Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


6 Innisks – February 1944

1st February – CERRO.

Weather fine. Visibility variable (ground mist in morning).

0400 Patrol from B Coy to Mount Fosse (060420) returned. Nothing to report.

0400 Patrol from D Coy to Mount Curvale (070428) returned. Nothing to report.

0900 Advance party under Captain Griffiths left Bttn HQ for Busso (H4628).

1745 D and B Coys send out usual patrols to Mount Fosse and Mount Curvale.


2nd February – CERRO.

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind light.

1400 Preparations for the move to Busso (H4628) completed. Route cards issued.

1630 The column did not move off until this time owing to a delay caused through lack of sufficient petrol for the TCVs to take them to Busso.

1945 Arrived ar Busso.

Major Little rejoined this unit from hospital and assumes command of S Coy.

Capt EW Kendal relinquishes command of S Coy and is transferred to D Coy and assumes 2.i.c. of the coy.


3rd February – BUSSO.

Weather fine and cold. Visibility good, wind light.

0715 Holy Communication was held for C of Es.

1000 Brigade Commander visited the Bttn.

1600 Recreational transport was provided to take 20 men per coy to Campobasso daily at the same time.

The Bttn spent the day clearing up and admin checks.

2/Lieut CR Wilkie is transferred from D to A Coy.

2/Lieut R Phillips MM is appointed town mayor of Busso.

A leave party left for Campobasso during the day.

A circular on security was issued in sufficient quantity for distribution to platoons.


4th February – BUSSO.

Weather wet and cold. Visibility poor. Wind fresh.

Btttn cleaning up and checking G1098 stores.

0900 The CO inspected all billets.

1030 Brigade Commander visited the Bttn.

Lieut CD Beard will assume appointment of Sports Officer,


5th February – BUSSO.

Weather snowing hard. Visibility poor. Wind strong.

1000 RSM’s parade was held despite the inclement weather.

FFI inspections were carried out and baths were available for coys.

Location for training areas and trace issued by 2.i.c.


6th February – BUSSO.

0730 Holy Communion was held for C of Es.

0930 a voluntary morning service was held for C of Es and Mass was celebrated for the RCs.

A snowplough attached to a jeep was used to clear the Busso to Campobasso road.

The under mentioned officers joined this unit and are posted to coys as shown.

Capt AG Kemp HQ Coy as IO, Captain RJT Irwin A Coy, Lieut H Cross D Coy.

Captain EW Kendal OC D Coy made a recce of the training area.

A leave party left for Campobasso.


7th February – BUSSO.

Weather : snow hard, visibility poor, wind fresh.

Bttn training was to have commenced this morning, but owing to heavy snowfall during the night, it was impossible to carry out any training outside.

Personnel were employed digging paths through the snow. The Busso to Campobasso road is now bound. A jeep was again employed in towing a snowplough and eventually cleared the road.

Small arms training was carried out in billets.

An Information Room is opened by the I section for the use of officers and ORs.

Daily recreational transport to Campobasso will leave Bttn HQ at 1500hrs as opposed to 1600hrs notified on 3rd February.


8th February – BUSSO

Weather: snowing, visibility poor, wind light.

Conditions of ground outside still unsuitable for outdoor training. Small arms training is continued in billets. Digging parties were sent out to clear the roads of snow. The road to Campobasso was impassable in the evening. Three Bttn officers were unable to return until the next day.


9th February – BUSSO.

Weather; snowing, visibility poor, wind fresh.

The Bttn continued to carry out indoor training.

A case of diphtheria has occurred in the bttn within the last few days. The section concerned is in quarantine and is therefore out of bounds to all ranks. A Sergeants’ mess meeting is held.

A sand table model is completed by the I section for indoor exercises.


10th February – BUSSO.

Weather: fine, visibility good, wind fresh.

In the morning, the bttn was employed on indoor training in the afternoon.

Coys went for a ‘run and walk’.

A Battle Inoculation Course has been started for men with no battle experience.

1100 The Brigadier paid a social visit to the bttns and was introduced to all new officers.

Baths were available for coys.

Three officers and 75 ORs left for the 8th Army rest camp, San Spirito near Bari.

Recreational transport was available for the first time in 3 days.

A Bttn Hall is inaugurated and is named ‘Sangro Hall’.

B Coy held a concert and, with the help of some local civilians, had an enjoyable time.

2/Lieut R Phillips MM is transferred to HQ Coy and appointed Pioneer and Salvage Officer.

The under mentioned Bttn appointments will take effect from today:

Captain AC Kemp Bttn Gas Training officer, 2/Lieut CR Wilkie Educational Officer, Lieut JR Stewart Bttn Entertainments Officer. 


