War Diary: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, September 1939 - July 1944

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    January 1943
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    February 1943
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    1 March 1943
    Our Convoy is composed of 8 ships altogether, of which ours, of 11,000 tons, is one of the smallest.
    The whole Division, and other troops as well, is now afloat and ready to move off.
    The day was spent learning the geography of the ship, practising Boat Muster, and, in general, organising shipboard routine.
    The famous green envelopes were issued last night, and then this morning, every man was busy writing his farewell letters.
    There were of course the inevitable few who left it too late and missed the post.
    2230 Hours The convoy slipped anchor and sailed very slowly down the CLYDE, so slowly at first that it was hardly noticeable.
    Those who went up on deck to take the last sight of BRITAIN for God knows how long saw nothing but masthead lights and a thin blanket of rain.

    2 March
    When daylight came, we saw the convoy was sailing three abreast, with a destroyer and two corvettes as escort - which finally disposed of the persistent theory that we were to have an aircraft carrier, a cruiser and three destroyers.
    We are sailing dead due West, parallel to the coast of N. IRELAND, of which occasional glimpses could be caught, through the low clouds and mists.
    The sea is by no means rough, but there is a strong swell, which causes the ship to heave rhythmically, a motion which has upset many stomachs.
    About half the Battalion feel ill and about a quarter are really sea-sick.
    The heat below decks, and the signs of sickness all round, have made the troop-decks very unsavoury.
    Comparisons to the Altmark, or the old slave ships are frequent.
    Even the excellent food produced by the ship’s galley failed ot tempt most men, but that left all the more for those who were unaffected.
    2330 Hours The convoy changed direction South, and is now sailing down parallel to the West coast of IRELAND, some 300 miles out into the ATLANTIC.

    3 March
    The weather is now sunny, the sea comparatively calm, and the men all able to eat heartily.
    The decks are crowded all day with men sunning themselves, sleeping, eating chocolate and raw sugar, which can be bought in the ship’s canteen, and all smoking ‘like a Picquet Officer’ since Players are only 1/8d for 50.
    The Convoy is now in the BAY OF BISCAY, being about 300 miles off BREST at midday.

    4 March
    A pamphlet ‘Notes for Troops proceeding to N. AFRICA’ - dealing mainly with Arab etiquette - was issued this morning, together with excellent 10 miles to 1 inch maps, so our destination is now confirmed.
    P.T. Parades have been started, as the only possible form of exercise, but these are on a very limited scale and are also very gentlemanly.
    The convoy was forced to alter course several times during the nigh, so we are only half way across the BAY OF BISCAY.

    5 March
    It was announced that letters could be written and posted on board ship, subject to unit censorship.
    The result has been a frenzy of correspondence, so that all Officers in the interval of writing their own letters, are busy reading those of their companions.
    The Battalion was also much cheered by the news that an Airgraph Service has started to N. AFRICA.
    The Convoy travelled all day down the coast of SPAIN, at the same 300 miles distance, and by late tonight was said by the Ship’s Officers to be off LISBON.

    6 March
    The Convoy too ‘violent evasive action’ during the early hours of the morning, as a result of reports of packs of U-boats lying in wait, and one submarine was said to have been seen on the surface and fired on by the destroyer.
    The ships turned out Westward to sea and we are today no nearer GIBRALTAR than we were last night.
    The escort has now been strengthened by four more ships, which makes us much more comfortable.
    The weather continues to be fine, and the Battalion is still busy writing letters.

    7 March
    Early Mass at 0700 hours in the Sergeants (formerly 3rd Class) Dining Room and another Mass at 0915 on B deck.
    Divine Service for Church of England at 1100 hours, at which the Welshmen of the BB A/A/ Regiment (formerly 7th Battalion SOUTH WALES BORDERERS) sang their usual choruses.
    All these Services were remarkably well attended, though the congregations were somewhat distracted by the appearance of a school of porpoises in the middle of the convoy.
    Today we are some 150 miles off GIBRALTAR, the convoy zig-zagging and continually altering.
    One of the destroyers this afternoon ran up a black flag - the signal that there was a submarine ahead.
    There was a flurry of activity about 4 miles to our starboard, which brought a crowd of spectators to the decks, but the submarine was evidently driven off or escaped for nothing further happened.

    8 March
    Land was seen this morning, the North coast of AFRICA.
    1100 Hours We passed GIBRALTAR and sailed into the MEDITERRANEAN.
    It was a warm sunny day, with the sea like glass.
    The Convoy sailed at high speed, close to the coast of AFRICA, but out of sight of land, with our escort, now decreased to four ships, in line ahead on the port.
    There has been no sign of any aircraft, either our own or the enemy’s and in that way it has been an unexpectedly uneventful day.
    A Tombola, or sessions of ‘Housey Housey’ have been held every afternoon, and was the main interest of the day.
    The forward deck is crowded with men, feverishly marking their cards, while a sailor stands in the middle chanting the numbers with almost religious fervent, till he is interrupted by the shout of a claimant.
    The winner is then escorted to the canteen by his friends.

    9 March
    The Convoy sailed along the coast of N. AFRICA all day, turning into ALGIERS BAY at 1700 hours.
    The ship docked at 1800 hours and at 1945 hours the Battalion began to disembark.
    Disembarkation was held up for a short time by an air-raid, during wich a spectacular barrage was put up by the guns on the ships and in the harbour.
    The whole Battalion disembarked in 55 minutes, and then marched 3 miles to a check point at QUAI LORIENT.
    This check point was a seething mass, through which every unit in the Division was fighting its way.
    The Battalion was provided with a guide, who led it to its Camp, a further march of 12 miles.
    It was now raining and continued to do so intermittently all night.
    Large packs and kitbags are dumped on the quay, and a small baggage Party remained behind.

    10 March
    0400 Hours The Battalion reached the Camp, a collection of marquees to hold 2,00 men, in an open field, 7 miles North of SIDI MOUSSA.
    The Battalion managed to install itself in the dark, and before falling asleep drew some tea and an extra blanket per man.
    0845 Hours Reveille.
    0945 Hours Breakfast, which was not bad considering there are only three stoves for ourselves and the 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS, who are sharing the Camp with us.
    The day was spent in settling into this Camp, and also in getting a little extra sleep.
    Intermittent rain continued, turning the ground into a quagmire of sticky clay and mud.
    The M.T. Convoy arrived in ALGIERS this afternoon and we learnt, with relief, that all ours had arrived safely.

    11 March
    The M.T.O., Carrier Officer and Party returned to ALGIERS to collect the M.T. and Carriers.
    Lieutenant GUNSTON and 11 men left for BOUGIE to collect some trucks on a ship which had docked there.
    a.m. All Companies went out for an 8 mile Route March.

    12 March
    The rain continued, and the mud in camp is getting even worse.
    1st Line Re-inforcements moved to a Camp in FORT DE L’EAU, on the coast, wehre they will remain under command of Captain D. DRUMMOND.
    In the afternoon orders were received to prepare to move up to BONE tomorrow by ship.
    The M.T. and Carriers will travel up independently by road, carrying all G 1098 except personal arms and all baggage.

    13 March
    The Battalion marched to ALGIERS, arriving at the QUAI TRANSATLANTIQUE at 1400 hours.
    1500 Hours The Battalion embarked on ‘THE ULSTERMAN’, formerly a Glasgow-Belfast mailboat on which some of the Battalion had already travelled.
    The Battalion now numbering 772, was crammed into accommodation originally intended for 400 at most, so that everybody was rather cramped.
    The small Convoy, consisting of ourselves, ‘THE SCOTSMAN’, with 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS aboard, and two destroyers carrying 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS, sailed at 1800, and proceeded up the coast Eastwards at full speed.

    14 March
    A fine morning, with the ‘ULSTERMAN’ sailing at full speed align the coast of AFRICA.
    These two ships, the ULSTERMAND and SCOTSMAN have been running a shuttle service between ALGIERS and BONE for the last six weeks, with very little interference.
    We thought we were also due for an uneventful journey, but just as we were rounding the cape into BONE Bay, three torpedo-bombers appeared on the horizon. See Appendix A
    Bren guns were already mounted on the ‘Sun-Deck’, and these opened up on the aircraft, as soon as they came within range.
    The aircraft did not press home their attack, discouraged no doubt by our fire (aided by the ship’s Anti-Aircraft guns) and dropped their torpedo missed the stern by only 12 feet - its approach was watched with great interest by several officers.
    BONE had a much bombed appearance, when we landed at 1600 hours, but in spite of the tales of the local inhabitants, we marched through it peacefully to a canvas camp four miles outside the town - CARDIFF CAMP in No. 4 TRANSIT CAMP.
    It rained hard all night, and several tents had to be re-pitched.

    15 March
    The Camp, fortunately, is pitched on sandy soil, so that it dries up very quickly with a little sun.
    The sun appeared today, and everyone became very cheerful.
    The sea is only 300 yards away, and many men went down for a bathe in the Mediterranean.

    16 March
    Another quiet sunny day, with more bathing in the Mediterranean.
    The Sergeants' Mess held a dress rehearsal on St. Patrick’s Evening, a great success, with much singing, which greatly confused three French Warrant Officers who appeared half-way through the evening.

