2 LIR – October 1943

October saw the Irish Brigade in action on the Adriatic front. Commandos and special forces had successfully landed in the port of Termoli in the early hours of 3 October, taking the German garrison by surprise and allowing the town to be captured by elements of the 8th Army. The 2nd Battalion with the Irish Brigade embarked on troop landing carriers (TLCs), amphibious landing craft, in Barletta on the morning of 5 October and taken to Termoli by sea. Disembarkation took place at 130am the following morning and the brigade had taken up defensive positions around the north of the town by 3am. A determined German counterattack supported by tanks began at 7am but was repulsed. The brigade advanced forward quickly and took up fresh positions at the end of 6 October which were overlooked by the village of Petacciato, which is set on an east-west ridge. The brigade took Petacciato with few casualties on 18 October. It crossed the River Trigno on 23 October. The month ends with the brigade’s initial and unsuccessful attempt to capture San Salvo on the night of 27/28 October. The battalion suffers the loss of its second-in-command Major A P K O’Connor on the morning of 28 October. 

1 October

One Sergeant and 30 other ranks to perform Route Piquet party to keep roads clear of civilian traffic on main Foggia-Barletta road.

Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer report to Brigade HQ for conference on pending move.

2 October

One Sergeant and 30 other ranks on Route Piquet as for 1st. 1 Sergeant and 30 other ranks traffic control on Andria-Barletta road.

0730 Battalion Route March. Approx 17 miles (78 Div order)

1030 Brigade orders motor transport to be prepared to move from 1200 hrs.

1600 Motor transport left Battalion area by road to area Torremaggiore (30/0743)

3 October

Adjutant recced Barletta for billets.

1500 Battalion marched to factory in Barletta. Battalion HQ established Factory (37/9204)

4 October

Battalion allowed into Barletta from 0830-1200 hrs. Brigadier in Battalion area. Adjutant visited docks re embarkation.

1700 Lieutenant F Lyness & Company representatives transported Battalion stores to TLCs

W/Lieutenant JH Barker admitted hospital.

5 October

0710 Battalion marched to Barletta docks & embarked on TLCs. Convoy sailed at 1000 hrs..

1030 Battalion Rear party (1 jeep & 2 M/Cs) reported to Brigade HQ left to join remainder at Battalion transport on road south of Serracapriola (30/9655)

Motor transport halted at 2000hrs at 30/9559. Orders for all ‘F’ vehicles ready to move at 0100 hrs 6th instead.

6 October

0130 Battalion disembarked at Termoli (8378). Moderate enemy shelling of harbour and docks during disembarkation. Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer recced Battalion positions.

0130 ‘F’ vehicles left their harbour area and proceeded by road to Termoli. Arrived without incident 0600 hrs.

0230 Battalion HQ Advance Party and E Company arrived in town of Termoli & took up positions. Battalion HQ established in main street.

0300 Battalion “O” Group on recce. F Company disembarked completely. Remainder of Battalion disembarked at 30 minute intervals and went straight to their allotted positions. E Company in area of Station. F, G & H Companies in the town.

0700 German attack on Termoli. First thrust against 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers (2  LF) in positions north of the town. Enemy shell the town. Battalion under temporary command of 11 Brigade.

1000 Enemy repulsed. Battalion back under command of 38th (Irish) Inf Brigade.

2 Companies under orders to proceed to 2/LF should they require them.

1015 6 Innisks & 1 RIrF attack through 2/LF positions.

They encounter slight opposition and advance between 3 to 4 miles. 2/LIR in reserve.

1400 Battalion attack on two company front. H Company on right. E Company left. Objectives, Cemetery and high ground to the West. These were taken in 30 minutes.

1530 Battalion HQ moved forward to the Railway Station. G Company moved forward as defence Company on E Company’s left rear. Battalion positions were consolidated & preparations for German counter/attack were made. F Company moved forward over Rly. S Company to Rly Stn.

A/Major BH Westcott wounded in action. Admitted to hospital.

Captain Rev H Graydon granted award of MC.

7 October

A/Lieutenant Col H Rogers granted temporary rank of Lieutenant/Colonel.

