Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 Innisks – December 1944

1st December – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

0730 Bttn embusses at Castro San Pietro.

0800 CO and O Group go forward to Calcano.

1130 CO arrives at Brigade HQ and goes forward to 2 LIR HQ.

1430 Bttn arrive at Calcano and have a meal.

1630 B Coy move to take over Lucia position.

1645 Bttn called forward from Calcano in following order: A and one platoon C Coy, MMG Mortars, remainder of C Coy and Bttn HQ.

1650 LIR report house at Point 150 attacked and taken by the enemy. One platoon counter attacked and took house.

1700 One man from B Coy wounded at San Clemente.

1830 Shelling of Bttn HQ area.

1900 Relief of Bttn HQ and C Coy completed.

1910 B Coy relief completed.

2115 A Coy relief completed. One man in Mortar Platoon killed by shellfire.

2140 A Coy report tank firing from Casa Nuova. Artillery fire concentration on area.

2200 CO visits C and A Coys.

2235 Shelling of area between mortars and Bttn HQ area.


2nd December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0115 One wounded in A Coy by shelling.

0215 Twelve light mortars bombs in B Coy area. No casualties.

0315 Shelling of area 002288. 6 heavy shells. No casualties.

0725 A Coy platoon on Point 156 relieved.

0730 Standing Patrol at Furniture House Point 207 report hearing movement to their immediate front. Patrol took no action. A Coy platoon NTR.

0900 C Coy send a section for protection of Bttn HQ,

1015 Due to smoke, visibility only 10-15 yards. Night positions manned.

1045 Visibility now approx 30 yards.

Intentions night 2/3 Dec: B Coy Recce Patrol to Point 278 014294, route Casa Lucca to Point 358 to Pt 278, strength 1 and 3. Out 1745 hrs, in on completion.

C Coy 1 and 6 to 015288, route to Point 156 then to 013289 to 015288 to obtain PoW. Out 2000 hrs, remains at 115188 until 2400 hrs, unless PoW taken earlier.

A Coy Ambush Patrol 1 NCO and 3 ORs to 017288 and continue to Casa Nuova 020288. Out 1800 hrs, in 0500 hrs unless PoW taken earlier. C Coy Standing Patrol 1 and 3 at 017290 to contact Patrol from B Coy at Il Sasso. Out last light, in first light.

1400 CO to B Coy. B Coy have 14 mortar bombs fall in area. No casualties. No bearing obtained.

1430 A Coy report tanks firing on Point 156, believed to be our own firing from 11 brigade area or from the tanks behind 38 Brigade HQ. Brigade requested to enquire and stop.

1845 Five heavy shells in Mortar Platoon area. No casualties. B Coy report that approx 55 mortar bombs landed in area between 1200 and 1630 hrs. Casualties 1 officer killed. I Corporal killed and 1 officer wounded, All of 1 Kensingtons.

Movement observed between Point 342 and Tamagnin between 1330 and 1430 hrs.

1905 Lt Giles Patrol returned with information that Point 358 was occupied by enemy. 3” mortars engaged.

1915 Fighting Patrol from B Coy to go out and remove enemy from Point 358.

1940 A Coy Patrol returned after having bumped the enemy at 017288. One casualty (slight) sustained. Enemy strength not known. Patrol ordered forward again as a Standing Patrol.

2020 B Coy report 8 enemy moving towards Il Sasso.

2035 Lt Giles and 1 section leave for Point 358 to destroy enemy there.

2045 Lt Murray reports on Furniture House and reports no sign of A Coy section there. A Coy and patrol to inspect the house.

2130 B Coy report grenades, bren fire and TSMG from area below Point 358 followed by bursts of Spandau fire from Point 358.

2145 More grenades and bren fire from nearer the summit of Point 358.

B Coy attacked by enemy mortars. Counter mortars engaged area “Salt” enemy mortars MZO and MCV.

2150 A Coy report patrol reached Furniture House and found their section occupying house ok. Lt Murray obviously went to the wrong house.

2155 Mortars lay down 5 minute stonk on Point 358.

2200 Heavy shells in area of Mortar Platoon.

2245 Lt Giles and patrol return. They reached 011298 and met enemy patrol coming forward. Patrol engaged and enemy also opened up with two MGs from Point 358. Patrol then withdrew. Patrol noticed a company of enemy moving on Point 342.

B Coy ordered to put out a listening post at 011298 and at 0300 hrs to send a section out to Point 358.

2300 B Coy report heavy mortar firing at A Coy at 2200 hrs on a bearing of 72 degrees. They also report the arrival of Sjt Markham with MMGs. Major Nixon says there have been 111 enemy mortar bombs in his area during the day.

2320 Brigade warned us that Beaufighters will be up tonight to intercept enemy night raiders.

2325 A Coy’s Patrol returns to Point 156 and reports seeing 8 enemy move round brow of hill above Casa Nuova into trees. Then two Spandaus opened up from this area firing out across the river. Visibility clear and movement difficult.  CO orders same patrol to go out again with same objective at 0300 hrs.