11th February – BUSSO.

Weather: snow and sleet, visibility poor, wind strong.

Bttn continued to carry out indoor training, weapon training, lectures etc.

A Coy held a ‘sing song’, a good time was had by all.

2/Lieut Wilkie gave his coy a lecture on mules, which they found interesting.

B Coy held an inter platoon quiz, which caused intense competition.


12th February – BUSSO.

Weather: overcast, visibility fair, wind fresh.

The Bttn carried out training, weapon training, compass instruction lectures etc.

1330 A leave party left for the ‘Gazelle Club’ in Campobasso on short notice.

2/Lieut B Jackson assumes the appointment of a Bttn Sports Officer during the absence on duty of Lieut CD Beard.

Lieut AJ Wilton rejoined this unit and is posted to C Coy.


13th February – BUSSO.

Weather fine and cold. Visibility good, Wind light.

Today was declared a Bttn holiday and there were no parades.

0930 Voluntary church services were held for C of Es and RCs.

1100 Thirty men per coy went to Campobasso for the day.

1400 A Bttn O Group was held, something in the wind, it looks as if 13 is an unlucky number. We now learn that we are under 12 hours notice to move to an unknown destination.

A Coy held another ‘sing song’, and D Coy a concert.


14th February – BUSSO.

Weather fine and cold. Visibility fair, wind fresh.

The Bttn spent the day packing up and preparing for the move.

1400 A talk was given by the CO to all ranks about the spreading of rumours and the proposed move

1530 A warning order was issued for an advance party.

1700 The Bttn Entertainments’ Officer held a conference, representatives from each coy attended.

1800 A meeting was held by the Sports Officer.

1830 The padre gave instruction in the Italian language.

2045 The advance party under the 2.i.c. left for the new area.

2359 A Bttn O Group was held to complete details for the move and a movement order was issued.

36 TCVs arrived during the day for the move.


15th February – BUSSO.

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind fresh.

0005 Admin Order No 10 issued in conjunction with the Movement Order 14 Feb 1944.

0500 Reveille.

0800 The Bttn was embossed and ready to move, the column started on its way at 0820. It was a long and pretty weary journey and at the last moment our destination was changed.


16th February – BELLONA.

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind fresh.

The Bttn spent the day cleaning up after the move, reorganising billets and checking admin points.

1150 A message was received from brigade instituting a one way circuit from the main Capua road – Bellona – Vitulazio and back to the main road. Traces and covering letters were issued to all concerned.


17th February – BELLONA.

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind fresh.

All coys went for route marches in the morning. Later all coy weapons were tested on the range.

0900 The Divisional Commander accompanied by the Brigadier visited the Bttn.

1630 The rear party arrived from Busso.

1800 All officers attended the CO’s conference to discuss standing OOs and new amendments.

Baths were available for the coys in the afternoon.


18th February – BELLONA.

Weather fine. Visibility good, Wind fresh.

The coys went on route marches and the Snipers and Signals Courses have been resumed.

0945 The Brigadier visited the bttn.

1100 Twenty officers and 20 senior NCOs went to Caserta to hear an address given by the Divisional Commander, Major General Keightley.

D Coy had a kit inspection in the afternoon.

A special ‘order of the day’ was received by Brigadier N Russell DSO MC, commanding 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade.

Lieut RB Miles rejoined this unit and is posted to B Coy.

B Coy held a ‘sing song’ at which vino flowed freely.


19th February – BELLONA.

Weather fine and overcast. Visibility good, Wind fresh.

Coys carried out field training, which consisted of section and platoon handling.

1030 Twenty five officers and men went to Naples on a day pass.

The Bttn received an allotment for 50 men to go to the cinema at Capua.

2/Lieut R Phillips MM is appointed town mayor of Bellona,

A Coy held a ‘sign song’ around the cook house fire in the evening.


20th February – BELLONA.

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind fresh.

The bttn carried out normal training.

0800 Men of the Jewish faith left Bttn HQ for a service in Naples, as advertised in ‘Stars and Stripes’.

0930 A voluntary church service was held for C of Es.

1030 Mass was celebrated by the RCs in Bellona church.

1115 The Brigadier visited the bttn.

In the afternoon, the bttn played a game of football against the 152 Field Ambulance and lost by two goals to one.


21st February – BELLONA.

Weather fine overcast. Visibility good. Wind light.

A Coy went on a coy exercise using 38 wireless sets, with two sets of mortars attached. Other coys carried out section training and platoon schemes.

FFI inspections, road ‘walk and run’, lectures etc.

