6 Innisks – September 1943

1st September – PATTI. 

Training programme includes: field firing, house fighting and town fighting in a bombed street in Patti and beach landings on a week to week basis. First issue of three day course of Quinine tablets. Newly formed battle patrol moved to training area at C915466. 

2nd September – PATTI.

Routine visit to FSP.

Concert given in LIR area “Stars in Battledress.”

3rd September – PATTI.

Lieut Hamilton admitted to MDS.

4th September – PATTI.

0430 Duty Coy (A Coy) out to patrol beach on report of enemy vessels off shore (this was later found to be a false report). The following awards were notified: Lt-Col Grazebrook DSO; Major Crocker, Lieut McClinton and Lieut Hewitt MCs; L/Cpl Apling D Coy and L/Cpl Shaw HQ Coy MMs.

5th September – PATTI.

Bttn church parade. National day of prayer. 1 section of pioneers left to train with battle patrol.

6th September – PATTI.

Reinforcement draft strength arrived. It consisted of Bttn personnel from hospital and a large proportion of Royal Fusiliers (from 4th Division); a welcome addition bringing the battalion to about WE.

8th September – PATTI.

Great enthusiasm shown when the capitulation of Italy was announced – Officers’ Mess held a Guest Night after which the pipes played for Irish folk dancing. The Brigadier was present.

9th September – PATTI.

Coy officers attended a demonstration of infantry in an assault landing.

1030 The Brigadier visits the Bttn and talks of men of the new intake.

10th September – PATTI.

B & D Coys on Bttn exercise (beach landing). Rum ration issued at night to celebrate armistice with Italy. SS platoon start two day course on explosives given by Divisional REs.

12th September – PATTI.

Church parade. Captain Kendal takes over duty of adjutant. Captain Norman assumes command of S Coy, and Lieut Griffiths takes over duties of IO. Lieut Hamilton cross posted to D Coy. Swimming gala in the afternoon won by HQ Coy.

13th September – PATTI.

CO and Coy officers went to a demonstration by 4 Field Regiment RA in area C9639.

14th September – PATTI.

Mobile Film Unit visits Bttn TAB inoculation for B Coy.

15th September – PATTI.

152 Field Ambulance gave concert in LIR area.

More TAB innoculations given.

17th September – PATTI.

Bttn held night exercise in area 8849c. Bttn in attack by night.

18th September – PATTI.

SS platoon returned to Bttn. First part of the Bttn to move went to Syracuse to embark to Italy. Some new vehicles arrived to complete.

19th September – PATTI.

0500 2 i/c, Pioneer Officer and Coy reps left for Taranto. Church parade. I Conference at Brigade. Mortar carriers left Catania.

20th September – PATTI.

Bttn route march Patti area (22 miles). This is the first march of any length for some time.

21st September  – PATTI.

Preparation for move, Battle platoon swimming test. All passed but two. Swimming greatly improved in the Bttn. As a result of our stay at sea, SS platoon raided Bttn. Patrols of 3-4 men – very successful

22nd September – PATTI.

Packing and loading of transport ready for move. Transport lined up for move at 1900hrs. Moved off the following morning at 0530hrs. Transport reached Messina and waited their turn to cross to Reggio but darkness prevented a crossing.

23rd September – PATTI.

Bttn, almost to a man, was bathing in the afternoon, when the order came into move at 1600hrs (Coys were ready to move at 1605hrs – a very good performance). A, B & C Coys moved off to Milazzo at 1800hrs having had to wait for transport. Bttn HQ, and HQ and D Coys warned to move at 2100hrs, at which hour transport arrived. CO decided to move off at 0430hrs. Troops slept near transport.

Bttn transport left Messina at 0630hrs and was complete in Reggio by 0830hrs. Transport left Reggio at 1045hrs and had a good journey in good roads to a place on the coast (Z4440) after a run of 120 miles.

24th September.

0400 Reveille.

0430 Moved off to Milazzo arriving here at Milazzo – majority of personnel bathed before breakfast (0830hrs).

Embarked on Ulster Monarch and Royal Ulsterman at 1030hrs. Sailed at 1400hrs. Sea calm during voyage, which was without incident. MT reached Crotone at 1000hrs, refuelled and left again at 1110hrs. Roads became bad and in some cases were unfinished.

25th September – ITALY.

MT reached Cariati by night where halt was called.

Bttn reached Taranto. Disembarkation began 1000hrs and completed by 1515hrs.

Bttn left dock area for Divisional concentration area. Marching personnel concentrated by 1615hrs. MT reached a point 8 miles from Taranto after a hard journey over unfinished roads. M/Cs suffered on this road.

27th September – ITALY.

Transport arrived at Taranto at 0800hrs. Carriers and Mortar platoon were already there.

28th September – ITALY.

Bttn route march.

29th September – ITALY.

Transport left for concentration area for Andria at 0800hrs.

Marching personnel left for Railway Station – Narsasi – at 0930hrs arriving at 1030hrs. Midday meal served at 1230hrs. Entrained at 1345hrs but owing to non arrival of engine, departure was delayed until 1730hrs.

30th September – ITALY.

Uncomfortable night spent on train. Breakfast at 0700hrs – monotonous journey. Detrained at Barletta at 1500hrs, orders for Trani having been cancelled. Hot tea served to Bttn, who then marched to Andria, where camp was sited. Water facilities were very bad.

Coy commanders’ conference at 1730hrs.

CO attends conference at Brigade.