    17 March
    The Battalion paraded at 10.30 a.m. on the dunes by the sea, and was presented with the shamrock by the Brigade Commander.
    The shamrock was specially flown out to General ALEXANDER, who sent it on to us, by his A.D.C. Captain Sir Rupert CLARKE, formerly an officer in the Battalion.
    The Commading Officer read out the two messages from General ALEXANDER, and the Regimental Lieutenant-Colonel, both of which are attached. See Appendices B & C
    The Battalion then attended open air Mass.
    The Quartermaster and all C.Q.M.Ss. made great efforts to provide a good dinner, besides which there was an issue of local wine, the effort of which was greatly under-estimated at first.

    18 March
    The Battalion left BONE for a Divisional Assembly Area at CHARDIMAEN, as it thought.
    An Advance Party went ahead and actually reached the Assembly Area, a dismal damp olive grove.
    The main body of the Battalion, in ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS troop carriers was halted half way by an agitated special messenger from H.Q. 1st ARMY and diverted to BEJA.
    The Battalion reached BEJA 2000 hours and settled in for the night into a cemetery.
    5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS moved straight up into the Lin, the 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS half way up, wile the Battalion remains, temporarily, in reserve.
    It rained heavily all night.
    the M.T. Convoy, which met the Advance Party at GARDIMAEN, drove all night through the rain.
    After so long a journey the drivers were exhausted, and two accidents were caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

    19 March
    The Advance Party and the Battalion M.T. joined up with the Battalion, bringing up much needed rations.
    The Brigade is now transferred to the 46th DIVISION, to replace troops withdrawn to take part in the battle in the North.
    1600 Hours The Commanding Officer was told that the Battalion was to change its Division again - we are to move to MEDJEZ EL BAB area and take over the Line from 38 BRIGADE.
    A recce Party went ahead to meet the BUFFS, whose positions we are to take over.
    2230 Hours The Battalion began arriving.
    The troops debased 2 miles short of MEDJEZ, and marched North across country to our new position at DIAR EL HAMMAR.
    2330 Hours The transport began arriving.

    20 March
    It was raining all yesterday and the tracks were in a dreadful state.
    The mud was knee-deep, dozing and slippery.
    All vehicles had to be manhandled, hauled by carriers, which themselves got stuck and then had to be extricated by Scammells.
    By 0600 hours however, all transport had been brought in, and the whole Battalion was in position.
    1200 Hours Shells landed in No. 2 Company’s position, wounding 3 men and damaging a Jeep.
    We hope this is not going to be a common occurrence.
    Advance Battalion H.Q. are situated at FM DIAR EL HAMMAN, Map Reference 512331.
    No. 1 Company is in area at 5231.
    No. 2 Company is in area at 5233.
    No. 3 Company is in area at 5133.
    No. 4 Company is in area at 5334.
    Sheet No. 27, TUNIS - MEDJEZ EL BAB.

    21 March
    The Battalion sent out its first patrol.
    Shell fire was put down on M’DAKRENE and a small patrol from No. 3 Company, led by Lieutenant M.F. RAWLENCE was sent out to observe the result.
    They reported that they saw 12 Germans leaving the farm in great haste, and taking cover in slit trenches SW of the farm.

    22 March
    A fighting patrol, under Lieutenant M.F. RAWLENCE, was sent out to M’DAKRENE FM to secure prisoners.
    An artillery programme was arranged, and the patrol was to advance under cover of this.
    They reached the farm safely, but found it deserted except for one Arab who stated that the Germans had withdrawn to the hills.
    At that moment enemy mortar fire came on - obviously on a fixed line - wounding Lieutenant M.F. RAWLENCE and Guardsman CAHALANE.
    The patrol withdrew, bringing its wounded with it.
    Lieutenant M.F. RAWLENCE walked the whole way and collapsed on arrival, Guardsman CAHALANE had to be carried; but were immediately treated at the R.A.P. and evacuated by ambulance.

    23 March
    A patrol of No. 2 Company (Lieutenant A.W.T. ROCHFORD and 3 Other Ranks) entered and searched SI NACEUR village.
    Just before leaving the village by the North they were fired on at 15 yards range by one machine gun.
    The Patrol returned fire with 4 Tommy guns and 4 grenades.
    The result was a scuffle behind the gun and the M.G. ceased firing.
    In the interval, the Patrol returned to the houses.
    The M.G. started firing again and a 2” Mortar opened up.
    All shots went wide, and there were no casualties in the Patrol.
    There is a strong probability that the No. 1 on the German M.G. was killed.
    2200 Hours A Patrol or No. 4 Company (Lieutenant D.C. ATTLEE, Sergeant DUCKWORTH, Lance Sergeant SPARKS and 6 Other Ranks) went out to investigate area SID MACEAVRE.
    No enemy were seen but the patrol saw recent vehicle tracks in a sand pit but found 1 box ammunition (German or U.S.A.) in the minefield North of the sand pit.

    24 March
    1600 Hours No. 3 Company forward position mortared.
    Guardsman HURLEY wounded in the stomach.
    This Guardsman, due to excellent treatment given him by Guardsman HARRISON, was in extremely good condition considering the length of time he lay in the open until he was eventually treated by the Medical Officer and evacuated to M.D.S.
    1930 Hours Patrol from No. 3 Company (Lieutenant T.C. KEIGWIN, Lance Sergeant ROBERTS, Lance Sergeant PEARSON and 13 Other Ranks) went out to investigate and locate enemy positions in hills behind MD - DAKRENE FM.
    Half way up hill, Point 305, they were challenged and were immediately fired on by M.G. 38s - belt fed guns and fixed lines on swivel mounting.
    The Germans (or Austrians) fired continuously for an hour wasting an enormous amount of precious ammunition and lobbed small grenades over the side of the hill.
    Having located the enemy positions which will receive great attention from our artillery, the patrol returned independently.
    Lance Sergeant ROBERTS was unfortunately taken prisoner and marched off up the hill.
    Guardsman HARRIS only escaped by pretending to be dead.
    Lance Corporal CARTLIDGE slept out in a gully and has returned.

    25 March
    Five men, from the patrol from No. 3 Company which went out yesterday, have not yet reported back.
    They were Guadsman BEASLEY, FLANNERY, MAY, WALSH, HARRIS ’66 - but they were all seen to be clear of the enemy positions, and should return undamaged in the course of the day.
    This was a most successful patrol.
    On the night of 25th an Austrian deserter from 2nd Bn 757 Mountain Regiment, gave himself up to the Gun post left of No. 3 Company. See Appendix D
    He stated that his company had had no food for two days - the rations, when they got them, were very meagre, and one loaf of black bread had to last two men for two days. The margarine was very bade.
    He was completely out of touch with the news.
    This man had served on the Russian front, but gave himself up because he could not stand our shelling any longer and said it was worse than in RUSSIA.
    On the 24th his Company H.Q. was shelled out.
    This is the result of No. 3 Company’s fighting patrol to Hill 305 - the shelling will continue.
    The deserter claims he is not a Nazi, and was certainly delighted to be out of the war.

    26 March
    There are three men stil not returned from No. 3 Company’s patrol.
    Guardsman HARRIS ’66 while attempting to return from this patrol through SCOTS GUARDS’ Lines entered a minefield and trod on an anti-personnel mine, and subsequently Died of Wounds.
    Guardsman WALSH, who was accompanying HARRIS was fired on and slightly wounded.
    A Patrol from No. 3 Company (Lance Sergeant LANDERS and Guardsman MAGUIRE) went out to locate enemy position top of RECCE RIDGE.
    They were fired on by two L.M.G.s to which they replied with a grenade.
    Both returned unharmed.
    Lance Sergeant HENDERSON and Lance Corporal DUCKWORTH, No. 3 Company went out on a recce patrol, due to return about 2100 hours 27th.
    G.O.C. II CORPS, Lieutenant-General C.W. ALLFREY DSO MC, G.O.C. 1ST DIVISION Major-General CLUTTERBUCK MC, the Brigade Commander and the C.R.A. 1ST DIVISION, visited the Battalion Area.
    A portee carrying the Commanding Officer, the Adjutant, Lieutenant R.N.D. YOUNG, Guardsman DOYLE and Guardsman DOWDING, was blown up by 75 Hawkins Grenades on the road in front of No. 2 Company positions.
    After inspecting the Anti-Tank gun positions and No. 4 Company positions, the Party was returning to Battalion H.Q. by the forward road.
    It was known that there was a Standing Patrol with a necklace of mines, on this orad.
    The portee proceeded at slow pace, Lieutenant YOUNG watching and shouting for the sentry.
    The patrol apparently did not hear this for, about 100 yards from the fork the necklace was drawn across the road under the porter and an anti-tank rifle was fixed at it.
    The Commanding Officer and driver fortunately were unhurt, except for shock.
    The Commanding Officer rant to Battalion H.Q. to fetch the Doctor and ambulance, and within 15 minus the injured men were receiving attention. 2721362 Guardsman Joseph GALLAGHER, 1Bn was taken POW at Recce Ridge, Tunisia on 29/03/1943; he ended up at Oflag 5a, POW No. 33655
    The Adjutant has a broken leg, and will be out of action for 3 - 4 months.
    DOWDING has a compound fracture of the leg and will probably be out of action for 3 - 4 months.
    Guardsman DOYLE sustained a broken leg and probably fractured ankle, and will be out of action 3 - 4 months at least, and may be invalided out.
    Mr. YOUNG - nothing broken, except probably a fractured wrist, but covered with wounds from the explosion.
    If infection does not set in he should return to the Battalion in about 6 weeks.
    The conduct of all four while in great pain should be an example ot the Battlaion.