2345 B Coy report 10 Bosche milling about in the valley, forward of their right hand platoon. This platoon “stood to”.


3rd December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0040 Lt Murray and “Patrol” returns. Reports knoll at 015288 not occupied and could not find any sign of enemy positions.

Intentions 3 / 4  Dec –

  • 1 officer and 3 ORs to recce knoll 015289. Our first light. In 2359 hrs.
  • 1 officer and 6 ORs Ambush Patrol to 019287. Out 1715 hrs. In, first light unless PoW obtained earlier.
  • 1 officer and 6 ORs Ambush Patrol to 011297 and to be up and observe Point 358. Out last light, in first light.

0220 German Patrol got through lines and attacked B Coy HQ. Platoon Commander of platoon at Il Sasso, takes out patrol to find out what happened. Patrol left at 0212 hrs.

0223 B Coy Commander reports by wireless “Situation very confused”. German patrol just visited house and taken two prisoners from Battle Patrol, from within 20 yards of HQ, Enemy patrol approached from left and got very close before being noticed.

0245 B Coy line through. Major Nixon reports on Patrol incident. Patrol approached from along track at rear of Cassa di Lucca, was halted and a voice in English answered it was alright. Own troops opened up and a short battle ensued. Enemy moved off towards RIrF left coy at 005298, where they were engaged by RIrF. On checking personnel, Battle Patrol report two men are missing, believed PoW. L/Cpl McNichol and Fusilier Miller.

0525 Sitrep from C Coy. NTR.

0600 A Coy patrol forward of Point 156 returned with NTR.

0645 B Coy patrol returns and reports Point 358 occupied. Two MGs on this point firing on fixed lines towards Ripiano.

0925 A Coy send listening post to gully at 017288, as smoke has caused limited visibility.

1015 The CO pays a visit to A Coy and observed a man digging on Point 358.

1600 B Coy HQ again heavily mortared. CMO fired Salt.

1850 B Coy’s patrol in position.

1900 Five heavy shells fell near Mortar Platoon area.

Lt Brady reports back from the knoll. There are definitely 4 old weapon pits on this feature and one old greatcoat. No sign of recent occupation.

1935 B Coy report enemy flares from Point 342.

1950 Bttn HQ area shelled.

2010 Bttn HQ again shelled.

Lt Farrell and patrol returned. They reached copse and went forward to area 300 yards short of Nuova and encountered no enemy. Searched copse. Patrol returned via gully north of road. No enemy seen. MG firing from Nuova. Patrol thought they heard movement in copse area and threw grenades and charged the area. Nothing there.

2110 B Coy report 40 enemy approaching Il Sasso from 013297. They dug in at 013297 and then went on towards Il Sasso. Coy standing to.

2120 A and C Coys orders to “Stand To”. C Coy to have one platoon prepared to counter attack of necessary.

2150 B Coy report mortaring of Il Sasso area.

Our 3” Mortars fire on 017287 as enemy appear to be moving towards river bed.

2155 Counter mortar fire on mortars in Calvana area.

2200 B Coy report MG and Schmeisser fire towards 10 Platoon. 3” Mortars fire on gully 013299 and Point 342.

2215 A, B and C Coys stand to – 50%. A Coy report enemy in gully forward at Point 156. 3” mortars engaged.

2358 A Coy report further movement in same gully in front of Point 156. 3” mortars engaged.


4th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0035 A Coy report digging somewhere ahead of Point 156 but cannot pin point it clearly enough to make a target of it. Both lines to A Coy disconnected for 2nd time during night. Wireless ok.

Intentions night 4 /5 Dec:

  • 1 officer and 4 ORs Standing Patrol to 011298. Out last light, in first light.
  • Ambush Patrol 1 and 6 to area Nuova 019288. Patrol will leave 3 men with bren and 2” mortar at gully 017288 as firm base. Out last light, in first light.
  • ORs to occupy knoll at 015289 from last light to 2200 hrs. Standing Patrol to track 009290.

0056 A Coy line through.

0225 A Coy send patrol forward from Point 156.

0425 A Coy patrol from Point 156 search gully at 017288 on both sides of the road, no trace of enemy. Point 156 fired on from Nuova area immediately patrol returned.

0645 Three enemy approach B Coy left platoon from Tamagnin area. Grenades thrown by B Coy and enemy made off towards Point 358.

0730 Patrol searched Il Sasso wadi. NTR. A Coy send patrol to 017288 to be up during the day. B Coy send listening post to 011298. Report by Lt WP Hohne. Fifteen men were heard leaving area Point 342 and started digging in 50 yards below Point 358. Patrol moved forward on to forward slope of pimple 011298 then moved in south west direction. 1945 – 2000 hrs. Two fresh parties move to where original digging had been 014297 and followed former party. 21300 hrs. Patrol returned to Sasso. Listening Patrol at 009295 reported digging to their front about 1830 – 1900 hrs.