W/Lieutenant MOW Clarke MC admitted to hospital

0745 Intelligence observation post established 155/803780 with E Company HQ.

1000 G Company take 5 prisoners of war (2 Wounded) hiding near their positions.

1030 Brigadier at Battalion HQ.

1230 Battalion HQ moves forward to Farm 155/810770.

1530 Spasmodic enemy shelling of area 155/800765.

Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer establish command post in E Company area.

8 October

0100 Battle Patrol (SS Pl) of 7 other ranks to make contact (if possible) with the enemy. Patrol reached area 155/762787. No contact made.

0545 Commanding Officer and RA (Royal Artillery) Officer to Command Post.

1000 Patrol of SS Platoon commanded by HND Seymour crossed the River Sinacre to make contact with enemy. Patrol searched houses along Rly (Railway) line running NW, nothing was found. Information from civilians say that German troops were in the vicinity, dressed in civilian clothes. Patrol found two suspects, killed them and documents revealed that one belonged to the 1 Battalion/64 Panzer Grenadier Regiment and the other to the second Battalion of the same regiment.

1000 Patrol of three men sent to Bridge (155/789771).

1730 Standing Patrol of 1 Platoon (G Company) established in area of bridge to prevent enemy attempts to destroy it.

W/Lieutenant TWH Wilson rejoined the Battalion from hospital.

T/Capt K Neely & W/Capt LJ Samuels, RAMC, Mentioned in Despatches.

A/CSM J Hamilton & A/Sergeant E Mayo awarded the MM.

The following other ranks were Mentioned in Despatches:

W/CQMS C Jones, A/Sergeant H Donaghy, MM, W/Cpl J Holden, W/Cpl J Walsh, PLC H Butler, Rfn J Dowding, Rfn P Salmon.

The following deceased other ranks were Mentioned in Despatches:

Cpl J Hamilton, Lance Corporal A Doherty, Lance Corporal F McDonald, Rfn R Linihan. 

9 October

0400 Patrol of 25 other ranks commanded by Lieutenant White went forward to make contact. No Contact was made with the enemy infantry. The Patrol was fired on by heavy guns and mortars from areas 7079 & 7280.

0900 Commanding Officer and IO (Intelligence Officer) tour Company areas. Divisional Commander in Battalion area.

Intermittent enemy shelling of G Company area during the day.

Standing Patrol as for the 8th.

10 October

Am Intermittent enemy shelling of area from unobserved positions.

Am Enemy fighter-bombers attack area of Termoli Harbour.

1500 CO’s “O” Group.

1530 Corps Commander and Divisional Commander in Battalion area.

1700 Brigadier in Battalion area and visits Battalion HQ.

1900 H Company withdrawn into Battalion reserve. Carrier Platoon and MMG Pl; take over positions. F Company from reserve to area 155/791758.

1930 Patrol ‘June’ 8 other ranks commanded by Lieutenant O’Connor went forward to investigate enemy machine gun posts at road junction 155/722790. Patrol stated that they were stalked by enemy patrol in area 155/75885 & reached no further than 753784.

Standing Patrol at bridge 789771 to be replaced by a section to stay in the area all day. A Platoon to take up position nightly north of the road.

11 October

Patrol ‘Black’ locate enemy guns reported in areas 7576 & 7876 and if possible to shoot them up.

0900 Commanding Officer & Intelligence Officer visited Company areas.

0945 Brigadier at Battalion HQ.

1345 Intelligence Officer visits Company areas re defence plans.

1630 8 civilians crossed from enemy lines were interrogated. Passed back to Brigade.

1900 Patrol ‘Green’ of 15 other ranks commanded by Lieutenant Seymour set out to ambush 5 Germans reported to be meeting Italian Fascist at Farm 761781. Patrol returned at 0515/12th. No enemy turned up. Owner of Farm brought back for interrogation said that Germans had used his Farm and had been in the locality recently. They had cleared out several days previously.

British & Indian Officers and NCOs from the 8th Indian Division attached to the Battalion. They are sent out to companies for training.

12 October

0300 Patrol ‘Destruction’ one Platoon commanded by Lieutenant Bird, To patrol high ground in front of Battalion, to dominate it and capture or kill any enemy that appear.

0500 Commanding Officer visited Company areas.

0930 2/ic & Lieutenant Leigh (Essex Regiment) visited Company areas.