    27 March
    The following message has been received from His Majesty the KING:-
    I send my best wishes to All Ranks of the first and eighth armies as well as their AMERICAN and FRENCH brothers in arms and their comrades in the task which they are now undertaking. The battle will be stern but I am confident that their victory will be as complete as it was at ALAMEIN. May God Bless you All. GEORGE R.I.’
    Lance Sergeant MURRAY and two Other Ranks left No. 2 Company lines 12 midnight to recee routes up to and over RECCE RIDGE.
    They reached RECCE RIDGE at 0300 hours and heard a working party to their left.
    The found the face of the ridge very steep.
    Owing to insufficient time they did not attempt to climb it.
    Returned 0540 hours 28 March.
    A Recce Patrol from No. 4 Company proceeded ot NACEUR.
    They heard people moving on the outskirts of village.
    Observed area but found no one.
    A Party of Pioneers, under command Lieutenant J.J. NUNN laid a minefield 100 yard long on the left flank of No. 17 Platoon, No. 4 Company.

    28 March
    A deserter from No. 9 Company, 757 Mountain Regiment gave himself up to No. 3 Company.
    He was an Austrian and had served in GREECE.
    He arrived in TUNISIA in January.
    Amongst other information he stated that their food was very short and bad.
    He commented ton the shelling which was very accurate and said that a number of men had been injured by splinters.
    He is not from RECCE RIDGE but the one West of it and has not yet been subjected to really heavy shelling.
    A Patrol led by Lance Sergeant MURRAY left No. 2 Company lines for RECCE RIDGE.
    They had difficulty in finding the way in the dark.
    As they were crossing the open ground towards RECCE RIDGE two Mortars were fired from behind RECCE RIDGE.
    They finally reached the ridge too far to the West, and were fired upon by M.G.
    Finding themselves too far to the left and being unable to see, they returned to their Company.
    From the Patrol consisting of Lance Sergeant HENDERSON and Lance Corporal DUCKWORTH, which went out during the night of March 26/27, one man, Lance Sergeant HENDERSON, returned.
    He returned at 2345 hours 28 March.
    This Party waited to climb the gully 508340.
    This gully ended, so they withdrew down it and went Westward along the foot of RECCE RIDGE and then climbed to within 200 yards of the top.
    They then walked Eastward along the side of the hill seeing no sign of the enemy and meeting no difficulty.
    They reached the end of RECCE RIDGE and went down into the gully between the Ridge and Hill 510383.
    From the SW side of this hill they were fired on by rifles from a platoon position.
    They took cover.
    The enemy came in search of them, firing rifles in their direction.
    They came up on top of Lance Corporal DUCKWORTH, who emptied his T.S.M.G. magazine into the leading man.
    Lance Sergeant HENDERSON escaped down a ravine telling the other man to follow.
    He was then fired on from the Eastern slope of RECCE RIDGE.
    He lay down under cover and found himself within two yards of an enemy position.
    He lay there until 0600 hours 28 March when German Stand-down took place.
    He was then able to crawl away to better cover, lay up all day and returned last night.
    Lance Corporal DUCKWORTH has not returned.
    That the enemy dispositions as given by the first Deserter are correct.
    That between the Eastern edge of RECCE RIDGE to be at least half way along it, there are no enemy positions on the forward slopes.
    That the forward slope affords good cover for a man to lie up.

    29 March
    About 25 Mortar bombs were dropped on No. 3 Company position in the early hours of this morning.
    No casualties were caused. See 1IG Operation Order of 29 March attached.

    30 March
    At 2345 hours 29 March, Lieutenant NUNN and 5 Pioneers and a ROYAL ENGINEERS Corporal with a Polish mine detector left to sweep the road towards M’DAKRENE FM.
    Just short of Point 526366 they discovered 3 Tellermines Mark II.
    These appeared to have been recently and hurriedly laid in the road and were badly concealed under fresh soil of a different colour to the surface of the track.
    They were not booby trapped and were removed and made safe.
    From there Corporal FREEMAN was sent bak to report to Captain RAWLINSON that the road was clear of mines, as long as the road itself was not left.
    TWEED and ROYAL ENGINEERS Corporal took two mines and the detector back.
    The remainder waited near the road junction and observed M’DAKRENE FM the perimeter of which was visited.
    Four Carriers under Captain RAWLINSON’s and HUGHES’ command accompanied by 2 Mortar Carriers, commanded by Sergeant McCARTHY and Sergeant ENGLISHBY arrived at 0615 hours and Lieutenant NUNN and Party placed themselves under Captain RAWLINSON’s command.
    Captain RAWLINSON in leading Carrier driven by Corporal LUMLEY turned into a gully and dismounted the gun.
    Corporal LUMLEY then took the Carrier further into the gully.
    Sergeant HUGHES in the second Carrier halted in dead ground, dismounted with the gun, and had gone scarcely 5 or 10 yards from the Carrier when it received a direct hit from a shell, the driver, DITCHFIELD, being killed.
    Mortar smoke was called for and Sergeant McCARTHY moved up in his Carrier.
    Captain RAWLINSON waved him back wishing him to put the screen down from further back, and as he was turning his Carrier was blown up by two mines.
    Sergeant McCARTHY was killed, RICE, the Driver, was wounded and pinned, LANG was wounded, CURRAN on the ground with the Carrier gun was wounded in the right eye and the remaining mortarmem escaped.
    Meanwhile the other Carriers withdrew down the road to get out of range.
    Lieutenant NUNN and Sergeant HUGHES attempted to get RICE clear, while Captain RAWLINSON covered them with the Bren.
    They were unable to do so.
    Sergeant ENGLISHBY on his own initiative then put down 3” Mortar smoke and Lieutenant NUNN and Sergeant HUGHES went back to the Carrier Section to assist with 2” Mortar smoke.
    Lance Corporal LUMLEY was now recalled and as he was passing the wreck of Sergeant McCARTHY’s Carrier, the too was blown up by a mine and killed.
    Corporal HOOTON, the Signaller, was thrown clear.
    The Carrier overturned.
    Captain RAWLINSON and Lance Corporal HOOTON brougth the Bren back to the rest of the Section, who gave covering smoke.
    The remaining Carriers were withdrawn to the line of the railway.
    Sergeant ENGLISHBY with Sergeant DUNBAR and the wounded returned to Battalion H..Q. to report and a D/R later came back with orders for the whole party to withdraw to the Battalion area.
    The sequel to this battle occurred at 1145 hours, when the Medical Officer, Drill Sergeant KENNY and Sergeant THOROGOOD went out to rescue RICE and rescue the bodies.
    When within 50 yards of M’DAKRENE FM, 6 Germans appeared and tried to march them in the direction of the German lines.
    The Doctor refused to go.
    A German Officer and 6 Other Ranks then appeared.
    The Officer ordered his men to help to extricate RICE and to render all possible assistance.
    The men were young, 17-20, pale not sunburnt.
    Their appearance confirms the reports of deserters that the Germans lie up all day in deep dug outs in farms and villages.
    Identification of our Regiment was almost certainly secured.
    The behaviour of Sergeant HUGHES during the action described above was magnificent.
    Meanwhile in No. 3 Company area a large number of Mortar bombs were falling as a result of which Captain KENNEDY was wounded in the leg, Corporal MOORES in the arm, and O’SHEA, Major GORDON-WATSON’s servant, was wounded in three places.
    All these incidents were incidental to the main action in which No. 2 Company took part, supported by two Regiments of Field Artillery, two Medium Batteries, and one Battery of Heavy Artillery.
    The attack was carried out on the orders of higher command with the object of checking the despatch of reinforcements to ROMMEL.
    Although it proved costly to the Battalion, it is hoped it served its purpose in the higher command’s general plan.
    No. 2 Company moved off at 0055 hours and at 0530 hours reported that they were in position below the crest of RECCE RIDGE.
    Soon after Mortar and rifle fire were observed on the face of the ridge and Major BUCKNILL called for artillery support on the Eastern edge of the ridge.
    This was quickly forthcoming.
    At 0500 hours the artillery programme commenced and shortly afterwards the Company crossed the ridge.
    From then on for the best part of two hours much machine gun fire was heard and large parties of men were seen going up and down the ridge.
    This could not be understood as the wireless communication had broken down.
    Meanwhile Lieutenant McINERNEY and two detachments of mortars had gone out on the left to core the withdrawal.
    They were joined by Captain HOYLE, and ROYAL ARTILLERY Forward Observation Officer who had got back, and who reported that the had seen a Section of No. 2 Company being taken prisoner.
    Otherwise he could furnish no information.
    The mortars covered the withdrawal of 5 wounded men (Sergeant DEAZLEY, Sergeant MEARS, McCAFFERTY and two gunners) and then were ordered to withdraw.
    Major GORDON-WATSON had come up to join them.
    They came down the truck towards No. 3 Company, but found it under the track towards No. 3 Company, but found it under heavy shell fire, turned and tried another way.
    As they came to the railway bridge they noticed, just in time, a wire stretched across the road to which was suspended a mine.
    Major GORDON-WATSON with complete disregard of his own personal safety leapt out of the leading Carrier and undid the wire.
    The Carriers returned safely.
    It is now known that two men, MILLS and COX, have returned safely and it is believed that several more are returning via NACEUR, but it is feared that the ultimate number of casualties may be hevy.
    A Company of 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS have come up into the line to re-enforce the Battalion.

