Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


38 (Irish) Brigade – July 1943

 1st July – HAMMAMET.

1430 General Montgomery addressed all the Officers of the Division. Apart from welcoming us to 8th Army, he outlined his general philosophy of warfare: a) Allow no failures. b) Limit scope to what you command. c) Wait until you are 100% ready.


2nd July – HAMMAMET.

Special order of the day from Commander 5 Corps received.


3rd July – HAMMAMET.

Lt-Col TPD Scott relinquished command of 2 LIR, posted to 12 Infantry Brigade as acting Brigadier.

Major APK O’Connor commands 2 LIR.

Orders for move to Sousse area issued.

Brigade night exercise “Tryout” – 3 to 4 July.

Instructions for Sousse area move issued.

Captain MJ Glenn admitted to 98 General Hospital. Lieut GE Cole appointed acting IO.


4th July – HAMMAMET.

Instructions and move table for Sousse area issued.

Aims in concentration area Sousse issued.


5th July – HAMMAMET.

Brigade Signals Exercise.


6th July – HAMMAMET.

Brigade Exercise “Marathon” for Brigade HQ and Bttns.


7th July – HAMMAMET.

RE and Support Group concentration area K3136 reached 0430hrs 7 July.

Brigade Exercise “Marathon” – Attack by 2 LIR (left), 6 Innisks (right), 1 RIrF (reserve) down valley area K2733 starting 0600hrs. Mountain attack. Bttns layup – 6 Innisks K2833, 2 LIR 275327, 1 RIrF K316365, Brigade HQ K293374. Return route via tracks K275377 south east to road 348310 thence north east to road junction 365369 to road junction 392347, where tea was issued and much appreciated by all ranks. Return route continued via Grombalia – Sousse road. All units were within lines by 0800hrs.


9th July – HAMMAMET.

Advance parties from Brigade HQ and units under command and in support left for new area Sousse.


10th July – IN TRANSIT.

38 Brigade left for area Sousse. Via Camp Bou Ficha (K3804), Enfidaville (K3892), Kairouan road for area Churchill (P4151). Movement tables see Appendix. Brigade locations as shown in tracing.


11th July – SOUSSE.

AM CO’s conference at Brigade HQ.

Brigade Major gave talk to all Brigade HQ personnel ref the Allied invasion of Sicily, developments and topography.

Brigade Security Instruction No 3 issued.


12th July – SOUSSE.

Brigade Admin Order No 1 issued.

Personal message from Army Commander.


13th July – SOUSSE.

Major H Rogers (1 RIrF) appointed Commander of 2 LIR.


14th July – SOUSSE.

Lieut CMP North attached this HQ. Brigade Training tables issued.


16th July – SOUSSE.

T/Captain CPJD O’Farrell relinquished appointment as Staff Captain on posting to 1 RIrF.


17th July – SOUSSE.

Brigadier N Russell MC addressed personnel of Brigade HQ, Signals Section, and Support Group at Brigade HQ on the campaign in Sicily. Afterwards, the Brigadier addressed the bttn in their own lines.

1000 Brigade advance party left for new area. South of Sousse (P6248).


18th July – SOUSSE.

Brigade HQ, Bttns, Support Group, 152 Field Ambulance, and 214 Field Company RE moved to new area south of Sousse (P6248) via Kalaa Apira (P5251), Sousse ((P5952) move commenced at 2015hrs. Marching personnel went by direct route across country.

2300 Brigade HQ established P629483.


20th July – SOUTH OF SOUSSE.

1015 Lieut North, 1 East Surreys and Sergeant Colwill, Corps Military Police attached this HQ. Both killed by enemy mine, which exploded when their jeep was passing through wadi at P637483.

Brigade training area issued.

Brigadier N Russell’s story of the Irish Brigade attached.

6 Innisks’ Exercise “Blister” area P6521.

6 Innisks’ History of Bttn in Tunisia in Appendix.


21st July – SOUTH OF SOUSSE.

Brigade training area issued.

2 LIR on Exercise “Blister” in area P6521.


22nd July – SOUTH OF SOUSSE.

Brigade Operation Instruction No 2 issued.

1 RIrF on Exercise “Blister” in area P6521.


23rd July – SOUTH OF SOUSSE.

2000 Brigadier N Russell and Major CPJD O’Farrell (1 RIrF) left Brigade HQ en route for new location.


25th JulySOUTH OF SOUSSE.

1800 Brigade HQ moved to assembly area (P6050) and lay up for the night.


26th July – SOUSSE.

1130 Brigade HQ moved from assembly area to Sousse docks to embark. HQ was split up to three parties; Brigade Major, BTO (Captain Nightingale), and OC, Signals Section (Captain Parsons). Personnel and vehicles were distributed accordingly on three different MT carrying vessels. Loading was completed by 1600hrs, and the vessels lay off Sousse, until the convoy, approximately at midnight.


27th July – AT SEA.

Brigade HQ spent a very unhappy day aboard HM Transports on a choppy sea, which laid many low, irrespective of rank, for the majority of the journey. Fortunately the wind ceased with the fall of night.


28th July – SICILY.

0700 Sicily sighted.

0915 MT Transport unloading on beach (J0920) and MT and personnel proceeded to concentration area (J0620) Cassibile, with the exception of Brigade Major’s party, otherwise all Brigade HQ. MT and personnel were in concentration area by 1600hrs.

1600 Captain Nightingale ((BTO) received orders to proceed to 78 Division concentration area Mineo (H6152) at once.

1745 Brigade HQ left concentration area (J0620)  and proceeded to Mineo (H6152) via Floridia (J0232) and Palazzolo (H8030).

2045 Convoy halted about 5 miles past Palazzolo and Captain Nightingale (office in charge of convoy) was advised by CMP control that to proceed in the hours of darkness (lights not allowed) was extremely dangerous owing to the precipitous nature of the route; in consequence, Brigade HQ leaguered for the night in area (H7735).


29th July – SICILY.

0515 Brigade HQ continued via Bucherri ((H7537) and Vizzini ((H6741) to Mineo (H6152). From Mineo, on its peak, the convoy entered the divisional concentration area and proceeded to brigade concentration area (H5173) Albospino.

1400 Brigade HQ established at Albospono (H518730). Bttns were disposed as shown on trace, attached as appendix (6 Innisks – 528728, 2 LIR – 505722, 1 RIrF – 517723, Support Group – 502723.

17 Field Regiment, 254/64 A/Tk Regiment, 280/49 LAA and 214 Field Company RE were detached from 38 Brigade Group. 38 (Irish) Brigade Operational Order No 6 issued as Appendix.


30th July – SICILY.

Brigade Major’s party arrived here 1200hrs. Camp Commandant and advance party left for new area. Major MF Douglas Pennant resumed appointment of Brigade Major.

Brigade Major made recce of new Brigade area.

1130 Brigade HQ, Bttns and Support Group moved to Brigade concentration area 5179, arriving in new area approximately 0400/31, after a gruelling journey over bad track.


31st July – SICILY.

2/Lieut JS Page Backhouse attached this HQ as 2.i.c. Signals Section.

0915 6 FW 190s made low level attack on Brigade area dropping three or four light bombs and machine gunning. No damage or casualties.

1200 Camp Commandant and advance party left for new area.

Purchase of mules and muleteers.



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