T/Captain AD Woods MC & 2/Lieutenant Marmorstein posted to the Battalion.

W/Lieutenant CWL Bird admitted to hospital.

1800 Patrol ‘Snoop’ of 10 other ranks commanded by Sergeant Donaghy. MM To find guns reported in areas 7577 7477. To locate them accurately with view of destroying them later.

1900 Patrol ‘Destruction’ returned. Report of Patrol: at 0630 while lying up in area Farm 773783 A German Patrol of 6 men approached from the South. Ambush was laid but they turned NW in dead ground about 600 yards short of Farm. A section was sent off in pursuit but the Germans moved quickly and contact was lost in wooded area. Farms in area were searched. Owner of Farm 771781 said 7 Germans visited his Farm at 1330.

Apart from one enemy Air Burst shell in area 796763, there was no other enemy artillery activity during past 24 hours.

13 October

0230 Patrol ‘Observation’ of 20 other ranks commanded by Lieutenant Lyness. To establish forward observation post in order to study closely the village of Petacciato.

0600 Patrol ‘Snoop’ returned./information obtained’ At 0200 hrs Diesel Truck approached down road from Petacciato. It was engaged in area 755780. one occupant believed wounded.

1130 Brigadier accompanies by a Brigadier from 8th Indian Division had conference with Officers Commanding 1/RIrF, 2/LIR, 6/Innisks.

1430 Commanding Officer visits Company areas.

1800 Patrol ‘Observation’ returned. Report of ‘Observation’ German Patrol in area 7578 morning of 12th German truck abandoned at 757780. Presumably the one fired upon by Patrol ‘Snoop’. Observation Post at 745790. Six hours at observation on Petacciato. Light anti-aircraft fire from town. Movement in woods forward of town & at 712810. Old German OP at Farm 745785. Red Shoulder Strap found.

1900 Patrol ‘Blood’ of 3 Other Ranks commanded by Sergeant Johnson. To find out if Petacciato was still occupied.

Lieutenant Lyness to Brigade to make verbal report on ‘Observation’.

No enemy activity in the Battalion area during the last 24 hours 

14 October

0300 Patrol ‘Black’ of one Platoon commanded by Major Rowlette. To dominate ground in area Ring Contour 755787 and make fwd observation.

0600 Patrol ‘Blood’ returned. Report road junction 723790 clear. Patrol lay up in wood 713800. At 2345 heard heavy Transport approaching town from north. At 0115 German Patrol of 22 passed within 40 yards of ‘Blood’ in NE direction towards the sea. They were moving in file at 8 yds interval. ‘Blood moved to 710799. Nothing heard.

0800 CO to 6 Innisks.

1050 Patrol ‘Black’ some mortar bombs landed on the slopes fwd of the Convent and to its left. This was observed by E Company also.

1100 ‘Black’ reports more mortar bombs near White Farm 734794.

1200 Arty DF Ack changed to SOS Ack. 1 Sec of Sappers arrive at F Company to go out with Patrol ‘Cover’.

1400 Capt Woods MC & Lieutenant Lyness to Brigade for lecture re German Army.

1500 Patrol ‘Sweat’ of 12 Other Ranks commanded by Lieutenant Seymour accompanied by an Italian Liaison Officer. To penetrate into Petacciato to find out enemy strength and if possible make him disclose his disposition. Also to take a prisoner.

1615 Patrols ‘Black & Sweat’ meet. ‘Black’ returning.

1900 Patrol ‘Cover’ of 1 Platoon F Company to cover Sappers clearing road of mines on road to Petacciato.

2000 Patrol ‘Black’ returned at 2000 hrs. Reports that two OPs were posted at OP Farm 754787 and Road House 745785. 0810 hrs two British fighters flew over Petacciato, there was no enemy A/A fire. During the day the enemy was ranging with mortars on areas road 7180 and 7278. Multiple Mortar firing from behind Petacciato on 733797. Enemy shelled areas 733797 & Red House. No movement observed.

Brigade authorise rum issue for all ranks tonight.

15 October

0130 Patrol ‘Cover’ returned. Sappers certified that road & verges clear of mines as far as 748784.

0300 Patrol ‘Pride’ of 2 Secs commanded by Capt Fitzgerald, plus 1 RA Officer to White Farm 750790. To dominate ground fwd to Petacciato and fight any enemy patrols. If possible obtain an identification.