0950 Brigade Commander visits Bttn HQ and discussed forth coming events with CO.

1025 Brigade Commander leaves.

1030 Major Nixon, OC B Coy arrives at Bttn HQ and visits A Coy with the CO.

1145 Recce group of AA mortar platoon arrive at Bttn HQ to recce.

Position for Mortar Platoon in the area to support us.

1340 The CO and Major Nixon return to Bttn HQ.

1510 Adjutant and IO visit C Coy.

1520 B Coy report very heavy stonk on approx area 007283 at least 100 rounds from heavy gun, bearing 82 degrees from 009298.

1640 B Coy report stonk on Casa di Lucca from light guns.

1655 B Coy report 10 light shells on Il Sasso.

1850 B Coy heavily mortared at 008298, bearing 60 degrees. Very heavy mortar possibly 12 cm.

1920 A Coy report patrol ran into heavy minefield approx 800 yards along road from gully obviously laid by enemy last night as last night’s patrol did not encounter it.

Lt Brady and Fusilier Hickey missing. Party going out to obtain wounded man.

Sgt Fallis wounded in face. Fusilier Hickey and Lt Brady still out. Sgt Fallis returned. Sgt Boyd and party go out to search for them.

2030 CMO request bearing on guns firing on their HQ. Bearing from B Coy OP of 60 degrees. Enemy guns shell Bttn HQ area. CMO firing C Battery.

2040 Enemy MG harassing main road to Clemente. RIrF pass bearing to CMO, who had requested bearing from us.

2145 Sgt Boyd returned with patrol. States that it was not possible to get near scene of incident due to enemy fire from his front and left. Saw what he states to be a party of 20 enemy on right of road towards own positions, they turned off up Salaro wadi.

2150 Line to A Coy cut through shelling.

2220 Bearing on enemy MG firing across river from B Coy OP of 30 degrees passed to CMO. This agreed with bearing given by RIrF. CMO promised to shell area.

2335 Both lines to A Coy out. Through by wireless.

2337 One line through to A Coy.


5th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0040 12 Platoon send in enemy mortar report – 95 magnetic from Sasso. Generally fires into A Coy area. Information passed to CMO.

0359 Six heavy shells in Bttn HQ area.

0630 B Coy Standing Patrols in. NTR. Snipers out in position.

0645 C Coy report heavy shelling in area during night. One man killed. A Coy NTR. Standing Patrol out at gully. B Coy harassed by mortars during the night.

0830 B Coy mortared by light mortars. Bearing 86 degrees.

1115 B Coy report their OP at 011298 saw two enemy five yards away. One man in OP got back to the coy, the other was taken prisoner. Fusilier Wilton returned.

1455 B Coy mortared. Bearing 90 degrees. CMO fired counter mortar.

1500 B Coy mortared. Bearing 93 degrees. CMO fired counter mortar.

Shelling of road 002287.

Intentions night 5 / 6 Dec: All night Standing Patrols at 017288 – 011298 and 006290.

1815 Area San Clemente road junction shelled.

2045 Enemy firing on 11 Platoon of B Coy. Bearing 30 degrees.

2330 Large gun harassing B Coy. Bearing from B Coy OP 27 degrees.


6th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0115 Six heavy shells land in Mortar Platoon area.

0350 B Coy mortar report. 10 rounds MG fire. Bearing 63 degrees magnetic from B Coy OP.

0500 B Coy mortar report. 2 heavy mortars on a bearing 63 magnetic landing around B Coy HQ.

0605 B Coy report Squadron Command Recce wounded in head from direct hit on B Coy house.

0615 Three enemy shells forward of Bttn HQ.

0745 10 Platoon of B Coy attacked by enemy. Enemy feint attack came on to right of platoon, whilst main attack was made from the left of platoon position at 009299. Attack was beaten off, our casualties were 7 wounded and 2 missing. Platoon Commander reported 5 enemy moving towards Furniture House. A Coy informed and platoon at 207. Our 2” mortars fire into gully to front and left of them. Listening post was also put out at 010290.

1000 CO and OC C Coy leave for B Coy. The Divisional Commander visits Bttn HQ.

1025 Two shells fall in Bttn HQ area.

1045 One shell on Bttn HQ.

1130 One shell in river below of Bttn HQ.

1140 Two shells fall in Bttn HQ area.

1230 The CO and OC C Coy return Bttn HQ.

1530 B Coy fire 2” mortars on Point 358. Enemy retaliated with mortar from Point 358.

1630 A Coy report two enemy seen at Point 278 engaged by bren. Later on, two stretcher bearers seen in same area.

1655 Point 278 harassed by artillery.

1730 B Coy report MG firing from area 012299.

1735 A Coy report MG firing on a bearing of 10 degrees from 011789.

1830 A Coy report enemy movement on the knoll. 2” mortars engage and 3” mortar stonk laid on to take place in 30 minutes time.

1910 A Coy cows return, enemy mortared area of scrub and cows returned.

1950 Cows rescued and launched again.

2100 A Coy reports that cows have gone into scrub. Enemy mortared area of Standing Patrol and cows made off towards the enemy’s lines.


7th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0130 Area between Bttn HQ and mortars shelled (8 shells). Bearing 65 degrees from 009298.

