38 (Irish) Brigade – September 1944

1st September – SIDI BISHR.

Individual training by battalions during the morning and sports and recreation in the afternoon.

Range allotments at Aboukir and Amiryia.

2nd September – SIDI BISHR.

Individual training by battalions.

Sports and recreation during the afternoon.

Range allotments at Aboukir and Amyria.

GHQ Movement Control Order No 6 S 883 received.

This order gives details of embarkation and the necessary instruction to be carried out prior to the move.

2 LIR,2 Innisks, Brigade HQ and 152 Field Ambulance to go on one ship. 1 RIrF to go separately on another. No information received as to date of departure.

3rd September – SIDI BISHR.

Individual training by battalions and allotments on the open range at Aboukir and Amyria. Sports and recreation in the afternoon. Brigade Commander in Cairo. He is to stay there on the night of 3 /4 September and then fly to Italy at 0130 hrs on the 5th.

Lt-Col Preston, GI 78th Division, visits Brigade HQ.

4th September – SIDI BISHR.

Individual training by battalions. Sports and recreation in the afternoon.

5th September – SIDI BISHR.

Brigade Commander flies to Italy, leaves Cairo West aerodrome at 0120 hrs.

Individual battalions by battalions.

Brigade HQ play 2 LIR at cricket at Mustapha Barracks. 2 LIR won by 8 runs.

6th September – SIDI BISHR.

No 16 Area Embarkation Order No 8 received.

Date of departure and embarkation is confirmed as am on the 9th.

Battalions and Brigade HQ commence packing up of stores and baggage preparatory to loading. They also commence to hand in Welfare and Accommodation stores.

7th September – SIDI BISHR.

Training periods continue by battalions.

Sports and recreation carried out in morning and afternoon by battalions.

Striking of camps and handing in of Accommodation and Welfare stores commences

8th September – SIDI BISHR.

Heavy baggage parties leave to load baggage on to the ships.

Final verbal orders from ESO received. Last minute revisions in numbers checked up and timings for transport arranged.

Brigade HQ and 2 Innisks to leave at 1030 hrs.

38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade Embarkation Order issued giving full details of movement and embarkation at docks.

Final tentage and accommodation stores in to permanent Camp Staff at Sidi Bishr.

9th September – SIDI BISHR.

Embarkation at Alexandria Docks commences.

0800 2 Innisks and Brigade HQ leave present area in transport. They arrive at docks at 0915 hrs and commence embarkation on HMT Staffordshire.

1030 2 LIR, 152 Field Ambulance and 1 RIrF leave present camp area in transport for the docks. 2 LIR and 152 Field Ambulance arrive at docks at 1115 hrs and commence embarkation on HMT Staffordshire.

1 RIrF go to another quay on the docks and embark at the same time on HMT Durham Castle.

1300 All units now complete on board ship.

Convoy remained in port during the night.

No shore leave allowed.

There was a shortage of NAAFI Supplies on board, so arrangements were made after some difficulty for a truck to come to the docks in the morning to deliver cigarettes, matches and soap, sufficient to keep the troops going for a voyage.

10th September – ALEXANDRIA.

Convoy remains in port.

NAAFI Supplies arrive safely and issued to units on board.

Ex MEF hospital personnel arrive at the docks and taken on board.

This overcrowded the mess decks to a certain extent, but it was better to take the men with us than leave them stranded in MEF for several weeks.

11th September – AT SEA.

0500 Convoy sails from Alexandria Docks. Quiet sea. All units on board settle down to the voyage.

Boat Stations practised twice during the day.

12th September – AT SEA.

At Sea. Quiet day. No disturbances.

Boat Stations practised two times during the day and once at night.

13th September – AT SEA.

At sea. Quiet day. 

14th September – AT SEA.

At sea. Quiet day. Sea a little rougher than past few days. Strong wind blowing.