    31 March
    There seems little doubt that No. 2 Company fulfilled its task of getting into the gullies on the other side of the crest of RECCE RIDGE, this being borne out by Sergeant MEARS, one of the wounded, who returned yesterday.
    A German C.S.M. who did not enjoy the proceedings and left a the earliest possible moment reported in at No. 1 Company this morning.
    He described a confused melee at the top of the hill and apparently was under the impression that we had won the day.
    An Infantry Gun, perhaps the one which caused the Carriers so many casualties, was pinpointed yesterday evening in M’DAKRENE FM and was dealt with, it is believed, effectively by the Heavy Artillery.
    Last night between 0100 and 0200 hours, small arms fire was heard coming from the same farm, by No. 4 Company.

    Operation - No. 2 Company - 30th March

    Lance-Sergeant McCARTHY - Mortar Platoon
    Lance-Corporal LUMLEY - Carrier Platoon
    Guardsman DITCHFIELD - Carrier Platoon
    Captain D.M. KENNEDY - No. 3 Company
    Lance Corporal MOORES - No. 3 Company
    Guardsman CURRAN - Carrier Platoon
    Guardsman LAING - Mortar Platoon
    Guardsman O’SHEA - Officer’s Servant
    Lance Sergeant MEARS - No. 2 Company
    Sergeant DEASLEY - No. 2 Company
    Guardsman McCAFFERTY - No. 2 Company
    Guardsman AYRES - No. 2 Company
    2 Gunners from 138 Field Regiment, ROYAL ARTILLERY
    Guardsman RICE - H.Q. Company
    Major S.J.R. BUCKNILL
    Lieutenant C.D. LESSLIE
    Lieutenant A.W.T. ROCHFORD
    88 Other Ranks - No. 2 Company
    Lance Corporal MOONEY - Cook, H.Q. Company
    Guardsman HEATON - Stretcher Bearer, H.Q. Company
    Guardsman GALLAGHER - Stretcher Bearer, H.Q. Company
    Lance Corporal FILDES - Signal Platoon, H.Q. Company
    Guardsman SALE - Signal Platoon, H.Q. Company
    Guardsman MOTTRAM - Signal Platoon, H.Q. Company
    Captain BETHELL - 19th Field Regiment, ROYAL ARTILLERY
    2 Other Ranks - 19th Field Regiment, ROYAL ARTILLERY
    Captain WHITEHEAD - 138 Field Regiment, ROYAL ARTILLERY
    4 Other Ranks - 138 Field Regiment, ROYAL ARTILLERY

    Eight Mortar Bombs were dropped enar Battalion H.Q. at 1345 hours today.
    No. 1 Company area was shelled at 1410 hours, 7 shells falling.

    Anti-Tank Platoon, H.Q. Company - 7 shells fell between 1335 and 1345 hours.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    1st Division Artillery Task Table, 28 March
    1IG MAR 43 III.JPG


    Operational Order 29 March
    1IG MAR 43 I.JPG 1IG MAR 43 II.JPG


    1625 Hours approximately H.M. Ship in BONE searched channel, Course 170 degrees
    1600 Hours Observed there twin engined aircraft bearing 050 degrees, distance 5 miles fling in formation about three degrees above the hrizon, (50 to 100 feet).
    Shortly after sighting, aircraft turned and were seen heading towards H.M. Ship.
    Officer of the Watch and self immediately gave orders for action statins and informed the Commanding Officer at the same time.
    OAKLEY opened fire and splashes were seen falling below aircraft.
    Twho aircraft approached H.M. Ship from abeam and one torpedo from each fell into the water at an estimated inclination of 162 degrees right from about 200 yards.
    Heavy and accurate fire was opened by all short-range, including Bren gunners from 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS and detachment of GRENADIER GUARDS was opened and helm was put hard aport.
    Aircraft turned away to port and were last seen heading in an Easterly direction.
    H.M. Ship swung about 50 degrees to port helm then reversed and ship was swinging to starboard when two tracks were seen approaching, one abaft the beam and clear, the other, before the beam at about 190 degrees.
    Helm was again put hard aport but had little effect and it seemed inevitable that torpedo would hit port quarter.
    It actually passed four yards astern, as estimated by the Officer in charge 12 pounder gun.


    Headquarters, 18th ARMY GROUP
    March 16th, 1943


    To wish you all the happiest possible day and great success in the fighting ahead.
    To: All Ranks 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS.
    Signed: J. FITZGERALD, Colonel
    Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding IRISH GUARDS.


    Mon Colonel,
    J’ai eu le grand honneur ce matin, à l’occasions des obsèques du Colonel BARIL, d’avoir sous mon commandement une Cie. de votre Régiment.
    Permettez-moi de vous exprimer mes chaleureuses felicitations pour la tenue de votre troup et l’expression de toute la fierte que j’ai éprouvé de me trouver à sa tête.
    Veuillez agréer, Mon Colonel, l’expression de mes sentiment très cordialement dévoués.
    Signed L. GROSS.
    Le Colonel, Commandant le ler Regiment de Zouaves.
    ALGER, le 25 MARS 1943.
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    1 April 1943
    The C.S.M from No. 10 Company, III Battalion 756 Mountain Regiment who deserted to our lines at 0630 hours stated that enemy heard a recce patrol at 0400 hours 30 March.
    No such patrol existed and it may perhaps have been the forward elements of No. 2 Company.
    It is also now known that the enemy had been expecting an attack for some ten days and were very much on the alert.
    The had two platoons on the forward slopes and one at the back of RECCE RIDGE.
    As the C.S.M. left the battle at 0730 hours in order to make sure his escape, he had little valuable information about the battle.
    Two deserters from No. 11 Company, attached to No. 10 Company as machine gunners, gave the following report on the battle.
    There were on the Western end of RECCE RIDGE, and their view was obscured by a bulge in the ridge.
    The positions on the East end were attacked.
    They had heard that 50 British prisoners had been taken at 1000 hours 30 March to TOUKABEUR and with them two Captains (ROYAL ARTILLERY) and a Lieutenant.
    Six British had been killed and two severely wounded.
    Two German partols were sent out during the night of the 30th to collect our wounded.
    One prisoner was a Pole and the other a Yugo-Slav.
    Two deserters from No. 11 Company came in to No. 4 Company at 0800 hours this morning.
    They and taken no part in the battle having been on the hills to the left and rear of RECCE RIDGE as we look at it.
    They had heard from their platoon sergeant that a British Major had been kiled and that two Captains, a Lieutenant and 100 Other Ranks had been taken prisener.
    One of these deserters was an Austrian who had fought at LENINGRAD and on the VOLGA and had reached NORTH AFRICA in January.
    He confessed himself to be fed up with fighting.
    The other was a Pole from UPPER SILESIA.
    Hew as in a communicative mood and readily went to the O.P. where he pointed out the position of two old French guns which had been brought up the day before yesterday, and also pinpointed a German Mortar.
    It is interesting to note that some of these deserters were carrying safe conduct passes dropped by No. 2 Company.
    There area said to be more of the enemy ready and willing to desert.
    Yesterday afternoon, about 1500 hours, Bren gun firing was heard from the Western end of RECCE RIDGE.
    The artillery immediately put down a smoke screen in case it should help any of our men to get away.
    Three patrols were out last night watching for returning members of No. 2 Company, but had nothing to report this morning.
    The First Line Re-inforcement Company left ALGIERS some days ago for GUELMA, where their new location was to be.
    It is now heard that they are likely to arrive here within the next 48 hours.
    It has to be announced with great regret that Guardsman HURLEY, No. 3 Company, has died as a result of the wound he sustained a few days ago.
    The other wounded are said to be going on well.

    2 April
    A quiet night on the Battalion front.
    A Sniper patrol from No. 3 Company, and a Standing Patrol from No. 4 Company went out and returned, but had nothing to report.
    Lieutenant-Colonel D. MILLS-ROBERSTS MC, 6th COMMANDO, was in the Battalion area and visited No. 3 Company.

    3 April
    A Standing Patrol of No. 3 Company, led by Lieutenant T.C. KEIGWIN went out, but had, nothing to report.
    Heavy M.G. fire and the explosion of several grenades were heard at approximately 0200 hours from the direction of RECCE RIDGE Western end.
    The reason for this demonstation has not been explained, as none of our patrols were out there, nor were any from the NORTHAMPTONS.
    The area of Battalion H.Q. was shelled yesterday at 1130 hours and again at 1500 hours.
    Five shells falling the first time and two the second.
    An Austin 8cwt van was slightly damaged and Lance Corporal PIGOTT of the Anti-Aircraft Platoon was slightly wounded.