0600 Patrol ‘Sweat’ returned. Report the enemy still hold Petacciato and have established a series of sentry posts just West of 72 Grid. Two were contacted at 713794 & 715802.

Report of Patrol ‘Sweat’. Road junction 723790 clear. Heard German voices in new village & a lot of movement including vehicles. Patrol preparing to attack bumped a sentry post on Sunken Track 713794. Sentry challenged in German and English. He ran off up road & Patrol fired on it. Patrol took up defensive positions on small ridge 200 yds South of Pt 235/7179 & fired in the direction of the enemy. This did not draw his fire.

0900 CO to Brigade for conference.

1000 Patrol ‘Pride’ in area of Oblong Farm 772787. In W/T/ contact with E Company.

1200 Brigadier & BM at Battalion HQ.

Ensa Cinema Show in Termoli. Battalion allotment 100 seats. Artillery Air OP up and down coast tonight. Companies informed.

1500 Patrol ‘Shephard’ of 15 Other Ranks commanded by Lieutenant O’Connor. To lie up for enemy relief party seen by Patrol ‘Blood’ in area 713800 between 2345 & 0030 hrs. Also to find out as much as possible of enemy dispositions in Petacciato. Obtain an identification.

Seven Other Ranks joined the Battalion from 7th Battalion RUR (Royal Ulster Rifles)

1940 Patrol ‘Pride’ returned. Deductions made. Enemy registering possible forming up areas with mortars.

Report of ‘Pride’ no movement between Pt 103/756788 & Petacciato. One German seen in area of Station de Montenero at 0800.

2000 Patrol ‘Cover 2’ briefed for 1900 hrs is cancelled owing to non arrival of Sappers.

16 October

During the morning, the enemy mortared area Pt 150/732787. From Pt 150 the ground falls away to the sea. There is little cover fwd until the slope is reached on the right of Petacciato.

0300 Patrol ‘John’ of 1 Platoon commanded by Capt St Maur Sheil accompanied by 2 officers of the RTR. To establish a base at O P Fm 750790 and dominate ground to Petacciato and fight enemy patrols.

0650 One enemy plane over Termoli. No bombs dropped.

0700 Patrol ‘Shephards’ return. (see sheet 13 for report). Report of Shepards. Met Patrol ‘Pride’ at OP Fm at 1730 hrs. Moved to area 727794 to lie up for enemy. Lay up from 2345 to 0300 hrs. Moved fwd West of main rd to 720793, then right along secondary rd to 710797. At 0420 hrs man ran out of house below them at 713798. Patrol moved through thick undergrowth to attack house. About 25 men brought from Petacciato by man engaged ‘Pride’ with ….

0830 CO holds “O” Group at Battalion HQ.

0900 CO reports to Brigade HQ for conference.

1230 Three German POW captured by Patrol ‘John’ arrive at Battalion HQ. Identified as 1 Battalion Panzer Grenadier Regt.

1400 CO accompanied by OCs F, G & H Companies on recce.

1500 Patrol ‘Raider’ of 8 Other Ranks commanded by Lieutenant Seymour. To locate MMGs reported west of Tri Petacciato and Stn De Montenero. To bring back an identification. Patrol contacted ‘John’ at O P Fm 749787 as previously arranged.

1700 CO at Brigade HQ.

1900 Patrol ‘John’ returns. (see sheet 14 for report). Report of Patrol ‘John’ 3 prisoners of war taken at Road Fm 748784 at 1000 hrs. Movement seen in tower in Petacciato. Civilians report/3-4 gun positions near road at 715802. 2 MGs in Petaciatto in houses. Enemy strength 100-200. MG posts in Tower. No tanks. They left few days previously. Enemy withdrawn to behind River Trigno, except for a few infantry & some guns in town.

1930 Patrol ‘Cover 2’ of 1 Platoon commanded by Capt Woods MC. To cover Sappers clearing road of mines as far fwd as Pt 150/731787.

