Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 Innisks – November 1944

1st November – CASONE.

0900 D Coy report enemy approaching Casa Salara. DFs fired.

D Coy reports enemy moving round to the left. DFS altered accordingly and the enemy withdrew.

2000 Lt Casey and the Pioneers lay a minefield in front of RIrF coy at Point 387.

2nd November – CASONE.

1000 CO’s conference. The Adjutant goes on leave to Florence.

1400 Mortaring of Spaduro House and Bttn HQ area. Bearings sent back to counter mortar officer.

1800 Heavy shelling and mortaring of bttn area.

3rd November – CASONE.

0600 Bttn area shelled and mortared heavily. CM and CB retaliate.

1100 D Coy area shelled. One OR killed. Spaduro House heavily shelled.

1500 Mediums engage digging parties at Casa Moletta

1800 Reliefs carried out without incident – C Coy relieved D Coy and A Coy relieved B Coy.

4th November – CASONE.

0600 Heavy shelling of bttn area. Spaduro House hit with mortar bombs but no casualties. The CO paid a visit to the coys.

1030 Enemy gun registers three direct hits on Spaduro House. It is decided to evacuate artillery OPs from this house and use Point 387 as an OP.

2000 Enemy shelling C Coy area. No casualties.

5th November – CASONE.

1000 CO’s conference.

1200 Brigade inform us that we will be relieved the night of 6th/7th Nov.

1400 The CO and Coy Commanders of 2 LIR visit Bttn HQ preparatory to taking over from the bttn.

1700 2 LIR O Group return.

2100 Patrol of C Coy to Pimples forward of Casa Salara. On return, they report enemy heard on features.

6th November – CASONE.

1000 CO’s Conference reference to relief of bttn.

1400 2 LIR O Group arrive at Bttn HQ.

1700 The leading coys of 2 LIR arrive at Bttn HQ. B Coy leaves for Castel del Rio.

1830 D Coy, C Coy and Bttn HQ relieved without incident.

2015 A Coy relieved without incident. Bttn marches back to Cuviola where MTO has TCVs waiting. The bttn embusses and proceeds to the castle at Castel del Rio. 

7th November – CASTEL DEL RIO.

0330 Bttn reported present in castle. A, B, C, D and HQ Coys are accommodated in Castel del Rio. S Coy goes to Firenzuola.

1000 CO’s Conference. It is decided that D Coy be disbanded, due to shortage of manpower. Bttn now to consist of A, B, C, HQ and S Coys and a Battle Patrol of an Officer and 20 men.

8th November – CASTEL DEL RIO.

1100 The Brigade Commander pays a visit to Bttn HQ. The day is spent cleaning weapons and bathing.

9th November – CASTEL DEL RIO.

1400 Captain BH MacCorkell is appointed Adjutant in place of Captain ET Irving, who becomes 2nd in Command of A Coy and PRI.

Warning Order is received to move to Trevelato 998273 on night 10th Nov.

10th November – CASTEL DEL RIO.

1700 Bttn moves by TCV to Travelato in Brigade Reserve. 

11th November – TRAVELATO.

0300 Bttn reported in Travelato without incidents.

12th November – TRAVELATO.

0900 Major PJ Blake MC attached to 78 Division HQ for staff attachment

13th November – TRAVELATO.

2000 Lt Col DM Shaw MC reported to have arrived at Rear Brigade HQ.

14th November – TRAVELATO.

0900 Lt Col DM Shaw MC arrives at B Echelon and proceeds to main Brigade HQ prior to assuming command of the battalion.

1200 The Adjutant and IO proceed to La Strada to recce area for battalion moving in tonight.

1900 Bttn arrive La Strada in Brigade Reserve and are located: Bttn HQ and A Coy at La Strada, C Coy at Sassatello, B Coy and Mortar Platoon at Casa Salara under command of 1 RIrF.

15th November – LA STRADA.

1000 The Brigade Commander visits Bttn HQ and Lt Col DM Shaw MC arrives at Bttn HQ to take over bttn

16th November – LA STRADA.

1400 Order received that the bttn will probably move to occupy positions north of San Clemente, relieving 2 Royal Scots and to be under command of 66 Brigade, 1 Division.