    4 April
    The usual Standing Patrols were out last night, but had nothing to report.
    The patrolling of SIDI NACEUR will in future be carried out by 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS.
    A party of Pioneers led by Lieutenant J.J. NUNN set off last night for the white house in front of No. 3 Company positions.
    On the side facing the enemy they painted in large black ethers an invitation to all dissatisfied Austrians to join the deserters already in our hands.
    The enemy again shelled the Battalion area at 1500 hours yesterday.
    Nine shells fell in No. 1 Company area causing no damage or casualties.
    A further 15 shells fell in the area of H.Q. Company, No. 3 Company H.Q. and Battalion H.Q.
    Sergeant MAGUIRE, the Police Sergeant and Lance Corporal BROUGH were slightly wounded in the head.
    At the same time a grave misfortune befell No. 3 Company.
    At the moment when the shelling began, the Company Jeep was in process of being filled with petrol.
    The driver immediately made a strategic withdrawal to the nearest slit trench, leaving on the ground not far from the vehicles a full tin of petrol and a half empty one.
    A shell fell close by and holder the Jeep’s petrol tank setting it and the rest of the petrol ablaze.
    The fire spread to ‘Chateau KENNEDY’ the well appointed residence of the Company Commander.
    There perished in the conflagration one Jeep, one box of S.A.A., an No. 38 Wireless Set and most of the personal belongings of Captain KENNEDY and Captain PRENDERGAST.
    The arrival of four shells in the space of 20 seconds gives the impression that four enemy guns are at work.
    Intricate mathematical calculations by the gunners show them to be sited to the right of RECCE RIDGE.
    Steps were immediately taken by our guns to abate the nuisance.
    How successful these were will no doubt be seen at 1500 hours this afternoon, the usual time for these unmannerly assaults.

    5 April
    Lieutenant J.J. NUNN and a party went out last night in front of No. 3 Company to make the necessary arrangements preliminary to laying a minefield.
    They came across the body of a dead German on this side of the BEJA - MEDJEZ Road.
    He appears to have been dead for some days.
    The exact circumstances in which he met his death are unknown.
    Lieutenant M.J. EUGSTER, Lance Corporal O’BRIEN and seven guardsmen from No. 1 Company went on a patrol to M’DAKRENE FM with the object of laying an ambush on the track running slightly NW from that place.
    The saw nothing there.
    On their way back they encountered a body of about 15 men.
    When challenged, these replied with Bren Gun fire.
    Mr. EUGSTER imagining from this that they were our own troops cursed them soundly.
    The only result was an intensification of the firing and the bringing of 4 more automatics into play.
    Our patrol being out-numbered and out-gunned very wisely lay doggo and after 5 minutes firing the enemy withdrew.
    No casualties were sustained by us, but one or two men had narrow escapes, particularly Guardsman DOLAN who now sports several bullet holes in his battledress.
    The patrol returned the remaining 400 yards to No. 3 Company without further incident.
    The discovery of an unexploded shell yesterday morning enabled certain calculations to be made, which seem to show that the four guns which have been troubling us are situated at about 520378.
    When they opened fire again at 1510 hours yesterday afternoon, our guns replied, but were unsuccessful in silencing them.
    Altogether about 20 shells were fired at us distributed as usual in the are of No. 1 Company and around Battalion H.Q. and No. 3 Company H.Q.
    No damage or casualties resulted.

    6 April
    The Germans fired a few shells in the direction of No. 1 Company and the Anti-Tank Platoon H.Q. yesterday afternoon about 1600 hours. See Special Order of the Day APPENDIX A
    No damage or casualties occurred.
    Calculations confirm that the guns are on the 52 Grid Line N.W. of M’DAKRENE FM.
    The Battery of 138 Field Regiment ROYAL ARTILLERY which has been supporting us, pulled out yesterday evening, being replaced by a battery from 19th Field Regiment ROYAL ARTILLERY.
    The newcomers have been informed of the probable whereabouts of the guns.
    Various Standing Patrols went out last night to watch for the enemy and to protect the minelaying party taken out by Lieutenant J.J. NUNN, which party laid some 600 mines during the night.
    One of these patrols, a section from NO. 3 Company, saw at about 0200 hours a body of men advancing towards them from the direction of our lines.
    They challenged them and received in response a burst from a Bren gun.
    In the next few minutes a large amount of fire was directed at our section from two directions and several grenades were thrown.
    As a result of this action Lance Corporal ROGERS and Guardsman BROCKLEBANK were both wounded.
    The other patrols had nothing to report.
    Some 60 men from the First Line Reinforcement Company arrived last night.
    They are forming the nucleus of the new No. 2 Company under the command of Captain J.B. FITZGERALD.
    Twelve Carriers are being unloaded at BONE and Lieutenant J.St.G. GUNSTON and a party of drivers have gone off to collect them.
    The enemy shelled us rather more vigorously starting at 1440 hours and continuing with pauses until 1800 hours.
    Guardsman BOWEN, Pioneer Platoon, was badly wounded in the leg.
    He was on his way to his slit trench when the shell arrived.

    7 April
    In the early hours of this morning the 78th DIVISION crossed the MEDJEZ - BEJA ROAD in an attempt to recapture the area TOUKABEUR - CHAOUACH, which, in an earlier stage of the campaign, lay in our hands.
    This important operation naturally had its repercussions in our sector of the front.
    No. 14 Platoon of No. 3 Company submitted most manfully to spasmodic mortaring by the Germans, the first bomb arriving at 2035 hours and the 24th and last at 0325 hours.
    A large number of patrols were sent out to give warning of the approach of the enemy and to capture a prisoner, if possible, as there have been rumours that fresh troops had arrived on RECCE RIDGE.
    None of the patrols acquired any information of value, however.
    Lieutenant DODDS and 22 men of the Re-inforement Company have now arrived.
    At 1530 hours 3 Stukas flew over No. 4 Company.
    Each aeroplane dropped a cloth container, from which were scattered 15 - 20 Anti-Personnel bombs.
    Description of Anti-Personnel Bomb:-
    Weight - 3 lbs
    Measurements - Cylinder 4” x 3”
    Colour - Green cover. White bomb.
    The covering case springs open as the bombs scater.
    The core is attached to the bomb by a wire cable and forms a parachute to break the fall of the bomb.
    The bomb is apparently harmless up to one hour after falling.
    It is insensitive to Small Arms fire, unless the bullet hits the actual primer, where the cable meets the bomb.
    After an hour the bomb appears to become dangerous.
    An Arab boy of about 15 stepped on one yesterday and had both legs severely wounded.
    He has since died.
    No. 4 Company endeavoured to dispose of the bombs with rifle fire.
    After they had got rid of 9 or 10, Sergeant LYNCH got a little too close to one and was slightly wounded in the stomach.
    There are still some 30 or so lying about in No. 4 Company’s area.
    As a result one of the Anti-Tank guns which was to have gone to TEBOURSOUK last night to be zeroed coud not be moved.

    8 April
    Little of note happened in the Battalion area today.

    9 April
    The battle of the last three days appears to have died down and the position is stabilising itself on the new line.
    The NORTHAMPTONS are established in the hills on the other side of the valley to SID ALI BEN YA.
    This village is held by the left company of 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS.
    In the middle of the gap between those two Battalions lies the village of SID NACEUR.
    Into this village there moved a party known as ‘Young Force’ commands by Major H.L.S. YOUNG with Captain G.B. ISMAY acting as his Adjutant and Quartermaster and comprised of Nos. 1 and 4 Companies, one section of Carriers, two detachments of Mortars, 2 17 pounder Anti-Tank guns, 2 Forward Observation Officers, a party from 137 Field Ambulance and some signallers and sappers. See Young Force Operation Order of 10 April 1943
    No. 2 Company has taken over the positions formerly held by No. 1 Company.
    No. 3 Company have replaced No. 4 Company and No. 2744 Squadron ROYAL AIR FORCE REGIMENT are now where No. 3 Company used to be.
    Before this operation could take place of Pioneers under the command of Lieutenant J.J. NUNN went forward to recce the route to NACEUR.
    They found the M'DAKRENE FM was not in the hands of the NORTHAMPTONS.
    Unfortunately this farm has plentifully booby trapped and the NORTHAMPTON Quartermaster light-heartedly kicking a gate open touched a booby trap off and was severely wounded in the leg.
    The Carriers lost by us on March 30th, the day of No. 2 Company attack, were partially blocking the road, but have now been pulled away by L.A.D.
    The actual move of Young Force took place without incident until the last vehicle of all was nearing NACEUR.
    This vehicle was No. 4 Company cooker containing a quantity of blankets, groundsheets, cooking utensils and ammunition and when about a mile short of NACEUR touched off a mine.
    The explosion set fire to the petrol tank and the lorry was soon blazing merrily.
    In the back of the lorry were cooks and other personnel of No. 4 Company.
    They left the lorry with quite remarkable rapidity, and thanks to this no casualties resulted.

