Royal Irish Fusiliers Dunkirk

Discussion in '1940' started by Montyjw, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Goughs 30 day account is in the war diary and that is as good as the month of May gets-There is nothing else. There may be some snippets in the Missing Men file for the battalion but they can be few and far between. The rest of the diary still exists which covers Sept 1939 to June 1940. It contains 237 pages inc Goughs account. I suspect TNA will charge you around £250 for a copy. I can let you have a copy for £23.70.
  2. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

    I know they will charge a fair bit. How do I go about getting this from you. Would like to get that. I am looking to get the war diaries for the while war for the 1st battalion up to 1946 when I believe they were doing occupation duties in Austria. I think my father was stationed around Villach at this time. That is from talking to him many years ago so I am not 100 percent, but it seems to be firmly in my mind. Can you confirm that for me
  3. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    On another thread, there was some discussion about the (varying) levels of details in each respective battalion's war diary.

    I attach a copy of a page from the Faughs' May 1945 diary and was interested to see that the entry for 1/2 May 1945 is "NTR"... sure..apart from the fact that the war in Italy came to an end on 2nd May 1945 !!

    The Faughs were with the Irish Brigade in Austria from May 1945 into 1946.. and after some "unpleasant" political work during May 1945, they had a rather nice time near Villach.. my Dad was there until March 1946 (last LIR man out - almost !!). Therapy for the warriors after 2 1/2 years away from home.


    Attached Files:

  4. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

    What's NTR? Glad that I wasn't wrong about Vilach. Thanks for that. Interesting about your dad. My dad's discharge from the army was 27 May 1946. They might have bumped into each other! Who knows when you say unpleasant political work, was that to do with what was Yugoslavia. Seems to ring another bell to me
  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Nothing to Report...

    If your Dad had been with the Faughs since they arrived in Algeria during Dec 1942, there is every chance of them bumping into each other in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy or Austria . My Dad arrived in Algiers on Nov 22nd Nov 1942.

    Yes - the issues were around "repatriations".. highly unpleasant at the time and highly controversial for many years thereafter.

    If you're interested, here is an officer's eye view of the Faughs' campaign in Italy from Sept 1943 onwards.

  6. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

    My dad's certificate of service says he was shipped to North Africa towards the end of November 1943 Nothing to do with Dunkirk, what were they doing around 14th April 1944?
  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    No doubt, you are sure it was Nov 1943..rather than 1942 when the main body of the battalion sailed to Algiers (see above), Nov 1943 the Faughs were up near the Sangro on the east coast of Italy and your Dad would have been unlikely to have been able to catch up with them until the end of the year at the earliest or possibly in Feb 1944 when they were out of the line.

    14th April 1944 - the Faughs would have been stationed in or near Caira village, on the lower slopes of Monte Castellone, and not a particularly healthy spot.

  8. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

    Thanks Bexley. It was a typo on my part. It was 1942 not 1943 it appears until then they were stationed at home
  9. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

    Could anyone advise on the title for Horsfall's account re Tunisia?
  10. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Both vendor options are pricey now, was available for about £20 until recently. .

    Be aware that the Horsfall account, again, does concentrate on D Company.. he writes about his time as CO of 2 LIR in his third book.

    I note one of the UK vendors is selling all three...

  11. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

    Thanks Bexley. My father was with A company. However I assume they trod the same ground more or less and so I will gain some good insight into what was going on when and where.
  12. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Yes A Coy were there, of course - and actually mentioned quite a number of times in John Horsfall's narratives.

    The OC of A Coy in Nov 1942 was Major Peter Murphy MC who was killed on the evening of 17/18th Jan 1943 north of Bou Arada - and was succeeded by Major Nick Jefferies who was killed in April 1943 north of Medjez....
  13. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    I just found the list of officers/NCOs when the Faughs left Liverpool in Nov 1942.

    Attached Files:

  14. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

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    \f0\fs26 \cf2 \cb3 \expnd0\expndtw0\kerning0
    \outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 Bexley, you mention the OC of A company being killed 17/18 May. I have a diary of my dad's from1943 and an entry on 18th May 1943 states " big battle begins- 12 wounded- coy cmdr killed". Not sure of the action but it ties in with your info. Makes me shiver a bit. On the list of officers you posted previously I noticed in the section "reinforcements" a Lieutenant Black. I clearly remember my dad talking of a Captain Black who I'm sure he said was sadly killed in action. Not sure where I wonder if this is the same person. \
    I wonder if you could throw any light on another couple of things in my dad's diary. On May 7th 1943 he wrote:" battle on Banana ridge. Jerry running like hell". The following day they arrived in Tunis. Also an entry around the beginning of January 1943 he mentions a No 7 SS platoon he seemed to be involved with. Entry is difficult to read as faded and may not be specific to that date as he tended to use the diary to make general notes at times ie a piece of paper to write on. It's not a reference to the Nazi SS. I wonder what it means. \
  15. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    "Bexley, you mention the OC of A company being killed 17/18 May. I have a diary of my dad's from 1943 and an entry on 18th May 1943 states " big battle begins- 12 wounded- coy cmdr killed"

    Typo there - you, of course meant 17th/18th Jan 1943..and this is how John Horsfall describes the circumstances of Major Peter Murphy's death:

    "Ordered to counter attack in the later afternoon, Peter Murphy took A Company round the right end of Grandstand, and came in on their rear covered by some of our tanks. Peter’s men went in, in line under a storm of fire, criss crossing over and through them from their fronts and flanks.