17th November – LA STRADA.

0900 CO, IO and Coy representatives visit area of 2 Royal Scots to recce, preparatory to taking over area.

1430 CO visits Brigade HQ and informs the Brigadier of his plans for relieving 2 Royal Scots.

1900 Mortar Platoon and MMG Platoon move to Apollinare.

18th November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0830 The CO, Adjutant, and IO move to 2 Royal Scots’ area. Bttn less B Coy move by march route to Cuviola, where they emboss and proceed to relieve 2 Royal Scots in area of San Clemente.

1430 A and C Coys report take over complete.

1730 Mortars take over complete.

1815 Own MG Platoon one casualty from shelling.

1855 A, C Coys, MMG Platoon takeover complete. Battle Patrol in position in B Coy area.

1930 C Coy send contact Patrol to 56 Recce Squadron.

2050 B Coy, 4.2” Mortars OP and MMG Platoon Kensingtons arrive.

2240 Takeover complete. The CO 2 Royal Scots leaves. Bttn now under command of 66 Brigade, 1 Division.

2310 Two enemy shells fall in Bttn HQ area.

19th November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0005 The CO pays a visit to B, A and C Coys.

0200 One heavy shell in valley below Bttn HQ.

0220 One heavy shell in Bttn HQ area.

0233 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0248 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0301 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0302 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0303 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0304 CO arrives back at Bttn HQ.

0321 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0330 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0340 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0351 One shell in Bttn HQ area.

0413 Blitz “Sophie” demanded and fired.

0600 Approx 12 Mortar bombs and two shells to the right of Bttn HQ.

1245 C Coy HQ has 9 rounds from enemy light mortar in their area.

1320 Bombing of area in rear of Bttn HQ. Actual area not known, appears to be our own planes.

1410 Six enemy observed at 013298, reported by C Coy.

1415 Mortar fires on 013298, rounds fell slightly short of target.

1500 Bttn under command of 2 Infantry Brigade.

1535 C Coy area mortared.

1730 Battle Patrol send standing Patrols to 008299 and 003292.

1830 Harassing fire, laid on points 352, 358, 278 to carry on from 2330 hrs to 0555 hrs.

2010 C Coy report wounding of two Pioneers of flare laying party.Wiring between A and C Coys completed but no flares laid.

2150 The CO visits C Coy.

2210 C Coys’ contact Patrol to recce at 011288. Reported contact made.

2230 8 Platoon OP report gun firing on bearing of 75 degrees and a mortar on a bearing of 60 degrees, at a distance of 800 yards.

20th November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0530 Coys report NTR.

0610 Battle Patrol and B Coy’s three standing patrols return.

0850 Captain Duane and IO leave to recce area of Bazano, prior to taking over coy area from D Coy 6 Gordons by C Coy.

0900 Brigade Commander and staff of 2 Infantry Brigade visit Bttn HQ and are taken to OP by the CO and shown front.

1045 Two mortar bombs land forward of Bttn HQ.

1235 Six mortar bombs in vicinity of Bttn HQ and B Coy.

Sick state total for unit – 17. Hospital evacuation 6982333 L/Sgt R Sharman.

1400 Major Kerr, Captain Cocksedge and Padre visit Bttn HQ.

1835 Battle Patrol out in position in front of A Coy.

2130 C Coy report light in Sillaro.

2145 Battle Patrol leave A Coy.

2205 018298 HMG now firing at 850 yards. C Coy report MG firing towards river.

2235 Contact Patrol reaches Recce.

2305 Battle Patrol returns from 011301. MG located at 012302. Otherwise NTR.

21st November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0615 Very quiet night.

0945 Enemy mortaring at Bazzano and Il Sopro.

1030 CO’s conference.

1130 B Coy report suspected mortar in Casa Selvo 022318.

1200 Intentions night 21st/22nd Nov:

Standing Patrol and contact Patrols as on night 20/21st Nov requested. Fighting Patrol to 012302 to destroy MG position located night 20/21 and to obtain identification. Strength one and six. Time out 0100 hrs. Time in 0300 hrs. 4.2” Mortars will harass Points 342, 358 and 278 and Casa Tamagnin 0130 from 1800 hrs to 0600 hrs. Artillery will harass Casa il Sallaro, Cereto, Hurano and Caternara 0230 at irregular intervals during the night.

