2 LIR – July 1943

1 July

0530 Battalion HQ HQ Company and Support Company on route march approx 10 miles

Remainder of Companies on Company Training.

1430 General Montgomery lectures all officers of the Division.

1730 Captain Robb lectures to the whole Battalion on Prisoners of War

2 July

Company Training.

3 July

Exercise “Tryout” commenced. Troops taking part 38 Brigade. 38 Brigade Sp Group as enemy.

4 July

Exercise “Tryout” ended at 0700 hrs. Battalion returned to Camp.

Lt-Col Scott gave farewell lecture to the Battalion.

5 July

Brigadier Scott left to take up new command Major APK O’Connor assumed command of Battalion. 12 officers and 8 Senior NCOs attend special lecture by Captain Robb on “Escapes as Prisoner of War. Brigadier TPD Scott (RIrF) posted to 12 Infantry Brigade. W/Lieutenant DGF Kirkham (RUR) posted to Number 1 I RTD.

Divisional exercise “Marathon” commenced. Battalion march approx 20 miles to Staging Area (Grombalia)

7 July

Exercise “Marathon” continues. Battalion did attack during the morning rested during the heat of the afternoon and marched approx 25 miles back to camp during the hours of darkness.

8 July

0530 Battalion returned to camp from Exercise “Marathon” Standing Orders for Sousse received.

9 July

Special Order of the Day by Lieutenant General CW Allfrey DSO MS on 78 Division being transferred to 8th Army. Preparations for move to new Area.

10 July

Battalion moves to Sousse. Battalion HQ established 414511 (sheet 56 I/50000 Tunisia). News received of invasion of Sicily by American, British and Canadian forces.

11 July

E Company, 16 and 18 Platoon of the Battalion specially commended by the Brigadier on their performance during Exercise “Marathon” they marched 53 miles in just under 36 hours without a single casualty.

12 July

Company Training.

13 July

Lieutenant-Colonel H Rogers (1 RIrF) assumes command of the Battalion.

T/Major H Rogers (1 RIrF) joined the Battalion, and assumes command wef same date.

14 July

Battalion Signal Exercise under direction of Intelligence Officer to practice officers and Warrant Officers in Signal procedure. Officers attend demonstration of night shoot for guiding purposes by 25 pounders.

15 July

Company training and Field Firing as per programme of work.

16 July

Brigadier N Russell MC commander 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade lectured Battalion on Sicily and events to date.

17 July

Company training.

18 July

1730 Battalion moves to new area nearer the coast.

2000 Battalion HQ established at 632478 (Sheet 57 Tunisia I/50000)

19 July

Battalion Training Programme issued. Company training.

20 July

Company training.

21 July

Exercise “Blister” commenced. Battalion marched during the night to concentration area.

22 July

Exercise “Blister” Battalion attacked during the early hours of the morning and returned back to camp by transport during the remainder of the morning and evening.

2300 Battalion returns to camp.

23 July

Battalion standing by for move to Sicily

24 July

Embarkation Serials sorted out in the Battalion IO and Intelligence Sergeant report to Brigade. Brigade Recce Group embark on LST at 1800 hrs.

25 July

0800 Brigade Recce Group sailed for Sicily.

26 July

1800 Battalion left camp and marched to docks at Sousse.

2000 Battalion embarked on LST and LSIs.

2100 Convoy formed up off shore.

27 July

0400 Convoy sailed for Sicily and started a very rough passage to Ochrina Bay.

28 July

1100 Battalion landed at Bay of Ochrina – about 10 miles South of Syracuse and marched from beach to Divisional concentration areas.

1630 Battalion left by transport via Floridia, Palazzolo, Buccheri, Vizzini and Mineo. Battalion bivouaced for night 2 miles north of Mineo.

29 July

0800 Battalion continued by transport to Albospino, west of Raddusa, lie up in assembly area.

1000 “O” Group recce forward areas.

2300 “S” Company arrived in assembly area from Ochrina Bay.

30 July

Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer recce forward areas. Battalion warned to move.

2000 Battalion moves into hills and bivouacked in area 5 ½ miles North of Albospino

31 July

0900 6 MEs flew over Battalion area and dropped bombs near Brigade. Probably looking for tanks which were in the area yesterday.

1800 Battalion moves on through hills to Misterbianco, overlooking Catenanuova which was captured yesterday by 3rd Canadian Brigade.