0220 B Coy area mortared. Bearing 86 degrees from 009298.

0240 Six shells in river area between Bttn HQ. Bearing 65 degrees from 009299. B Coy OP.

0255 Eight shells C Coy area.

0405 Medium gun shelling B Coy. Bearing 85 degrees from B Coy OP.

0620 Ten shells on C Coy area.

1105 Area 156 shelled. Bearing 45 degrees from 011288.

1200 Same gun fires on Ripiano.

1258 Six shells fall in Bttn HQ area. Casualties, one wounded Fusilier McCoo.

1300 B Coy mortared from Point 358. 3” mortars engage.

1400 Six shells in Bttn HQ area.

1458 Six shells in Bttn HQ area, bearing 57 degrees from 009298.

1510 B Coy mortared from Point 358. 3” mortars engage.

1555 Twelve shells fall in Bttn HQ area from same guns.

1655 Bttn HQ shelled. Approx 8 shells from same gun.

1700 B Coy one wounded (slight) from mortaring.

1735 B Coy report MG firing from Point 358. 3” and 2” mortars engage.

1855 Patrol from 1 East Surreys contact own patrol at 003285.

2025 A Coy’s patrol returns from the knoll. Report it unoccupied and finding of box of Schu mines.

2055 One platoon B Coy reported clear, movement also reported in front of the leading platoon.

2150 A Coy patrol returns, and reports that box of Schu mines was in fact an empty grenade box.


8th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0025 B Coy HQ and platoon handed over to C Coy.

0650 Gull Patrol NTR. Mortared at 1915 hrs. A Coy reports enemy unusually quiet during night, no reactions to our Vickers HF on Sillaro and surrounding places.

1000 CO and IO leave for Travellato OP.

1130 CO and IO return to Bttn HQ. Visibility perfect and excellent view of bttn front was obtained.

1300 A Coy report seeing movement in area between Point 278 and knoll at 1100 hrs.

Intentions night 8 / 9: Recce Patrol to Point 278. Out last light, in 2400 hrs. Recce Patrol to Point 358 013298 out last light, in on completion. Standing Patrol 005285 from dusk to dawn to contact patrol of 1 East Surreys proceeding from 008283.

Standing Patrol 006290 dusk to dawn, normal standing patrols at house 013288 for 24 hrs.

1850 Ripiano area shelled.

1900 C Coy forward left platoon report movement to their front. Bren firec, no response from enemy.

A Coy report patrol from 278 returned. Spandau fired from Nuova area at 1915 hrs.

2000 Ripiano again shelled.

2115 A report 4 casualties, due to shelling. Line to A Coy dies.

2215 A Coy line through. Two direct hits on A Coy house. Shells coming from south side of river. A Coy patrol report in. NTR.

2245 MO reports 3 casualties. B Coy personnel under command A Coy evacuated as a result of shelling of A Coy HQ.


9th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0003 Line disconnected to C Coy.

0012 Heavy concentration of shells on San Clemente (40).

0015 Line through to C Coy.

0110 San Clemente cross roads shelled. A Coy report line party to Furniture House mortared after mending break, thought to have been en route.

0230 Eight rounds of harassing fire on San Clemente.

0300 Line to A Coy diss. Through by wireless.

0340 Line to A Coy through.

0930 CO visits C Coy and 2 LIR.

1025 A Coy sending bearing of enemy tank firing. Bearing 65 degrees from Point 156.

1100 Il Sasso OP reports seeing enemy gun at the cemetery 059302

1335 A Coy report enemy gun firing, bearing from 010288, 80 degrees.

1805 C Coy report enemy gun firing on a bearing of 64 degrees from 009298.

2015 Sgt Kelly Pioneer Sergeant and RE Sgt from 214 Field Company return after laying mines forward of C Coy area.

Intentions day of 9th, if misty. Man night positions with Standing Patrols at 017288, 011298, 006290.

Intentions night 9 / 10 Dec: Fighting Patrol to Point 358. Out 2030 hrs, in 2130 hrs.

Standing Patrols at 017287 – 005285 – 006290 and 010290. From dusk to dawn.

2030 A Coy patrol to 005290 reached a point 200 yards east of Sillaro. No sign of enemy and no movement seen.

2130 Patrol of 1st East Surreys arrived and contacted our river patrol.

2210 C Coy patrol to 358 return reporting enemy dug in on north and south side of feature. Estimated to be one section on each side. Small mortar observed to be firing from reverse slope of 358. 3” and 2” mortars stonk area of enemy mortar. OP Il Sasso report mortar firing on a bearing of 35 degrees. 3” mortars correct range up 100 yards right two degrees.


10th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0700 C Coy report patrol sent out again to Point 358 returns. Enemy still in occupation on north and on south side of the Pimple. C Coy Sitrep – mortared by light mortars during the night. No casualties.

1100 C Coy report movement on Point 358 012298.

Intentions day 10 Dec, if misty: Man night positions with Standing Patrols at 017288 – 011298 – 006290.