1255 CO visits American OP and C Coy.

1305 C Coy mortared.

1320 C Coy mortared and called on own 3” Mortars to fire DF 2.

1330 Sick state for the 21st. Total for the bttn – 6.

1345 Enemy gun at 036295 shelled by American 155s. Several direct hits observed and enemy crew scattered.

1430 Captain Duane MC and Recce party leave for 6th Gordons’ forward HQ.

1440 Enemy mortar bombs in Mortar Platoon area.

1455 CO orders 3” Mortars to engage Points 342 and 358.

1640 Smoke screen observed in front of San Martino bridge by A Coy.

1735 Verey light observed from area 013303.

1740 SP gun fired from bearing of 73 degrees from Bttn HQ on Monte Grande area.

2330 All signal communications checked and went through, with the exception of the Recce Squadron.

Heavy guns firing on a bearing of 70 degrees. Information from 9 Platoon, A Coy at 005299.

2340 C Coy contact Recce at Point 207.

2359 Three heavy shells land in rear of San Clemente and wadi to the east.

22nd November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0050 Sgt Bregan’s Fighting Patrol reported out through Bttn HQ.

0110 Main line to C Coy disconnected. Communication established through A Coy and by R/T.

0115 C Coy reported slight mortaring at 2340 and 0010 hrs. Two slight casualties and some heavy shells have been falling to their right rear.

0220 Main line to C Coy through.

0230 One heavy shell to right of Mortar Platoon.

0255 Battle Patrol returns. No enemy at 012302 and gully as far as 013302 without sign of enemy, also no sign of enemy trenches in area.

0452 Heavy shells comes over Bttn HQ and lands well behind.

0545 B Coy’s forward platoon reported returning.

0555 C Coy sitrep – Slight mortaring of coy area. Two slight casualties – L/Cpl Walker and L/Cpl Everell. Otherwise nothing to report. Our 3” mortars fire SOS 2.

0630 Captain Duane and recce party report back to Bttn HQ from 6 Gordons.

0655 C Coy’s forward platoon mortared by light mortars. No HSR received.

One slight casualty to 1st Kensingtons MMG personnel.

0930 3” Mortars fire SOS 2 on prearranged plan with CO.

0945 Six mortar bombs land on Monte Grande. Three Bosche engaged by artillery 023328.

1000 Staff Captain arrives at Bttn HQ. CO leaves to visit A Coy. Major Heaten, 78th Field Regiment arrives at Bttn HQ.

1035 Brigade Commander with BM 38th Brigade arrived together with Brigade Commander 2 Brigade at Bttn HQ and visit of Lt Col Bredin and recce party from 2 LIR arrive and proceed to C Coy.

Fighter bomber targets for the 22nd of November:

Guns at 098361, bombed at 0900 hrs.

Guns at 096269, bombed at 1100 hrs.

Guns at 007382, bombed at 1145 hrs.

Guns at 923367, bombed at 1330 hrs.

Road and buildings at 005365, bombed at 1200 hrs.

Dump at 006384, bombed at 1130 hrs.

Houses at 0962405, bombed at 1800 hrs.

Nebelwerfers at 001378 were bombed yesterday but results not yet known.

1100 The CO returns to Bttn HQ.

1205 Op Venus reports MG fire and movement area 022315.

1300 Ten mortar bombs on C Coy area. Four casualties. SOS 2 fired and counter mortar Sybil.

1330 CO’s conference, held in Command Post.

1400 The CO visits A Coy.

1645 Coy of 2 LIR arrive and take over partially from C Coy.

1710 Two platoons of C Coy proceed to new area.

1755 B Coy platoon in position.

1835 C Coy relief by 2 LIR completed.

1840 C Coy report that it too light to proceed over ridge. The CO asks the Brigadier 2 Brigade to switch off searchlights for one hour.

1850 CO leaves to visit C Coy’s new area.

1935 A Coy area at 005300 mortared. Enemy mortar firing on bearing 75 degrees.

Enemy MG bullets land in Command Post area.

