Bulgarian Army were given permission to use road north west from Lavamund to St Paul to reach their proper area. We were instructed to give them every assistance and this we did, even to the extent of having a Sherman tank tow each Bulgarian vehicle up the hill from Lavamund

16th May – ST ANDRE 623974.

With an enemy fatigue party, moved two 3 trains of arms from area SS trains to 6 Coy dump. Two hospital trains moved to Wolfsberg.

Instruction received on disposal of PoW and surrendered personnel. Plans now being made for 2 LIR to relieve our B Coy at Lavamund.

17th May – TARVISIO 6768.

Complete change of plan. B Coy relieved by the Hampshires of 138 Division of 46 Division. We moved today to Tarvisio, where we were not expected to arrive until tomorrow.

18th May – TARVISIO 6768.

Brigadier McKechnie of 138 Brigade, the CO and IO look over the ground from defence and blockade point of view. Bttn settled in several good farms.

19th May – TARVISIO 6768.

Move again tomorrow. Advance parties at 0700. Main body at 1130.

20th May – LATSCHACK 9474.

Bttn moved into billets about area of Faaker See, very cramped. Purpose to secure Austro-Yugoslav frontier. Round up PoW and surrendered personnel.

21st May – LATSCHACK 9474.

CO visited all coys and spoke to troops, complementing them on their bearing and turn out. Mortar platoon moved to summer quarters on the lake. B Coy moved to Mallestig easing the situation in the hut camp.. conditions were bad, crowded,  no water, no light.

22nd May – LATSCHACK. 9474.

Nothing to Report.

23rd May– LATSCHACK 9474.

A Coy (Major L Manson) to Arnoldstein 7772 to relieve RWK and assumed control of both roads, one to Italy with a post at Thorl 7272 and one to Yugoslavia with a post at 8170. Also took over ground of a German hospital and dump at 8174. ‘I’ Section mounted patrol to check passes over mountains to Yugoslavia.

24th May – LATSCHACK 9474.

Jeep patrol to Alt Finkenstein 9272 and Outschena 9471 found no pass for vehicles. Similar patrol to Rosenbach 0270 found only route to be a railway tunnel.

25th May – LATSCHACK 9474.

Coy Commanders’ Conference. Coys allotted area to patrol, search and control  Officers’ Mess celebrated the 21st anniversary of the Military Service of Captain E Maginess. It was no ordinary party.

26th May – LATSCHACK 9474.

Investigated 50 Diesel-Electric Locomotives at 9874 and made report to brigade. Checked with AMG on the appearance of Austrian Police recruits in bttn area.

27th May – EGG AM SEE 9577.

Bttn HQ and HQ Coy move to Egg Am See. After with great difficulty having moved the Corps Engineers out of our billets. D Coy moved into Latschack, further relieving the congestion in S Coy’s Hut Camp.

S Coy provided a 20 man Guard of Honour under Lt Baycock, which paraded with the Pipe Band to provide the ceremonial and music as the Corps Commander entertained a Russian Corps Commander to lunch.

28th May – EGG AM SEE 9572.

Coy patrols enforce civil curfews and round up PoWs and surrendered personnel.

29th May – EGG AM SEE 9572.

Civilian population in a flap as continued rounding up Nazis, PoWs and surrendered personnel. They are streaming in to have their identity cards ok-ed, which gives an excellent opportunity to pick up some of the ones we want.

30th May – EGG AM SEE 9572.

Civilian report centre doing a roaring trade. FSS release one suspected Gestapo and one Nazi. PoW released personnel also rather confusing the situation.

31st May – EGG AM SEE 9572.

Partisans providing information on suspected Party and SS personnel.