Intentions night 10 / 11 Dec: Fighting Patrol to Point 358 0122298 – Out, last night. In, 2400 hrs.

Standing Patrols all night at 007288, 010290, 007290 and 005285. East Surreys contact patrol 005285.

1615 Brigade Major visits Bttn HQ.

1635 C Coy report gun firing on bearing of 61 degrees from 008294.

1725 Enemy aircraft bomb Clemente area.

2110 C Coy patrol returns.

2215 A Coy report Spandau firing from direction of haystack 019289.

2250 B Coy report arrival of 1st East Surreys patrol.

2320 B Coy report patrol of 1st East Surreys leaving.

2340 East Surrey patrol reports back to unit.


11th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0030 C Coy patrol returns. Lt Bradfield reports enemy withdrew from hill when his patrol opened up. Patrol got to approx 20 yards of enemy positions, threw grenades and fired brens. They then went in diring Tommy Guns and enemy withdrew round the left side of the hill. Patrol reports there were four trenches, which were searched and found empty, they saw 5 enemy and think they wounded one.

Message received from BM, 38 Brigade – Day for Shannon is 13th Dec 1944.

0320 Message received that Shannon takes place night 13th Dec with possibility of 24 hrs delay each afternoon at 1500 hrs.

0700 A Coy report on patrol 278 area. Lt Farrell reached 016290 heard movement on road and enemy moving south west from Sillaro House. Approached area 017285 and heard enemy movement east of this point. One bren was thrown at patrol.

1100 CO issues orders to O Group reference operation Shannon.

1200 Operation Shannon postponed 24 hrs. Continued shelling of 11 brigade area during the whole day.


12th to 19th December.

No Diary Entries.


20th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0830 CO and Adjutant leave for 2 LIR.

0910 Bttn embussed and leave for Calicano

1345 Bttn arrived and had a hot meal.

1500 C Coy leave for Sasso.

1700 Adjutant instructs the bttn to come forward in the following order: B and 2 platoons of A coy plus MMGs. A Coy and Battle Patrol, Bttn HQ, Support Coy.

1925 A and C Coys reported relieved.

2110 B Coy reports relief completed. Lt Gladitz and 6 men leaving for special patrol forward of Furniture House.


21st December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0015 B Coy report two Red Verey lights on far side of river.

0316 C Coy (Sasso platoon) report Nebelwerfer. Two salvoes – one at 0250 hrs, one at 0300 hrs. Approx bearing 63 degrees magnetic.

0730 Battle Patrol report clashing with enemy at 007290 at 2200 hrs. Bren guns fired and grenades thrown, enemy withdrawn. No further encounter during the night.

0945 CO leaves to visit B Coy. Returns at 1230 hrs.

1410 CO visits C Coy and returned at 1620 hrs.

1710 Own artillery stonk put down on Casa Sillaro.

1730 B Coy patrol to the gully and report enemy section moving into night positions forward of Nuova haystack.

2045 B Coy in gully at 017288 returns. Enemy approach down south side of wadi. The enemy was allowed to within 10 yards of patrol positions then attacked with grenades, brens and rifle fire. Enemy replied with grenade and MG fire. Own patrol withdrew to Point 156.  Own artillery put down 20 rounds on Casa Nuova. 2” and 3” mortars fired into gully. No casualties.

2105 B Coy area mortared, lines out, lateral line ok.

2115 B Coy patrol returns to gully and reports fresh mortar craters around culvert trenches and some stick grenades but no sign of the enemy.

2315 Two Spandaus from Casa Nuova firing down valley between Bttn HQ and river.

Intentions night 21/22 Dec: All night ambush patrols 011294 and 013291. All night Standing Patrols 017288, 007290, 011289, 005285, latter to be contacted by patrol of 1 East Surreys.


22nd December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0205 Patrol of 1 East Surreys contacted at A Coy HQ. Listening post in river. Two enemy seen approaching Furniture House – One wounded and taken prisoner. PoW evacuated.

0715 A Coy area mortared.

0950 Casa Cereto bombed by Rover Joe. C Coy reports successful run with several near misses.

1230 Casa  Razzinera bombed by fighter bombers – target well strafed and buildings set on fire by cannon fire.

1250 Request to brigade to Sillaro and enemy Bttn HQ.

1415 B Coy reports 16 enemy evacuate Razzinera houses, 1 East Surreys mortar and MG enemy as they make for Tromba. Two were seen to fall (killed or wounded?) on the side of the 200 yards from Razzinera. Enemy took cover under bridge at Tromba and were engaged by own MMG fire from Point 207.

1515 C Coy report enemy working party at bridge 028293. Engaged by MMG firing from Lucia. Enemy dispersed and some were seen to go into a house at 026294.

1620 Road at Bttn HQ shelled (or heavy mortar).

1650 Heavy enemy bombardment on Bttn HQ area. Bearing  of 109 degrees from Lucia passed to counter battery.

1840 B Coy report one white Verey light from Razzinera house.

1905 B Coy report that ambush patrol on reaching knoll encountered Bosche patrol.

Both saw each other simultaneously and, at some distance, there was an exchange of fire. Bosche returned to Sillaro. Enemy approached from due north. Own patrol returned to original positions.