2030 C Coy complete takeover of D Coy 6 Gordons’ area.

2035 The CO returns from C Coy.

2115 Artillery fire airbursts over enemy mortars Mex and Mez, mediums also fire.

2205 One heavy shell in area of wadi to right of Mortar Platoon.

2235 Bttn reverts under command of 38th (Irish) Brigade.

23rd November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0245 Left platoon A Coy report heavy gun firing on bearing o 60 degrees.

0355 Approx 20 mortar bombs on left of A Coy and bttn area. Shell rep to TAC 17. Major Cochrane reports heavy mortaring, probably from Murino. No bearing obtained.

0710 A Coy report guns firing leaflets from Il Laghetto 048305. Leaflets land on Monte Spaduro.

0945 CO visits A Coy.

0950 Brigade Commander visits Bttn HQ.

1000 Artillery engage Il Laghetto.

1015 Casa Lucia mortared.

1035 Twenty bombs fell. Enemy mortar firing on bearing 82 degrees.

1036 Platoon of A Coy shelled. Mortar Platoon reports shells in area to their right.

1200 C Coy report enemy digging in, in area Tamagnin 013303. Hits near house observed. 3” Mortars fired. C Coy direct shoot.

1230 Intentions night 23/24 Nov –

Standing Patrol A Coy to 007299 from dusk to dawn.

Harassing fire

7.2 – Fume at 1100 hrs.

7.2 – Road junction 043303 at 0300 hrs.

25 pounder – Ronco at 1800 and 2100 hrs.

25 pounder – track junction 041311 to Casa Molino at 1800 and 2100 hrs.

25 pounder – Volte 031311 at 1800 and 2100 hrs.

CMO – Mez at 1145 and 1415 hrs.

CMO – Mex at 1730, 0245 and 0515 hrs.

3” Mortars – MFA 02723071

3” Mortars – Muiano (15 rounds) at 1700 – 1800 hrs.

3” Mortars – Muiano (15 rounds) at 0300 – 0400 hrs.

Own MMGs – MFA at 1700 – 1900 – 0100 hrs.

Own MMGs – MFA at 0500. One belt each time.

Kensingtons – Road Molino to 041311 at 1700 – 1800 – 2200 – 2300 – 0300 – 0400 hrs.

1330 CO’s conference.

1630 4.2 Mortar Fire on Tamagnin. Fire observed by C Coy OP.

1755 Enemy MG harasses Bttn HQ.

1820 Enemy gun harassing Point 330 and San Clemente. No HSR received.

1840 B Coy platoon at 004301 report light on a bearing of 41 degrees. One to one and a half miles away.

A Coy report gun firing on a bearing of 50 degrees.

1900 B Coy platoon at 004301 report mortars firing 100 degrees. Area shelled unknown.

24th November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0420 Enemy MG harassing fire in area of Bttn HQ.

0650 C Coy report quiet night. NTR.

0655 A Coy Standing Patrol to 007299 returned. NTR.

Lt Col and Major of 78 Medium Regiment visit Bttn HQ.

1100 The CO leaves to visit A and B Coys, also to observe coy snipers in position.

1130 C Coy area mortared. Unable to give bearing.

1215 Six mortar bombs on B and C Coy areas.

Enemy sniper and OP suspected at 013307 harassed by mortars

1240 CO returned to Bttn HQ.

1330 CO’s conference.

1445 The CO, IO and Coy Commanders of 1 RIrF arrived at Bttn HQ.

CO takes them to OP. Bttn relief to take place on night 26/27 November.

1605 Mortar Platoon engage active mortar at rear of Anzellara.

1900 11 Platoon B Coy report transport moving on Muiano road. Engaged by RA.

2030 Three mortar bombs to right of Bttn HQ in valley.

2100 B Coy patrol out.

25th November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0030 B Coy patrol returns. Report – Lt Gladitz stated that the patrol reached 012302 without incident. Lay up in this area and heard mules moving in area Vinchi 015304 moving west. They then appeared in turn and moved south behind Tamagnin. Transport also heard in Cereto track area. Patrol on return was fired on by Spandau from area Point 342 but apparently beyond this as this point was mortared by the Bosche himself earlier on.