    As A Company closed, the enemy ran for it, coming under intense fire as they broke cover. Peter died in these last few moments. Typical Peter – with his piper beside him. I don’t think D Company would have done it this way. Perhaps crawled in and shot them out – perhaps not. I do not know. I only do know that sending an infantry company across the open arena, under the admiring gaze of the entire team of protagonists, fully merited the French tribute on Cardigan’s charge at Balaclava. “C’est magnifique, mais..” “Mais” indeed. However, it will live in the archives like acts of true valour."

    Captain Black- same man

    Rank: Captain
    Service No: 162687
    Date of Death: 18/02/1943
    Regiment/Service: Royal Ulster Rifles seconded to 1st Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers
    Panel Reference Face 30.

    Banana Ridge - I don't think this was part of an Irish Brigade action on 7th May 1943 - but they did enter Tunis on 8th May 1943.

    7 Platoon would have been in A Coy, as were 8/9 - SS not sure what that would denote.

  16. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    A bit more about Captain Murphy:

    "Major Peter Casella Murphy was born in 1912, the son of Major Frank and Marguerite Murphy who lived at Dunsland Court in Jacobstowe. Major Frank Murphy moved with his family to Jacobstowe in Devon in 1921. The Murphy family were very active in the Roman Catholic Church and were part of the driving force behind the extension of the present church building in Okehampton.

    Peter Murphy was one of 9 children and was educated at Beaumont College and Sandhurst, before being commissioned into the East Yorks Regiment and being sent to India.. There he served on the North West Frontier and was also caught up in the 1936 Quetta Earthquake. Later he also served in Palestine. By the outbreak of the 2nd World War; he was a Captain in the Royal Irish Fusiliers. In his personal life, as a countryman, he was a good horseman and a 1st class shot. While on a training assignment in Catterick he met Kathleen Margaret Sharpe and in early 1940 they were married. Peter thrived on life in the army. His gaiety was infectious and he could be relied on to lift spirits in any mess party.

    On the second of October 1939 Peter left for France in command of A Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, to join the BEF. The morning of Sunday 19th of May 1940 saw the battalion at Ninove, acting as rearguard to the bulk of the BEF in their retreat towards the River Escaut. As the battalion withdrew from Ninove towards the rendezvous on the River Dendre at Oultre with the German army hot on their heels, Peter, his company, and the battalion as a whole came under heavy German machine gun fire. During this withdrawal Peter Murphy was severely wounded having been hit through the lung. Nevertheless, he kept command and marched with his of his company for several days, before he collapsed and was evacuated back to England via Dunkirk in a critical condition. While in hospital, he received a visit from the Queen."

    Attached Files:

  17. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

    I'm looking at the war diaries generally from November 1942 onwards and there are regular references to activities being recorded in the appendix but can't seem to find it. Does it mean nothing of any significance to report.
  18. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    The appendices would have any number of details - from occasional full narratives to "minor" patrol reports, and also weekly officers' rolls and many other things. Some are "worthwhile", others not really that helpful to gain an overview ... the Brigadiers' overviews provide a good narrative as well.

    If you did want belt and braces on every single page of the war diaries (probably 100+ pages for each month), then you might wish to consider using Drew's copying options to get every page onto CD.

    it's sort of up to you how much "detail" you want and your cost budget we know, you won't get a day by day narrative for an individual unless you have his own personally recorded narrative,

  19. Montyjw

    Montyjw Member

    Bexley, by the way much appreciate info re Major Peter Murphy and Captain Peter Black. I clearly remember my dad talking of Captain Black.
  20. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    And John Horsfall's wrote about A Coy commander Nicolas Jefferies' death in April 1943

    "In the long carry back through the hills that night, the men carrying Nicolas Jefferies and our other casualties had lost themselves in the mist. Nick raised himself on the stretcher and looked at the stars, and then at his compass, and brought them home to safety.

    He died a few hours later."




    Service No:


    Date of Death:





    Royal Irish Fusiliers

    1st Bn.


    M C

    Grave Reference

    1. L. 3.



    Additional Information:
    Son of the Revd. Canon Arthur Charles Jefferies, M.A., and of Frances Doris Jefferies, of Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire.

    Attached Files:

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