17 October

0200 Patrol ‘Cover 2’ returns. Sappers cleared road of mines up to Pt 150. No enemy encountered or seen.

0215 Patrol ‘Raider’ returns. At 1830 hrs found Tre Petacciato unoccupied. Evidence suggest it was used as an OP (see sheet 14 for report) during the day and not as an MG post. The Railway House 50 yds further inland was empty. Advancing Patrol was challenged from Railway at 734804. Two Germans ran fwd one was shot in the stomach and the other also fell. The MG from the post was thrown into the sea. There was no identification in the area. Heavy MG fire on fixed lines was coming from area 721797 and also from re-entrant at 728800. The Patrol replied, while a quick search was made for the wounded man, they could not be found, and may have fallen over the embankment which was under continuous fire if any movement was made. Information confirms position of 1 Company/1 Battalion 64 Panzer Grenadier Regiment as given by prisoners.

0730 CO out on recce.

0845 An American pilot who had been shot down over Petacciato eight days previously and has been hiding in the village, escaped to our lines and reached Battalion HQ.

1000 Numerous civilians crossed over to our lines from Petacciato giving the impression of mass exodus. They were escorted to Bd HQ for interrogation.

German soldier of Dutch origin surrendered to Carrier Pl identified as belonging to 16 Recce Battalion.

1130 CO & 2/ic called to Brigade for conference.

1500 Patrol ‘Probe’ of 5 ORs commanded by Cpl McKnight.

Platoon locality reported to be in area 725800.

1930 Patrol ‘Screen’ of 1 Pl commanded by Captain Grannell. To protect Sappers sweeping road of mines up to Pt 150/733786.

2155 Patrol ‘Prejudice’ returns. Report of Patrol ‘Prejudice’.

1000hrs German Patrol of 7 men were seen. Two men were seen. Two men approached Road House. 748785. When fired on they took avoiding action and disappeared. At 1400 hrs Road House was shelled from area behind Petacciato. Patrol returned at 0045 hrs 18th. They lay up in area 731802 saw and heard nothing. 

18 October

0100 Patrol ‘Screen’ returns. REs clear road of mines up to Pt 150

0300 Standing Patrol of 1 Pl of E Company commanded by Sgt McNally. To secure ad protect road Termoli-Petacciato from 731787 to 741785.

CO’s “O” Group. Final instructions for an attack on Petacciato. Brigade to attack on a 2 Company front. F right and G left. E Company to move after dusk and secure positions astride road up to and including Pt 150/731788 and to protect Battalion Forming Up Point H Company in reserve, to move along side Battalion HQ.

1400 Battalion Intelligence Section and Battle Patrol leave area. Battalion HQ to go and mark Battalion FUP (Start Line).

1800 E Company move fwd.

1930 Battalion march to assembly area 755700. Order of march. F G H Battalion HQ. Route via road Termoli-Petacciato.

2100 E Company in position. 7 Pl 726786. 8 Pl 736786. 9 Pl & Company HQ. Route via road Termoli-Petacciato.

2200 Battalion FUP established on line 740786 south to 739700.

19 October

G Company move fwd to FUP F Company move fwd at 0045.

0115 H Company move fwd to area in rear of G Company. Battalion HQ at 756781.

0130 Zero Hour. F & G Companies advance towards Petacciato supported by Arty barrage. Company enter Old Town (Petacciato) 5 minutes after barrage lifts at approx 0230 hrs. G Company get held up by MG fire. Battalion supported by C Sqn 46 Royal Tank Regiment. H Company carrier blown up on mine at Road Junction 722797. Captain G Fitzgerald and 3 Other Ranks wounded. An Engineer’s truck was also blown up at this junction. And a tank of 46 RTR had a track blown off.

0500 Petacciato clear of enemy. E Company in New Town 711786.

0530 Battalion less Battalion HQ occupy Petacciato. F Company 712797. G Company 710795. E Company 713790. H Company 716794.

0630 Battalion HQ move to Farm 715793. Companies dig in and prepare for possible counter attack.

Enemy occasionally shell fwd slopes in front of Petacciato & Road Junction 722791.

The personnel in H Companies Carrier were the only casualties suffered by the Battalion in the attack on Petacciato.

1800 One Pl from 6 Innisks take up position on E Company’s left.

20 October

8th Army Comdr, Div & Brigade Comdrs visit in area. Battalion supply escort of one sec to accompany them to FUP.