15th September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

0800 Convoy enters outer boom of Taranto Docks.

0900 HMT Staffordshire pulls alongside Oil Jetty ‘B’ and disembarkation commences at 0945 hrs.

Order of disembarkation: 2 Innisks, 2 LIR, 152 Field Ambulance and Brigade HQ. 1 RIrF on the Durban Castle

Were ferried off by lighters commencing at 1400 hrs.

1400 All units from HMT Staffordshire in Alexandra Camp at P 735206.

1800 1 RIrF established in camp in Brigade area.

Baggage from ship’s holds arrives during the afternoon and evening.

16th September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

Units commence organising camps and time spent in administrative details such as checking stores, ammunition, cleaning weapons and the customary items after a long move.

Brigade Training Instruction issued showing training areas allotted and the policy to be adopted during the next week.

All transport and wireless equipment to be checked and repaired as quickly as possible and made battle worthy. 

17th September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

Divine Service held by all battalions and Brigade HQ during the morning.

1000 Brigade Commander attends Commanders’ Conference at Divisional HQ. Main items of the conference concerned various policies to be adopted in the Division. AA protections, PAD Schemes and on possible role in the future. No definite information could be given on this subject but everyone was warned to be ready to move to a concentration area by the 25th.

18th September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

Battalions carry out individual and specialist training.

Brigade Commander goes into hospital for a few days for observation. Suffering from slight fever.

19th September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

Battalions carry out individual and specialist training.

1000 Divisional Commander visits Brigade. Met by Lt-Col Bredin, acting Brigade Commander and visits all three battalions and 152 Field Ambulance.

20th September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

Warning Order received for move of advance and main bodies to forward concentration area.

Planning parties, consisting of the commander, COs and a Staff Officer to go on the 23rd. Advance parties to leave on 24th and the main body on the 25th.

Reinforcement companies of all three battalions to be at readiness to move to 3 CRU from 1000 hrs tomorrow.

Battalions carry out individual training, range work and specialist cadres.

Brigade Commander comes out of hospital.

21st September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

0700 Brigade Commander visits 152 Field Ambulance and 1 RIrF.

1100 Conference for Battalion Adjutants and representatives of the Brigade Group to give details of move to concentration area.

Battalions carry out individual and specialist training.

22nd September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

Battalions carry out individual and specialist training.

38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade Movement Order No 15 issued giving full details of the move to a forward concentration  area near Fano S 2070.

The whole distance to be done in MT covering three days. 150 miles on each of the first two days and 85 miles on the third.

The following units to be under command, forming the Brigade Group, for the move:

2 Innisks.

2 LIR.

1 RIrF.

A Squadron, 56 Recce.

17 Field Regiment, RA.

254 A/Tk Battery, RA.

280 LAA Battery, RA.

214 Field Company, RE.

281 Field Pack Company, RE.

D Coy 1 Kensingtons, No 3 Mortar Platoon.

237 RASC Coy.

152 Field Ambulance.

38 Brigade Wksps Coy, REME.

1800 Brigade Pipe Band played Retreat in 2 LIR lines. There was a short party afterwards in the Officers Mess at which the Divisional Commander, Brigade Commander, Officers of the Brigade Group and colonel JRL Macnamara MP were present.

2 Innisks held an Officers’ Dance from 2000 – 2359 hrs.

23rd September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

Battalions carry out individual and specialist training.

Battalions commence to pack up camp and hand in heavy and surplus stores.

Battledress issued and all KD handed in to stores.

0900 Commander and Administration Parties leave for concentration area at Fano.

Brigade Commander is accompanied by Lt Col Bredin, Commander 2 LIR, and Lt Col Horsfall, Commander 1 RIrF.

Lt Col Scott, Commander 2 Innisks, assumes command of the Brigade Group for move to concentration area.

1100 Major RT Wilson TD lectures to the following officers on Counter Mortar Organisation within the Division.

Lt Col Scott, Second in Commands and Adjutants of Battalions, and Brigade Staff.