2103 C Coy report mortar firing from 60 degrees magnetic. CMO engaged three known mortar positions in area Point 166 020303. C Coy also reported own aircraft bombing Route 9.

2150 C Coy report flashes 200 yards north east of Point 156. Appears to be light mortar firing from Tomba area 0228.

2210 Two loud explosions heard in direction of bridge 0229.

2345 B Coy reported L/Sgt Malone and patrol to 017289 returned. NTR. One man wounded in B Coy area by mortar bomb.

Intentions for the night 22/23 Dec: All night standing patrols  013297, 007200, latter to be contacted by patrol of East Surreys.


23rd December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0020 CO visits A Coy. C Coy patrol returns. NTR. Grenades and MG fire 500 yards forward of Rozzinieri.

0022 C Coy report gun firing on bearing 45 degrees from 009299. Shells firing in 11 Brigade, near river.

0055 CO returns. CO interviewed Sgt Malone (NCO i/c of patrol to 017289).

Patrol report: Patrol reached 017289. Automatics and rifles were fired and grenades thrown. Later at approx 2215 hrs, a vehicle was heard on the road at approx 019288 from which two salvoes of mortar bombs were fired (Target unknown). Vehicle then unknown.

0100 Lt Shields reports two listening posts forward of Point 207. Reported automatics and phosphorous bombs being thrown in area of Razzineri about 2300 hrs.

0500 C Coy reports standing patrol engaged Bosche patrol between Point 342 and Point 358. Bosche patrol (stronger) fanned out and withdrew. Exchange of fire, enemy withdrew. L/Cpl Connolly killed.

0535 OC C Coy reports patrol not yet returned. One Bosche suspected hit in engagement.

0625 Lt Giles and patrol to 012291 returns. NTR.

0705 C Coy party to Point 358. Returns with body of L/Cpl Connolly.

0715 Bttn HQ heavily shelled bearing of 80 degrees from 007298. Signs 15 cwt knocked out. Fusilier Ross HQ Coy killed.

B Coy area on Point 207 also shelled. Sgt Sutcliffe killed.

0910 B Coy report Tromba being sucked by enemy.

0950 Bttn HQ area again shelled. Hay on north east side of house set on fire. No casualties.

1115 Intermittent shelling of area between Bttn HQ and San Clemente continues.

1600 House on Point 156 report seeing one man Casa di Maletto.

1705 House (Point 156) report 5 enemy moving from haystack at 01952885 (Nuova) towards Sillaro. 3” mortars engaged and score three direct hits on haystack and three bombs fell 50 yards to the right.

2330 East Surreys patrol contacted A Coy standing patrol. All quiet.

Intentions for night 23/24 Dec: Ambush Patrols at 016289 from 0300 hrs to 0400 hrs. 012291 – 2400 hrs to 0100 hrs. Point 358 from 2300 hrs to 2400 hrs and 0400 hrs to 0500 hrs. Standing patrols all night at 007290 and 005285, latter to contact 1 East Surreys.


24th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0015 C Coy patrol to Point 358. No enemy movement seen.

0105 C Coy forward OP report enemy mortar firing onto approx area of bridge at Razzineri. Bearing of 85 degrees.

0300 Three enemy shelling on San Clemente.

0415 B Coy ambush patrol to 014286 returned.

0515 C Coy report patrol to Point 358 returned.

0600 Sitrep passed on to brigade, quarter inch of snow fell during the night.

1005 CO pays a visit to B Coy.

1015 C Coy reports mortar firing on bearing of 103 degrees, firing on Ripiano. CMO East Surreys informed.

1030 Own mortars fired on haystack at Nuova. One direct hit with smoke bomb. Haystack did not catch fire.

1700 A Coy area mortared. Counter mortar blitz Clove.

2315 C Coy report mortar firing on B Coy from direction of Tromba.

2328 Area Tromba mortared by 3” mortars.

Intentions for night 24/25 Dec: Ambush patrols to 017289 from 0300 hrs to 0400 hrs. 012291, 2400 hrs to 0100 hrs. Point 358 from 2300 hrs to 2400 hrs and 0400 hrs to 0500 hrs. All night standing patrol 007290, 005285. Latter to be contacted by 1 East Surreys.


25th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0300 Standing patrol returned from Point 358.

Christmas Greetings messages went to Divisional Commander and Brigade Commander.

Intentions night 25/26 Dec: Patrols for local protection only.


26th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0123 B Coy report patrol to 012291 returned.

0422 B Coy report patrol to 017289 returned.

0500 C Coy ambush patrol returned.

0530 B Coy report 2 prisoners taken by patrol between Coy HQ and Point 156.

1500 Three enemy observed at diggings at Point 278. Artillery registration in process and Bosche went to ground.

1800 CO visits A and B Coy.

1810 C Coy report vehicles moving towards Muiano from Point 297. Artillery engaged.

1815 C Coy report MT movement on Ronco track.

1830 Brigade IO  informed bttn that intercept had given the following information (picked up from 4 Para Regiment radio intercept).