1045 Heavy enemy Arty barrage on Petacciato lasting 10 minutes.

Section OP at F Company’s HQ in Town Hall report 8 guns firing on bearing 2908 Mag. Arty say guns are too far away for counter battery fire. No casualties.

18 ORs posted to Battalion from X 2 list.

T/Capt D H M Davies admitted to hospital.

Lieutenant F Lyness took over duties of Intelligence Officer.

21 October

T/Major G Phillips posted to Battalion and 22 ORs from 111 IRTD.

Brigade Comdr at Battalion HQ. W/Lieutenant HND Seymour admitted to hospital.

6 Innisks pass through Battalion lines during the early morning and est themselves on the Battalion’s left flank. Their Battalion HQ est at Pt 263/694766.

1930 German prisoner of war from 1/64 Panzer Grenadier Regiment. Evacuated to ADS.

Patrol of one Pl comd by Lieutenant White accompanied by Sappers. To ascertain if Bridge 6378 (over River Trigno) was mined. The Patrol had a sharp engagement with enemy in the vicinity of the bridge. Sappers found no charges or mines in the bridge area 

22 October

1400 CO and Company Comdrs on recce. ‘O’ Group at 1630 hrs.

H Company move fwd to area 648606 & establish position overlooking the River Trigno. 1 RIF from Termoli to Battalion area.

1800 1 RIrF advance down road Petacciato – San Salvo with the intention of establishing a bridgehead across River Trigno.

Several spans of the bridge 6379 were blown shortly before 1 RIrF reached the river.

1820 The Battalion, less H Company, move along road behind 1 RIrF.

2300 Enemy MG and mortar fire on area in front of the Battalion. Possibly against the 1 RIrF.

2330 Battalion established in positions – H Company 546606. E Company 655764. F Company 653790. G Company 658789. Battalion HQ 656790.

23 October

1 RIrF est bridgehead with two Companies (B & C Companies.). No serious opposition.

O815 Brigadier cancels Artry bombardment of Montenero 6473 and orders 56 Recce (under command of 38th (Irish) Infantry Brigade) to enter the town. Town found to be clear.

0930 H Company report enemy OP Farm 634610. Arty shell it.

1730 Battalion HQ move to position more central to Companies at 663790.

6 Innisks established at Montenero. 2 LF on our right flank.

24 October

0730 Brigadier at Battalion HQ. Lieutenant JD White & A/Captain JA St Maur Sheil admitted to hospital.

1000 CO’s “O” Group.

8th Indian Division on 78th Division left flank take Palata.

1930 IO & 2 in C recce River Trigno for Battalion forming up area and crossing. Returned at 0200 25th. No suitable places found.

2000 Battle Patrol commanded by Sgt Stalker crossed River Trigno to make contact with enemy, if any, in area 630830. Returned at 0300. No contact.

25 October

1630 Eight enemy fighter bombers (FW 190s) bomb and strafe Brigade fwd areas and Battalion areas. No damage or casualties.

1930 Intelligence Sgt 7 & OR recce River Trigno north of bridge for possible crossing place. Returned at 0130 hrs. Nil result.

1930 E Company move from present location to cross River Trigno and establish themselves in area of wood 634810 under command of 1 RIrF. Eventually, the Company did not cross the Trigno and lay up in area of 1 RIrF Battalion HQ.

26 October

0600 Brigadier’s “O” Group at Battalion HQ.

0800 Intelligence Sgt recce route from Battalion area to 1 RIrF thence down to the River Trigno. W/Lieutenant J A Hunter admitted to hospital.

1100 CO’s “O” Group. Battalion to move across the River. W/Lieutenant HND Seymour awarded the MC.

1200 Eight enemy fighters – Bombers (FW 190s) bomb and strafe same area as yesterday.

1730 E Company, Battle Patrol, Intelligence Section, F & G Companies cross River Trigno in that order. As there had been no rain the river was only about 1 foot deep.

1745 Battalion HQ move to area 649805.

1815 Heavy enemy shelling of River diversion and Bridge lasting for 5 minutes.

1830 All Companies but H Company across the river and established in defence positions. E Company 638811. F Company 633809. G Company 629805. Battle Patrol and Intelligence Section 633804. Companies dig in. Intermittent enemy shelling on Bridge, Diversion and Wood 5380 during the night. No casualties. The Enemy constantly shelved the Diversion while our vehicles were crossing the River but none were hit. One Carrier was bogged after crossing. It was not possible for all Company tpt to return across the River owing to the slippery nature of the ground & the coming light.

