Sicily – 4th August 1943

(NA 5522): A Sherman tank moving at speed near Catania. Copyright: © IWM.


0545 1 RIrF reported a quiet night. Patrol from B Coy sent out to cross River Simeto and proceed along main road was not able to make progress owing to heavy LMG and mortar fire from the far bank. Patrol from A Coy not yet returned.

0845 2 LIR warned to be prepared to move at short notice.

0859 Brigade Commander inquired at 1 RIrF what offensive action they were making as it was not thought there were so many enemy capable of holding up so many of our troops.

0900 Small recce party from 2 LIR made recce of River Salso for crossing. No opposition.

1019 1 RIrF report their locations to be the same as on 2 August.

1140 BTO ordered to report to Tac HQ with W/T set for traffic control duty.

1150 Brigade Major issued orders for mules of all bttns to proceed to Centuripe on night of 4/5 August loaded with ammunition and rations.

1200 Division requested reports of all patrols entering Piano D’Aragona (6994) to be passed through RA channels to enable harassing fire programme to be switched

1213 Coy Commanders 6 Innisks ordered to report at HQ 6 Innisks at 1230hrs.

1420 Traffic Control timings for north bound traffic to Centuripe received.

1430 Camp Commandant made recce of new area for Brigade HQ for possible move night 4/5 August.

1500 Artillery barrage on objective north of Salso supporting brigade.

1630 Heavy Mortar Platoon 38 Brigade Support Group, in support of 1 RIrF assisted advance by engaging enemy on top and behind escarpment 668947. MMG Platoon engaged observed enemy and carried out harassing fire on road 697955 – 699958.

1715 2 LIR report objectives taken without casualties. 1 RIrF encountered some resistance. Present location of Brigade: Brigade HQ 661922, 6 Innisks 6894, 2 LIR 685953, 1 RIrF 688944. During the early hours of this morning, 38 Brigade pushed forward – right 1 RIrF, left 2 LIR.

Read the Brigade’s account of the crossing of the Salso river here.

1 RIrF.

Bttn ordered to establish a bridgehead over the river

1330 CO’s orders.

1500 B Coy on the left and A Coy on the right crossed the start line.

B Coy was held up for some time in the river.

A Coy got across and onto their objective.

C Coy was ordered to go through a Coy and wheel left along the river bank to assist B Coy. This was successful and B was able to get forward.

It was decided by the Brigadier only to hold the short bridgehead

Lt B St Q Power and Captain JS Clarke were wounded in this attack.

2000 Bttn held 684948.

While in this area, bttn was ordered to push and establish a bridgehead over the Simeto.

The Faughs at the Salso.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Daniel Enright, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Charles Mulcaster, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – CENTURIPE.

0600–0700 Vehicles moving around diversion past Bttn HQ raised dust, which brought down shellfire.

1100 OP reports  RIrF have reached river south of bridge 683947 (blown).

1230 CO returns from Brigade HQ. Explains bridgehead is to be formed over the River Salso.

1430 Command Group moves to HQ RIrF on cliff 678943.

1500 Bttn takes over position of RIrF as they move across river. The bridgehead was formed by RIrF right, LIR left with heavy barrage.

1700 Forward bttn well forward and consolidating Innisks’ position, forming local protection for RE bridging party. Two coys each side of river, but later the two rear coys were also ordered forward across river.

Spasmodic shelling till dusk and quiet night. Lieut RH Richardson wounded.

The Skins at the Salso.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier David Jones, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Sergeant John Loughrey, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Williams, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0900 Small patrol recces River Salso for possible motor transport crossing. None available. E Company arrive in almond grove East of Battalion HQ at 667936. They were shelled whilst arriving down the road from Centuripe. No vehicles were damaged but the Carrier Platoon sustained a few casualties.

1100 Recce patrols from F and H Companies cross River Salso. Enemy machine gun posts identified.

1200 Commanding Officers’ orders for the forming of the bridgehead across River Salso.

F Company right; E Company left followed by G and E Companies respectively.

1500 Artillery barrage commences prior to battalion attack. Companies begin to move forward and advance just behind the barrage. All objectives were successfully taken, only one or two positions being encountered and these mainly from the right flank where the 1 RIF were doing a similar task in forming the Brigade bridgehead.

1700 All companies on their objectives.

E Company 676959; F Company 686953; G Company 682950; H Company 680954.

1900 Battalion HQ move across river and established at 678953.

2100 G Company moves forward and take up positions on the South bank of the River Simeto.

2300 F Company move forward and take up positions on the left of G Company.

(NA 5599): 500 lb. Bombs in an abandoned dump. Copyright: © IWM. 

(NA 5546): A knocked out 88 mm gun position. In one of these pictures can be seen clouds of smoke from a burning enemy petrol dump. Copyright: © IWM. 

(NA 5562) Three Italian babies wait to be examined by an RAMC medical officer. Copyright: © IWM.