    10 April
    During the recent operations about 800 prisoners have been take on the Divisional Front.
    Included in this number are a Prussian C.S.M. and about 200 Austrians from the III Bn 756 Mountain Regiment who surrendered at 1230 hours on April 9th.
    The C.S.M. had taken part in the action of March 30th against No. 2 Company.
    The C.S.M. said that the English ‘Hauptmann’ had been killed.
    Hauptmann’ literally means Captain, but in this case the C.S.M. may have wished to say ‘leader’.
    It is possible, therefore, that Major BUCKNILL was killed.
    On the other hand the statement may refer to one of the ROYAL ARTILLERY Captains, who were out.
    A grave large enough to hold about 15 bodies marked by an IRISH GUARDS helmet has been found.
    An Arab, who has been living at M’DAKRENE FM, and is in the services of Major of MEDJEZ has told the following story:-
    The farm was permanently occupied by 12 Germans, who lived in the house. They were armed with machine guns and rifles. There was no gun there; they had an O.P. under the caves and a telephone running back to the Germans lines. They did not go down into the cellar. After the farm had been shelled, they left one morning, but returned the same night. One man was killed by the shelling and buried under the kitchen floor. Two or three ’S’ mines are buried, but not very cleverly in the courtyard. There is a stack of Anti-Personnel mines in the cellar. The Germans left about 4 days ago. The Germans stayed in all day and only ventured out at night. They were almost invariably hungry.
    The Second-in-Command of the EAST SURREY REGIMENT passed through No. 2 Company positions this afternoon and said that a German prisoner had told him that on March 30th 4 Officers and 80 men were taken prisoner.
    It will be recalled that the following officers are out with No. 2 Company:-
    Major S.J.R. BUCKNILL - Irish Guards
    Lieutenant C.D. LESSLIE - Irish Guards
    Lieutenant A.W.T. ROCHFORD - Irish Guards
    Captain BETHELL - 19th Field Regiment, ROYAL ARTILLERY
    Captain WHITEHEAD - 138 Field Regiment, ROYAL ARTILLERY
    Despite the enemy’s withdrawal they still seem to be able to reach us with their guns.
    This morning they shelled NACEUR and the area North of M’DAKRENE FM and in the afternoon they shelled RERHIDIA and No. 13 Platoon’s position.
    The first of the last lot of shells most unfortunately killed Guardsmen McALLISTER and SWIFT.
    The shells appeared to come from the area of TELLA SEFIA and were probably 105mm.

    11 April
    It was not until 1000 hours that the Battalion was disturbed in the middle of its enjoyment of an apparently uneventfull Sunday morning.
    At this time there was a certain amount of Anti-Aircraft activity in which the Anti-Aircraft played their part - and even went so far as to claim the destruction of a plane until it was discovered that this was a Spitfire whose pilot bailed out and landed safely about 3 miles West of us.
    The enemy seem to pay undue attention to No. 3 Company.
    They were not exactly left unmolested in their former position, and at 1245 hours No. 13 Platoon was subjected to 1/2 hours shelling during which time 9 shells landed - the largest crater was 6ft in diameter and 18” deep.
    Lance Sergeant SHANAHAN and Sergeant O’BRIEN were very slightly wounded.
    During the shelling period the cable from Company H.Q. to No. 13 Platoon was broken and Lance Sergeant TOBIN of the Signal Platoon volunteered to repair the line, this was accomplished at a certain amount of personal risk.
    Later the line went again and Lance Sergeant TOBIN had to be restrained from making a further attempt.
    At 1345 hours - by way of an afterthought - at 10th and last shell was dropped in this area.
    The interest shown by the enemy in this Platoon has lead to a strategic withdrawal on their part ot a less exposed slope of the hill.
    Battalion H.Q. and No. 2 Company were hardly affected by this assault and were able to enjoy the normal post-provided activity of a Sunday afternoon.
    There was a minor disturbance at Rear Battalion H.Q. about 1800 hours when Captain EGAN reported he was being fired at; this was found to be caused by the zeroing of a Bren gun.
    At 1900 hours, as it was getting dark, 3 aircraft flew over and were hotly engaged by our ever-vigilant A/A: in reply a number of Anti-Personnel mines were dropped in the plugged field 400 yards East of Battalion H.Q.
    Many of them exploded on landing.
    This was reported to Brigade who told us planes were Fortresses - we found it hard to agree.

    12 April
    The Pioneers went out this morning to see if there were any Anti-Personnel mines unexploded.
    In the process of dealing with these mines Sergeant DUNBAR and Sergeant CARR were seriously wounded, Sergeant FREEMAN and Guardsman PRINCE badly wounded.
    The mined area has now been wired off.
    After this tragic incident, as a result of which Lance Sergeant CARR subsequently Died of Wounds, the day was on the whole uneventful.
    There was no shilling and little air activity, although between 2000 and 2300 hours several ‘chandelier’ flares were dropped in the Battalion area and also bombs, the nearest begin about 500 yards from No. 15 Platoon.
    Heavy shelling was also heard at about this time in the mountain North of NACEUR.
    During the day No. 3 Company located a half buried mine immediately in the centre of their Company H.Q.
    A party of sappers thoroughly intrigued, eventually disposed of it and blew it up.
    It was discovered to be a cylindrically shaped tube of about six inches long and 1” in diameter just showing above the ground, fitted at right angles to a larger cylinder which was buried several inches below the surface.
    On being exploded, it left a crater 1 ft deep and 3 ft wide.
    It is interesting to note that No. 4 Company H.Q. had been sitting over this infernal machine for almost three weeks!
    It was finally located by No. 3 Company’s cobbler.

    13 April
    Today has been unusually quiet, and nothing of interest occurred until after dark.
    At about 2030 hours flares were dropped and enemy aircraft circled overhead.
    An H.E. bomb fell not far from No. 11 Platoon and a fresh assortment of Anti-Personnel bombs was distributed on the R.A.F. REGIMENT.
    It has now been laid down by Brigade that no infantry personnel shall attempt to deal with these bombs.
    Every morning a return has to be made stating whether any more have been dropped and the Sappers will then be detailed to dispose of them.
    A sapper Officer had in fact been her to inaugurate the new system.

    14 April
    Shortly after first-light, the gunners were observed putting down smoke on GRICHEL-OUED, and during the day formations of Mitchell bombers began to pound the notorious LONGSTOP.
    The 78 DIVISION were again on the move, attacking the high ground in the area of HEIDOUS.
    It is known that the enemy counter-attacked vigorously in the after noon but according to reports so far received all the first objectives were gained and held.
    As a result of this activity in the mountains, enemy aircraft were more in evidence, bombing ER RERHIDIA at 1645 horus and NACEUR half an hour later.
    These bombers were, however, attacking gun positions in the area of SI-EL-M’DAKRENE although two bombs fell in No. 1 Company area, causing neither damage nor casualties.
    An hour later F.V. 190's attacked the area near Brigade H.Q. while a solitary Hurricane, flying at ‘0’ feet, serenely braved a tornado of Bofors, Browning and Bren A/A fire and disappeared quite undisturbed over MORTAR HILL.
    A special order of the day was recently taken from a German prisoner.
    It congratulated the II Bn, 756 Mountain Regiment on the successful repulse of an attack on their positions on the 30th March, and stated that 82 prisoners were taken, (which included 2 Officers and 4 Other Ranks rOYAL ARTILLERY) 17 were casualties and the remainder are in enemy hands.
    This special order of the day endes with a plea for the excited Germans to remain calm, await the expected order to attack, show “the enemy the stuff we Germans are made of”, Heil Hitler, Weber Major-General.
    The whole Battalion congratulates Lance Sergeant PEARSON on receiving an Immediate Award of the Military Medal for his gallant conduct while out on a patrol.

    15 April
    The Commanding Officer, the Adjutant and Father BROOKES paid a visit to RECCE RIDGE and inspected with great interest the well sited positions, which the enemy held for so long.
    They found the grave mentioned by the Commanding Officer of the 5th Battalion NORTHAMPTONSHIRE REGIMENT and erected a cross in memory of those men of No. 2 Company, who gave their lives in action on March 30th.
    The enemy guns continue to fire unsuccessfully at our gun positions in the hills to the North of M’DAKRENE FM.
    Several of the shells were short and landed in SIDI NACEUR, but no damage or casualties were causeed.
    At about 2015 hours an H.E. bomb fell at NACEUR and another was topped very close to the troop of guns SE of No. 2 Company H.Q
    Again no damage or casualties resulted.
    A re-allotment of transport has become necessary, partly because of the desire to have as few vehicles as possible in the front line or up with the fighting troops during an advance and partly because we have had to give some vehicle to units who have suffered heavy losses, while others are being held in Divisional reserve.
    The companies and platoons affected have been informed.
    Transport is now divided into 3 Echelons, F, A & B and is allotted as follows:-
    F Echelon - 46 Vehicles which actually go forward with the Battalion
    A Echelon - 24 Vehicles held up to 10 milse behind the forward elements.
    B Echelon - 8 Vehicles which remain in the Divisional Administrative area 25 miles back.
    As a result of this each Rifle Company now has two 15 cwt trucks in F Echelon ot carry picks and shovels and ammunition, and a further truck in A Echelon, to carry big packs, blankets etc.
    Each Company has a half share in another A Echelon 15 cwt truck in which is carried Reserve S.A.A.