27 October

1000 CO visits Company areas.

1300 Intelligence Officer recces area for Battalion Start Line for tonight’s attack on San Salvo.

W/Lieutenant MOW Clarke MC joined the Battalion from hospital.

2130 Battalion HQ & H Company move from present location and cross River Trigno.

Battalion HQ established in area 633806. H Company in area 632807 a 2300 hrs.

F & G Companies move two to start line.

2200  Heavy and concentrated enemy shelling of FUP as the two Companies take up posn. There were no casualties.

2300 Tanks of the 46 RTR across the River in support of 38 Brigade.

2300 Units of 78th Division move fwd to attack San Salvo. 2/LF (11 Brigade) right. Object Stn di San Salvo 639848. 38 Brigade due left. Objective San Salvo. 2/LIR. Right 1/RIrF Left. The attack was supported by five regiments of Field Arty and 1 Bty of Mediums.

2300 Companies move fwd F right. G left.

2315 Heavy enemy MG fire from 2/LF front.

2330 The enemy lay down a heavy and concentrated DF from guns and 6” mortars.

2335 A wall of enemy machine gun fire on fixed lines causes Companies to get down.

28 October

0001 The fighting and progress of the battle is the very confused owing to the difficulty of communication caused by the heavy Arty and Mortar fire on the forward troops and Battalion HQ.

0001 Enemy plaster area of the wood, bridge and diversion with medium and Field Arty. The 6” Mortars fall just in front of the wood and on the line of the Companies approach. In the Battalion HQ it was impossible to differentiate between our own support Arty and the enemy guns firing on our fwd troops. The Arty and the fire on the enemy started on the 2/LF front and worked from right to left across the Battalion on to the 1 RIrF. At one period, the 1 RIrF reported 200 shells in their area in 6 minutes.

This fire was heavy and continuous until about 0330 hrs.

0400 E Company move fwd to defensive posn in Right Rear of F Company.

0615 Major CAF Gibbs comes in to report that F Company is in a gully between the wood and the enemy MG posns. He reports that 2/Lieutenant M C Marmorstein was probably killed when his Platoon, which he was leading was caught in the first enemy DF fire. Major G Phillips G Company Comdr was wounded in the head and taken to hospital.

1030 Major A P K O’Connor, 2/ic, killed by enemy shell, in the wood 6380 while supervising the supplies of the Battalion.

The Division attack was repulsed. 1 Company of 2/LF reached the Rly Stn and left one Pl there. When daylight came, this platoon was isolated. No news has come through about them 1/RIrF suffered rather heavily. The Battalion’s final casualty figures were 9 killed, 23 wounded and 20 missing. The majority belonged to F Company.

One Company of 6 Innisks in posn near Bridge.

Brigade’s “O” Group. 2/LIR and 6 Innisks to attack San Salvo tonight.

1700 5th Corps Comdr orders 1/RIF and 2/LIR to retire back across the River, leaving 6 Innisks on the North side to hold the bridgehead. Brigade attack cancelled. S Company remains across the River and the tanks in support of 6 Innisks.

Heavy rain during the day has made it almost impossible for transport to move.

The Battalion withdraws to defensive positions South of the Trigno.

H Company in their original position at Farm 648801. Battalion HQ 655796.

E Company 659800. F Company 653799. G Company 653795.

29 October

The Battalion dig in their new positions.

Occasional enemy shelling of the Diversion and Bridge. Enemy counter battery fire on guns just behind the Battalion area.

30 October

1100 Battalion warned for move across the River Trigno to relieve the 6 Innisks who are to be attached to 36 Brigade for the second attack on San Salvo.

1130 CO’s “O” Group. Companies to move across the river tonight.

1300 Confirmation of the Brigade move across the River Trigno.

1730 G Company cross river take up positions area 527795.

1800 E & H Companies cross the river. E Company 630159. H Company 633802.

1830 F Company and Battalion HQ move to positions xxxx

F Company 631790. Battalion HQ 634790.