0040 B Coy platoon report Spandau firing tracers bearing 108 degree.

0200 C Coy informed that Spandau is firing from Tamagnin.

0320 Eight – ten mortar bombs between Bttn HQ and A Coy. No bearing established.

1200 The CO visits B Coy OP.

1220 Heavy mist descending on bttn area. CO ordered one section from each platoon to go forward and man their night positions.

1250 Six enemy mortar bombs land in B Coy’s area. No bearing obtained.

1400 Four mortar bombs in Bttn HQ area. No bearing obtained.

1425 The CO visits B Coy OP.

1430 Spandau reported firing from Point 318. Engaged with mortars and bren.

1440 CO returns to Bttn HQ.

1520 The enemy seen at door of house Tamagnin. Fire noticed inside house. Engaged by 3” mortars.

1525 C Coy observe shoot and report 4 direct hits on house.

1610 A Coy area mortared. Bearing 90 degrees from B Coy 003301.

1720 Twenty shells (light infantry gun) in area of Bttn HQ. No casualties. Bearing 70 degrees from 003301

1730 Spandau firing on a bearing of 85 degrees from 003301

1745 Heavy gun firing on a bearing of 40 degrees from 005298.

1945 Area 004296 mortared, rough bearing 50 degrees from 005299. Counter bombardment requested. Battery of Medium fire on MES.

2005 C Coy report much movement in Tamagnin. OC C Coy looking into the prospect of firing brens and 2” mortars into house. No action.

Sgt Morrison reports shouting occurred after our own mortars harassed the house at 2000 hrs.

2110 Spasmodic shelling of area to right of Mortar Platoon.

2225 Two mortars firing on bearings of 45 and 80 degrees from B Coy OP.

C Coy report mortaring and ask if A Coy can give bearing. Answer is no.

2335 Light gun firing on bearing from 004301, 25 degrees magnetic. Shells falling in gully ahead.

26th November – SAN CLEMENTE.

0025 C Coy report 3 casualties from enemy mortaring. Phosphorous bombs were used. L/Cpl Scobie, Fusilier Carliss and O’Reilly.

0110 Mortar bombs in C Coy area. No casualties. No HSR.

0140 C Coy report mortaring, firing on bearing 85 degrees from 00453055, area being shelled unknown.

0145 Bttn HQ track harassed by MG fire. No HSR.

0715 Four Italian civvies come into our lines. They give valuable information about enemy in Tamagnin area.

1000 3” mortar fire 60 rounds on Tamagnin and 50 on Point 166.

1100 CO and O Group 1 RIrF arrive at Bttn HQ.

1200 Italian civilians interrogated by FSS representative. Much valuable information received.

1610 Bttn HQ relieved.

1630 B Coy relieved.

1710 A Coy relieved.

1825 C Coy relieved.

Bttn marched on embussing point and embussed Proceeded to Castel San Martino for rest. Major Mathew had arranged billeting. 

27th November – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

0230 Bttn in Castro San Martino.

1000 CO visits all coys and rearranged billeting and accommodation.

1600 CO’s conference in Command Post. Captain ET Irving appointed OC HQ Coy temporarily. Lt Col RH Scott visits Bttn HQ.

28th November – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

0800 Leave to Florence for one day commences.

1700 B Coy personnel have accident with grenade. One killed and 7 wounded.

Lt Col RH Scott leaves.

29th November – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

1000 CO visits S Coy at Firenzuola.

1100 Message: the bttn to move to San Clemente at 0800 hrs 1st December received. Coys informed.

1500 Pipes and Drums beat retreat at Castro San Martino.

2000 CO holds party for WOs and Sgts in HQ Mess. Accident at Firenzuola. Sgt Smith killed.

30th November – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

1000 CO speaks to BM reference move of bttn. Not yet decided if we relived 2 LIR.

1100 Personnel for UK leave – Lt Smith, CQMS Rourke, L/Sgt Little, Fusilier Winfield. Leave Arezzo 5th Dec 44.

1400 Lt Bannister and Lt Young join bttn from 1 CRU.

1430 CO visits S Coy.

1700 CO returns.

1800 Admin orders for move issued.

2300 Order for move received from brigade. Bttn to relieve 2 LIR.