    16 April
    The Adjutant and Captain J.T. EGAN paid another visit to RECCE RIDGE yesterday.
    On the forward slopes of the ridge they found two bodies which they were able to identify as those of Lance Sergeant HIGGINSON and Guardsman FURY.
    They brough back a quantity of German ammunition and a loaf of the black bread which the German troops are eating.
    It is interesting to note that German signal cartridges, of which a good supply was found, fit our Verey Light pistols.
    The enemy continue to shell and bomb our front.
    This morning 25 shells fell to the North of M’DAKRENE FM.
    This evening the usual German aeroplane dropped a 4 bombs on MEDJEZ and 3 near the BEJA road and not far from RERHIDIA.
    They were all H.E.

    17 April
    Today is one of the quietest days that we have yet enjoyed.
    Nothing of note occurred in the Battalion area.
    A ffe shells fell on the road between M’DAKRENE FM and TOUKABEUR, but there were no casualties amongst the transport using the road.
    No news had come through of the fighting on the 78 DIVISION’s front.

    18 April Captain P.A.G. RAWLINSON and Lieutenant O.F. McINERNEY paid a visit to RECCE RIDGE and brought back with them a further quantity of German equipment and a number of steel helmets and some other kit belonging to No. 2 Company.
    Crosses were erected on the graves of Lance Sergeant HIGGINSON and Guardsman FURY.

    19 April
    Diar El Hammar
    2030 Hours The Battalion was relieved by the K.S.L.I. and proceeded by march route to a Brigade concentration area, a wadi behind GRENADIER HILL. See 1IG Move Order of 19 April
    We had been almost a month in the positions facing RECCE RIDGE, and were all well dug in, particularly Battalion H.Q. which was very comfortably settled into the ‘DOLLS HOUSE’ and the FM below it.

    20 April
    behind Grenadier Hill
    0030 Hours After a march of two hours and crossing the FORTH BRIDGE across the River MEJERDA, the Battalion arrived at its wadi and settled down for the rest of the night.
    The day was spent quietly, preparing for the big Divisional attack, due to take place tomorrow night.
    2230 Hours A general alarm caused by the Germans forestalling our attack by one of their own, as frequently happens.
    The enemy attacked BANANA RIDGE with tanks and infantry, over-running some of our guns, and also threatening our flank.
    The Battalion was moved hastily by night to positions on the hills DJ TOUILA.

    21 April
    0500 Hours Daylight found the Battalion in position on the hill, and nicely installed for a grandstand view of the tank battle which took place beneath us.
    We saw the Churchills move up at first light to a hull-down position covering the plain leading into MEDJEZ-EL-BAB, and take on the attacking German tanks and infantry, causing them heavy casualties.
    The Battalion remained in its positions, No. 2 Company forward dug in forward on the MEDJEZ-GOUBELLAT Road and No. 1 and 4 Companies on DJ TOUILA.
    No. 3 Company had been sent forward, to come under command of 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS in the area TELLA SEFRA, to cover the forming-up places for the attack tomorrow night.

    22 April
    The Battalion did not return to its Wadi, but started the attack, which was put forward one day by the German intervention, from TOUILA. See 1IG Operation Order of 22 April
    2230 Hours The Battalion moved forward from TOUILA, to cross the Start Line, the main MEDJEZ - TUNIS Road at 0300 hours.

    23 April
    Tella Sefra
    Following up behind 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS the Battalion reached the Start Line uneventfully, except for a little mortar fire on the line of the Road.
    Companies were met by guides from No. 3 Company, who led them into lying up positions in the sandpits of TELLA SEFRA.
    The SCOTS GUARDS and GRENADIER GUARDS met heavier opposition than was expected, besides which the SCOTS GUARDS in particular, had difficulty in identifying the hills they were supposed to attack.
    The second phase of the attack, therefore, did not take place, and the Brigade remained on the positions won.
    The Battalion remained in reserve, but moved forward to positions in gullies N.W. of TELLA SEFRA.
    No. 3 Company remained in TELLA SEFRA.
    The enemy airforce was active all day, frequently bombing our positions.
    Two direct hits on No. 3 Company wounded Captain H.H. PRENDERGAST and Lieutenant A.M.C. ASKIN, killed two Other Ranks, and wounded four others, including C.S.M. MORAN.
    The F Echelon coming up the main MEDJEZ - TUNIS road was cannoned and machine-gunned.
    Two men of the M.G. platoon were badly wounded.

    24 April
    Tella Sefra
    The Battalion remained in its positions all day.
    2100 Hours The Battalion ordered to attack Hills 151 and 187, zero hour to be 0200.
    It was already dark and nobody had seen these hills, nor could we discovered from anybody, even the 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS, who were the nearest to them, which these hills were.
    Nos. 1 and 4 Companies marched up to the SCOTS GUARDS Battalion H.Q., in the hope of getting information, but found that they knew nothing, and furthermore that there was a SCOTS GUARDS Company, with whom there was no communication, lying between us and the objective, who would certainly have fired on us in the dark.
    The Commanding Officer then got in touch with the Brigade Commander and the attack was postponed.

    25 April
    Tella Sefra
    Company Commanders spent the day making a recce for the attack, while the Battalion, from safe seats, watched a tank and infantry attack going in onto the hills on our right.
    A certain amount of mortar and shell fire fell in and round our positions, but caused no damage.

    26 April
    Points 151 & 187
    The Battalion attacked Points 187 and 151 at 0500 hours and took these hills with no casualties and little opposition.
    One complete German section was captured.
    Nos. 1 and 4 Companies took up position on Point 187, No. 2 on Point 151 and No. 3 behind them, with Battalion H.Q. in the valley between Points 151 and 145.
    Immediately after dawn, the Germans began shelling.
    This fire was very accurate and caused a good many casualties.
    No movement at all was possible on these hills, which were overlooked by the enemy on both sides.
    A German O.P. was spotted forward of Point 212.
    2200 Hours A strong patrol from No. 4 Company led by Lieutenant D.C. ATTLEE was sent out, which captured one German officer and two Sergeant Majors.
    The Officer wept copiously on being remind of his home town.

    27 April
    Points 151 & 187
    The Battalion was preparing to take part in a Brigade attack on the hills to the East of DJEBEL BOU AOUKAZ, our objectives being Points 212, 214, 181 and 128, Zero Hour 1900 hours, when the time was put forward by Division and the Zero Hour became 1600 hours.
    1530 Hours The Battaion began to move out of its positions, so as to reach the Start Line, the forward edge of Olive Grove, East of Point 187.
    This movement was observed by enemy O.Ps. and from then until Point 212 was finally captured, the Battalion was subjected to continuous fire from shells, M.Gs, mortars, and, peculiarly unpleasant, six-barrel mortars.
    The Battalion advanced, in broad daylight, across an open yellow cornfield and finally reached the Olive Grove.
    This grove gave little shelter, and was in addition, a German registered mortar task.
    Casualties up to date had been heavy, Captain J.B. FITZGERALD, Lieutenant J.G.A. PYM, and R.Q.M.S. PEILOW being killed, Captain I.H. POWELL-EDWARDS, Lieutenant C.A. LARKING, Lieutenant D.C.W. LLOYD-THOMAS, and Lieutenant D.C. ATTLEE being wounded.
    Battalion H.Q. had been established on the forward edge of the Olive Grove - the Start Line - and from there the Commanding Officer kept control of the battle, as far as communications would allow.
    1900 Hours By now the Companies were very weak - the cornfield and olive groves are strewn with wounded men, and groups of walking wounded were making their way back to the R.A.P.
    It was now obviously impossible to carry out the original plan.
    Nos. 1 and 4 Companies were being held up in front of Point 212; Nos. 2 and 3 Companies, on their way to Point 128, had suffered heavy casualties, and had run into German Armoured Cars and tanks in the olive groves.
    The Commanding Officer decided to concentrate on Point 212.
    An artillery concentration was put down on this Point and on a farmhouse which was blocking the approach to it.
    Captain O.S. CHESTERTON, though wounded, led No. 1 Company into the attack again; some 50 German infantry were seen to be leaving the hill in some haste.
    Battalion H.Q., with what men it could collect, advanced to the top of Point 212.
    Two enemy officers were taken prisoner.
    Lieutenant C.D. KENNARD with 30 me of No. 3 Company then arrived, followed by Lieutenant T.C. KEIGWIN with 25 men of No. 2 Compay.
    The force on the hill now amounted to 170 all ranks.
    1930 Hours It was getting dark, and the stretcher bearers were working hard, trying to collect all the wounded men and bring them to the line of the road, where they were collected by the ambulance.
    The force established itself on Ponts 212 and 214 and the ridge connecting them, digging itself in as best as it could in the rocky ground, in preparation for a dawn counter-attack.
    2230 Hours Three carriers with rations, water and ammunition made their way to the Eastern foot of the hill, and a large carrying party brought up the supplies.
    No sleep was had that night.