1120 The new Brigade Commander Brigadier TPD Scott DSO visited the bttn and stayed to lunch, when he was introduced to all officers.

The under mentioned officers have been promoted to war substantive rank of Lieutenant wef today: 2/Lieuts JV Sorrel-Walker MM, LJ Greene, BN Jackson.

CSM RP Whitfield will take over CSM of A Coy on the posting of CSM Stevenson to Rear Division HQ.

 A boxing match was held against the 1 RIrF – as usual we lost by 16pts to 14.


22nd February – BELLO

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind light.

B Coy carried out the same exercise as set for A Coy on 21 February. Other coys went on the range and carried out normal training.

Shrove Tuesday was celebrated by the issue of pancakes in all messes.

The Battle Platoon has reformed under the command of Lieut FJ Walker MM.

A whist drive was held with great success. The padre was disappointed in not winning the booby prize.


23rd February – BELLONA.

Weather wet. Visibility fair. Wind fresh.

D Coy carried out coy scheme with support group as set for A and B Coys.

Other coys carried out normal training including route marches and road ‘Run and Walk’. Lieut-Colonel BL Bryar relinquishes command of the bttn and Lieut-Colonel HEN Bredin MC takes over command.

Personnel from Ireland and scenes of the bttn including a bathing scene were taken by army photographers.


24th February – BELLONA.

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind fresh.

0900 The CO inspected all billets.

The coys carried out normal training including defence and attack schemes, route marches etc.

1200 A lecture was given to the bttn by the ADMS 78 Division on VD.

1730 A CO training conference is to be held daily while in this area.

1830 A bttn concert is held with great success.

1900 The Brigade Major visited the CO with reference to training with assault boats.

An assault boat training timetable is issued. Training Instructions No 1.

A church army canteen has been opened in Bellona.

The new RSM arrived today, RSM B Slattery, on the departure of RSM Reilly.


25th February – BELLONA.

Weather overcast – showery, visibility fair, wind fresh.

B Coy carried out a pillbox assault using live ammunition. There was one casualty from shrapnel from a PIAT bomb. Other coys carried out assault boat training route marches etc.

1730 The CO’s Training Conference is held.

1740 The Brigadier visited the bttn.

1900 Coys carried  out schemes including recce patrols.

Lieut RB Miles is transferred from B to HQ Coy and appointed MTO.

A brigade sports meeting was held in the afternoon, many men and officers attended.

A number of officers and men of the 2nd Bttn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers visited this bttn most of them having been with the bttn before.


26th February – BELLANA.

Weather wet, visibility fair, wind light.

There was no outdoor training owing to the bad weather. Weapon training was carried out and lectures given on the situation on the Anzio bridgehead and around Cassino.

1315 The Brigadier paid a social visit to the bttn.

1730 The CO held his daily conference. The subjects dealt with were

  1. A recce to be made for a bttn exercise including a river crossing.
  2. Discussion on observations of the river crossings by 2 LIR.
  3. Admin points.

The CO agreed to the employment of two civilians in each coy cookhouse. Their particulars to be registered in Bttn HQ.

Lieut PA Hamilton rejoined this unit from hospital and is posted to B Coy.


27th February – BELLANA.

Weather wet, visibility fair, wind fair.

Owing to heavy rain, it was not possible to do any outdoor training and the day was taken up with inside work such as lectures; in particular the 5th Army front, tactical handling of weapons and a complete check of kit.

0930 Divine services were held for C of Es and RCs.

1200 The bttn was addressed by the new CO Lieut-Col HEN Bredin MC. He introduced himself and brought out some points, which he wants carried out.


28th February – BELLANO.

Weather overcast, visibility good, wind light.

A bttn exercise was held to practise control in a night attack.

1830 The CO held his conference and the points discussed were:

  1. The bttn exercise – lessons learnt.
  2. Tuesday A and B Coys to practise river crossings with a night exercise.
  3. Wednesday evening patrol exercise.
  4. A duty piper each day and the pipes and drums to play at Guard Mounting when available.

A boxing tournament was held between 2 LIR and 1 RIrF. Many officers and men attended. In the evening, a bttn concert was held in which a number of guest artistes from 10 Forward Battery took part. It was a good show and very much appreciated by those who attended.


29th February – BELLANA.

Weather showers, visibility good, wind light.

The bttn carried out normal training, including river crossings with assault boats, 30 yards range etc.

1730 The CO held his daily conference, subjects discussed were:

  1. TEWT and bttn exercise with tanks.
  2. Wednesday – night patrols. Each company to find a patrol and one officer as an umpire.
  3. Admin points.