In future, two RA officers will be permanently attached to Brigade HQ during operations to deal with the destruction and neutralisation of enemy mortars. 

24th September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

Battalions commence striking camp in preparation for an early start the following morning.

R Coys of the three battalions leave during the afternoon and are posted as 1st line reinforcements to No 3 CRU near Ancona.

25th September – DIVISIONAL CAMP.

0500 Head of Brigade Group convoy passes SP on first stage of the journey to the forward concentration area.

Order of March as follows:

HQ, 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade.

152 Field Ambulance.

2 Innisks.

2 LIR.

1 RIrF.

A Squadron, 56 Recce.

280 LAA Battery, RA.

17 Field Regiment, RA.

214 Field Company, RE.

281 Field Pack Company, RE.

254 A/Tk Battery, RA.

D Coy, 1 Kensingtons.

38 Brigade Workshops and LAD.

1200 Halts for one hour from 1200 – 1300 hrs for tea meal.

1430 Head of convoy arrives at Staging Area just outside San Severo (J 1040). Tail of column and all units in by 1800 hrs. LAD and unit fitters coping with various vehicles broken down on the road.

26th September – IN TRANSIT.

0500 Head of column leaves Staging Area San Severo (J 1040).

Order of March of convoy remains the same.

Very heavy rain during the latter part of the night made the tracks difficult but there were no major mishaps

Heavy rain during the morning.

27th September – NEAR FANO.

0500 Brigade Convoy leave Staging Area for concentration area at Fano S 2070.

Order of March of convoy remains the same.

1130 Head of column arrives at concentration area on Fano – Fossambrone road.

All units of Brigade Group disperse to own unit area in Divisional Concentration Area.

Brigade locations as follows:

HQ 38 (Irish) Brigade – S 184708.

2 Innisks – S 191700.

2 LIR – S 193697.

1 RIrF – S 195693.

254 A/Tk Battery RA – S 185692.

152 Field Ambulance – S 189696.

D Coy, 1 Kensingtons – S 190718.

Camps are pitched during the afternoon and then everyone rests after the tiring journey.

28th September – NEAR FANO.

Battalions carry out administrative duties in laying out and improving the camp sites and also the checking of equipment and the cleaning of weapons.

Brigade Commander visits all units of the Brigade Group during the morning.

Lt Col Horsfall and Lt Col Bredin visit the Brigade Commander at 1600 hrs to discuss various administratively details.

1930 Brigade was allotted 35 seats an ENSA show in Fano. The Brigade Commander attended the performance, which was fairly enjoyable

29th September – NEAR FANO.

Very heavy rain during the night.

0900 Brigade Commander attends a Conference with Divisional Commander to discuss future policy, future reorganisations and various points on training.

1400 Brigade Commander holds a Conference. The follow officers were present: COs, 2 Innisks, 2 LIR, 1 RIrF. OC, 214 Field Company; OC 254 A/Tk Battery; OC, 280 LAA Battery, RA; CO, 17 Field Regiment, RA; OC, D Coy, 1 Kensingtons; OC, 152 Field Ambulance. Brigade staff.

Brigade Commander outlined the points made out in his conference with the Divisional Commander during the morning.

The main points were that the Division would still be going to 5 Corps and that our immediate role was still not definite, everything depending on how well the present plan succeeded:

The certain changes in the organisation were that:

The Kensingtons (Support Bttn) would be getting eight extra 4.2” mortars, making them up to their previous establishment.

The fourth A/Tk Battery was to be disbanded.

That when battalions came below a strength of 30 and 700, they would revert to a three company basis instead of four rifle coys.

Various points of training were raised, including a few lessons learnt in the recent fighting on the Rimini front, which the Brigade Commander wished to be emphasised to all commanders.

30th September – NEAR FANO.

Battalions carry out individual and specialist training.

1st and 2nd line ammunition delivered to all units.

Major Holmes, 2.i.c. RIrF leaves. He is going to take up the appointment of G 1 SD at GHQ MEF.