  1. Enemy bombing tonight. Enemy FDLs to put up white flares at 10 minute intervals when aircraft are over.
  2. Enemy mortar bttn heard registering target between Point 156 and the river at 008286.
  • “Don’t worry about the smoke, boys. They have no defensive positions.

CO lays plan in the event a raid down towards the river towards San Clemente and also if enemy flares are put up.

2105 B Coy report that they can hear Surreys challenging in Casa Benardi. B Coy report Point 156 being mortared from Casa Tromba area. Artillery and 3” mortars engage. Surreys informed. Cpl Dorrian slightly wounded (Mortar fire accurate).

2200 C Coy report white flares from Razzineri area.

C Coy report that change over with A Coy is complete, with the exception of 1 Platoon.

2225 A Coy (Lucia) report 5 red flares from Razzineri area.

2230 C Coy report 4 red and 2 flares from the gully leading south from Razzineri. C Coy report Spandau fire from south side of river on a bearing of 100 degrees Sasso. Also mortar firing from approx 55 degrees magnetic.

2315 C Coy report Coy HQ and two platoons complete in bttn reserve platoons.

2325 B Coy report one white verey light on ridge forward of No 12 Platoon East Surreys report 2 verey lights seen forward of B Coy.

2335 Il Sasso Platoon reports Spandau firing on a bearing of 92 degrees magnetic.

2350 Bearing of gun fire on Bttn HQ area 55 degrees magnetic (Bearing from Il Sasso).

About 12 shells landed between Bttn HQ and C Coy area.

Intentions for night 26/27 Dec: Recce patrol (Out – 0345 hrs, In – 0500 hrs) via Point 358 013290 to area Point 278 014293. Recce patrol to Nuova 021228 (Out – 0345 hrs, In – 0500 hrs). Ambush patrol, 012291 from 0345 hrs to 0500 hrs. All night standing patrols 007290 and 005285, the latter to be contacted by patrol of 1 East Surreys. 


27th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0050 Bearing of mortar flash 90 degrees magnetic from 15 Platoon C Coy no known damage.

0215 Patrol from East Surreys contact C Coy standing patrol at 005285.

0520 B Coy patrol 300 yards north of Valley returned.

0530 15 Platoon report mortar firing at B Coy on a bearing of 50 degrees from Sasso.

0545 Lt Farrell and patrol to Point 278 returned. Patrol reaches cross tracks at Point 358 and lay up listening, no movement heard. Reports that in addition to the main track from 358 to 278, there are only two other tracks running below the crest. These do not seem to have been used recently. Visibility excellent.

0630 Lt Gladitz and patrol reported back to B Coy. Report NTR. Patrol lay up in gully area at 0172888 (did not, as instructed, proceed to Nuova owing to visibility being too bright). Laughing heard from forward of gully.

0750 OP Lucia reports seeing 8 Bosche moving into Casa Nova Di Maleto 027279.

0840 C and B Coys report shells dropping into vicinity of their HQ, south towards the river.

2340 1 East Surreys report mortaring and 5 casualties. Platoon on 156 report mortars firing from their left flank, but cannot get a bearing. A Coy report alight mortar harassing their forward platoon.

2357 LAA mortars engage Chile Scala 2.

Intentions night 27/28 Dec: Ambush patrol 012291, Out – 0345 hrs, In – 0500 hrs.

Standing patrol Point 358 reference 013298 from 0345 hrs to 0500 hrs. All night standing patrol 007290, 005285 latter to be contacted by patrol of 1 East Surreys.


28th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0030 Il Sasso report two bearings of 348 degrees and 65 degrees.

0120 A large flash observed down the river on a bearing of 30 degrees from Il Sasso thought to be in area of Casa Beccara 040299.

0355 E Coy report patrol contacted East Surreys.

0458 A Coy report patrol fired on by Schmeisser from area of 358.

0515 A Coy report patrol returning to base. Contact made at cross tracks, exchanges of fire from 342 and 278, patrols return to base.

0520 B Coy patrol in.

0522 C Coy Sitrep: NTR.

0905 IO at brigade informs us that 18 coils of dannet, 52 screw pickets to be collected at FD Platoon today. This to be used for wiring along river.

0915 Location statement required by brigade.

1300 B Coy report having observed enemy guns at 01352950 and 01452925.

1345 OP Lucca report heavy mortar hitting area 008295, bearing 44 degrees.

1530 3” mortar platoon engage target 01452925.

1615 OP Lucca reported smoke coming from house 046305.

1715 B Coy platoon on Point 207 report seeing Germans come down gully to the north of Valley Farm.

Doubtful but fog lifted and they may have been sneaking up.

Intentions for night 28/29 Dec: Ambush patrol 015290, Out – 0345 hrs, In – 0500 hrs. Ambush patrol 009295. Out – 0430, In – 0530 hrs. All night standing patrols 007290, 005285, 013298.


29th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0010 C Coy report East Surreys patrol contacted.

0210 B Coy report enemy mortar in area between Point 156 and the river.

0440 B Coy Commander reports ambush patrol went out at 0345 hrs, immediately there was the first stonk of the night. Patrol came back at once waiting to 0500 hrs. Bright moonlight. Confident that patrol was spotted.

0545 East Surreys report that they are sowing mines in bridge at 008282 at 0500 hrs.

B and C Coys warned.

0615 A Coy report accident to Cpl Fitzpatrick shot through the head. Not serious.

Ambush patrol late in going out, Standing patrol returns from 358. NTR.

0630 Sasso patrol returns. Heard movement and coughing from direction of Point 278, otherwise NTR.

0855 B Coy report 2 guns firing on a bearing of 60 degrees and 70 degrees from 011289. Area shelled Ripiano.

1045 CO visits B Coy. C Coy report one smoke bomb followed by several HE in area 008285.

1115 BM and G2 visit Bttn HQ.

1125 2 LIR fired MG at Sillaro haystack.

1205 CO returned from B Coy.

1420 A Coy report mortars firing on East Surreys. Bearing 100 degrees and 106 degrees.

1500 Artillery engage Casa Moletta direct hit scored.

1810 B Coy report 39 mortar bombs in area of Point 165. A Coy report bearing of 65 degrees.

1815 Counter mortar fire. Chile bombard.

1820 B Coy report further bombard, total of 95 bombs in area. Lines to Point 165 and Valley Farm cut.

1825 Travellata OP report mortar firing from gully Sillaro in area 021292.

2010 Very heavy stonk (mortars) in area 008284. Counter mortar fire “Mike Target”.

2015 Wiring across river from 002283 to 001286 completed. Brigade informed.

2115 Movement seen from Point 156 around Sillaro haystack.

2200 East Surreys patrol arrived with C Coy. NTR.


30th December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0025 A Coy report approx 3 Bosche in area to right of forward platoon. Scrub to right of the area set on fire. Further details as follows:

0100 Fire getting smaller and blazing to right. No immediate danger.

0115 Fire reported to be dying out. Caused by one of our trip flares being set off.

0335 Point 156 report one enemy seen moving in area of haystack on Sillaro ridge.

0545 B Coy patrol to 200 yards north of Valley Farm returns. NTR.

0600 A Coy patrol to Point 358 returns. NTR.

B Coy patrol to gully did not go out. Visibility very poor. A Coy patrol to 009296 heard digging at Sillaro House between 0430 hrs and 0520 hrs.

1000 CO leaves for A Coy.

1100 B Coy fire tracer at the following targets: Dummy A/Tk guns, Sillaro House, Sillaro haystack.

1340 11 Brigade report seeing enemy at Sillaro.

1345 Very heavy gun shelling Bttn HQ area on a bearing of 360 degrees from Lucia.

1415 Sasso report Nebelwerfer firing on bearing 73 degrees grid.

1435 Kensingtons asked to fire 4.2” Phosphorous mortar bombs on Sillaro haystack.

1530 Report that hits within 15 yards of stack.

1900 Patrol to gully returned and report many enemy on Sillaro ridge, digging in and lights in Nuova area. Artillery, 3” and LAA mortars fire at 1900 hrs.

1915 A Coy patrol returned. NTR.

1935 11 Brigade report fire on Point 358. A Coy reports flare going up and Brens firing in forward platoon positions. A Coy Brens open up.

1945 B Coy report Spandau bullets from Point 358 area hitting Valley Farm, also Bren firing at Point 165.

2015 B Coy report one man from ambush patrol at 010286 returned to B Coy HQ with the report that a party of men had been seen moving west between road and river at 010785. Patrol at Machine Gun house warned.

Search lights switched on for one hour.

2035 OC A Coy reports on incident. One flare went up by right hand weapon pit of left platoon and section there report 4 enemy seen. Section opened fire and patrol went forward to search area.

2110 A Coy report patrol returned. NTR.

2115 B Coy report patrol returned. NCO i/c ambush states he followed party down to river and saw them go over the river towards southern bank and states he heard them swear in English. Checked with East Surreys, who state that they have no patrol out.

2320 B Coy report that, at 2020 hrs, Sasso contact patrol was fired at. No damage.

2340 Brigade informed us East Surreys being shot up from haystack (Sillaro Ridge).

Ten rounds mortar fire put down at 2345 hrs.

2359 11 Brigade report on mortar fire 200 yards short of MMG position but gun stopped firing. B Coy report 3 casualties at Point 156 from mortaring.


31st December – SAN CLEMENTE.

0250 East Surreys patrol arrived and contacted C Coy.

0330 B Coy report Point 156 being mortared again. A Coy passed bearing of 150 degrees to CMO.

0900 Machine Gun House patrol report 3 mortar bombs on river bed ay 005283.

1700 CO and O Group of 1 RIrF arrived at Bttn HQ.

1920 Knoll patrol returned. Reports i) Hearing singing in Sillaro House. ii) MT movement further back down main road.

1950 Gully and Valley Farm patrols – NTR.

2325 East Surreys contact patrol at 005285.