    28 April
    Point 212
    0500 Hours No dawn attack came, and all seemed quiet.
    5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS had captured their objective, the hill on our left, but there was no sign of 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS.
    Two Guardsmen of 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS were collected by a patrol of ours on Point 181.
    These stated that a Company of the SCOTS had reached Point 181, but had withdrawn on discovering it was not one of their objectives.
    0830 Hours The Commanding Officer left the hill to report to Brigade H.Q.
    He was only just gone when the enemy began infiltrating round the hill, and he was subsequently never able to return.
    Point 145, Bn H.Q. Officer reinforcements from B Echelon consisting of Major D.M.L. GORDON-WATSON MC, Captain G.B. ISMAY, Captain D. DRUMMOND, and Lieutenant J.C. DODDS.
    1400 Hours A strong German counter-attack was made, with about 20 tanks and supporting infantry.
    The attack came in through the GABGAB Gap, cutting off the force at Point 212 from the remainder of the Battalion, ie Battalion H.Q. and Suport Group, reinforced by troops from 1st DIVISION RECCE REGIMENT.
    Battalion H.Q. and Support Group took up positions on Points 151 and 145.
    Three enemy tanks appeared hull down on the crest about 1500 yards to the South of their positions, but M.M.Gs and Mortars got quickly into action and stopped any further progress by enemy infantry.
    Our 6-pounder Anti-Tank guns were waiting on the reverse slope, but did not get a shoot.
    One enemy tank was knocked out by a RECCE CORPS 6-pounder.
    The enemy were now attacking Point 212, had broken through to Point 132, between Battalion H.Q. and Point 212, and enemy tanks were machine gunning Point 151.
    There was considerable shell and mortar fire.
    No. F.O.O. was available, but the Second-in-Command on Point 151 passed information back on the Mortar Power Telephone to the C.O. who passed it on by 19 Set to Colonel MACKAY, ROYAL ARTILLERY, O.C. Regt Artillery Group.
    A concentration was finally brought snow on enemy tanks and infantry, forcing them to withdraw.
    1800 Hours A Churchill tank attack pushed the Germans back through the gap.
    During the night Carriers tried to replenish Point 212 and evacuated those wounded who had managed to make their way to the bottom of the hill.

    29 April
    Major H.L.S. YOUNG and Lieutenant SYNGE took a M.M.G. up to Point 212 and were both caught there in the battle.
    Points 187 and 132 were taken over by the N. STAFFS REGIMENT, 1st Battalion LOYALS were in the area Point 117.
    About 40 enemy tanks and supporting infantry again broke through Point 132 and the GABGAB Gap and established themselves on Point 117, eliminating the LOYALS, German infantry took Point 132, menaced 187 and made a half-hearted attack on the GRENADIERS.
    15 enemy tanks were knocked out during this attack.
    Artillery was very active on our side, but the enemy penetration right into our position made targets difficult.
    At nightfall the enemy infantry and about 15 tanks still lay across the only supply route to Point 212.
    Three attempts were made to supply Point 212 but none got through; meanwhile arrangements were being made for 212 to be reinforced by by 3 companies of the 6th GORDONS.
    At last it was decided that supplies should go up protected by the GORDONS.
    The GORDONS, however, got lost and did not appear.
    The supplies, therefore, went forward unescorted, under Captain G.B. ISMAY.
    He and Captain D. DRUMMOND reached the ills, but supplies coud not be got up, and had to be left at the bottom.

    30 April
    30 April Major H.L.S. YOUNG arrived in to see the Commanding Officer to explain to him direct the situation on 212.
    It was that the troops were in high morale but absolutely dead tired.
    Owing to casualties they were too few to properly man their positions and they must be reinforced or relieved at once.
    The Commanding Officer was away but the Second-in-Command explained the situation to Brigadier MOORE, 2 I.B., and he and Major H.L.S. YOUNG wen toff to 24th GUARDS BRIGADE H.Q. to see what could be done.
    The Commanding Officer was already at Brigade H.Q.
    Soon after Major YOUNG’s departure the third attack began.
    This was purely on 212.
    After a hectic three hours or so, in which the fire of 72 guns was directed by means of 18 Set to Battalion H.Q. and 19 Set to Brigade, news came that once again the attack had been repelled.
    In the afternoon enemy tanks and guns were located in various places to our South.
    By now we had a telephone to our gunners and Corporal BARROW, Signal Platoon, and Signaller IRONES, ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS, amused themselves directing the fire of batteries and chasing tanks all around the countryside.
    2000 Hours Two companies 6th GORDONS arrived on 212.
    2359 Hours Tonight troops on 212 were relieved.
    They were going to be relieved by a further company of 6th GORDONS, but this proved impossible, so 55 men - Carrier Platoon, Mortar Platoon and odd reinforcements from companies are gathered together and went up to 212 under command of Lieutenant J.St.G. GUNSTON with Lieutenant O.F. McINEARNEY.
    The change-over was uneventful and the heroes of 212 were brought back.
    The night was spent in evacuating the wounded, among whom was the Medical Officer, Captain A.F.D. O’NEILL, Lieutenant B.T. SYNGE, Lieutenant C.D. KENNARD, Lieutenant T.C. KEIGWIN and Captain D. DRUMMOND, were also got quickly back and away to the M.D.S.
    Guardsman HICKIE, stretcher bearer, was at last wounded after very gallant work.
    PHIL85 likes this.
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    SUBJECT:- DEFENCE OF POINTS 212 and 214 by 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS.
    TO:- Officer Commanding, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS.
    FROM:- Captain D.J.L. FITZGERALD, Adjutant, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS.

    I have the honour to submit the following account of the events which took place on Points 212 and 214, and the ridge connecting these points, after you let to report to Brigade H.Q. on the morning of Wednesday 28th.


    After a quiet morning, the enemy began to mortar the ridge heavily at about mid-day. The only result of this was that any slit trenches that were not finished were rapidly deepened. The top of the ridge, however, was bare rock, and it was extremely difficult to find good over, or digging ground there.

    At about 14.00hrs, 88 mm guns, and tanks firing HE opened up on the crest form close range in the olive grove. This fire was heavy, most accurate and most unpleasant. The men were withdrawn to the top of the reverse slope, leaving look outs dug in as well as possible. Unfortunately, both then and throughout the following days casualties were heavy among the look out men, but never was there any lack of volunteers for the task.

    The fire was intensified and German infantry were reported to be climbing the slope, up the end of the ridge nearest to Pt 214. This was the first opportunity the men had of engaging the enemy personally, and it was eagerly taken.

    No. 3 Coy and No. 4 Coy moved up to the crest and were ready to take on the infantry when the shell fire ceased and the infantry appeared. L.M.G. and Rifle fire halted the Germans and caused them heavy casualties. They were already wavering, when 2 L.M.G.s and a section of No. 1 Coy were transferred from the right flank, which was not engaged, to strengthen the fire power of the left.

    This increased S.A. fire had the desired effect. The Germans turned and ran back down the hill. We were all astonished by this sight, but soon recovered from our amazement. The men went forward and shot down the fugitives till they disappeared into the corn field below.

    Two German officers, who attempted to rally their troops, were picked off by riflemen. The whole force was elated by this success and from then on morale was at highest possible level. The men never for one moment doubted their ability to thrash and to go on thrashing the Germans as long as our ammunition and water hold out.

    After this attack, the mortar fire and shell fire began again and continued steadily till Friday night. I cannot remember any time during the intervening time when we were not shelled and mortared, and later machine gunned and sniped as well.

    At about 18.00hrs No. 3 Coy, on Pt 214 on the left, reported that the Germans were trying to work their way round our left and had got into the gully below Pt 214.

    Preparations were made to meet another attack, which duly came at approx. 19.00hrs. The enemy attempted to scale Pt 214 from the NORTH, and the ridge from the NORTH EAST. No. 2 Coy went round the WESTERN side of the hill and caught the enemy on the flank, causing heavy casualties. In spite of this the enemy succeeded in reaching the top of Pt 214. Since life would have been intolerable if the enemy had held this point a bayonet and tommy gun charge was organized and the enemy were swept off it and grenaded down the hill. The credit for this, and for the entire defence of Pt 214, without which our life would have been even more intolerable, was due to Lieut. C.D. KENNARD.

    The enemy continued to press their attack on the NORTHERN half of the ridge and were nearly on to the flat top. It was getting dark, and the situation looked serious. At the moment of greatest need, Sgt MUSGROVE and his 3” Mortar team appeared, running along the reverse slope, carrying their mortar, which had to be abandoned that morning on the SOUTHERN foot of Pt 212. One their own initiative the detachment rescued their mortar; it was assembled in record time and 20 bombs were shot over the ridge at minimum range, with alternative switches to left and right. The effect on the enemy could be judged by the screams which followed each burst.

    No. 4 Coy and the left half of No. 1 Coy then went forward and destroyed the leading enemy troops who had been cut off from the main body by the mortar fire. If we had had more 35 grenades, we could have done even more damage. The enemy then retired, and throughout the night could be heard digging in half way up the hill, and collecting his dead an wounded there and in the plain below. The roll of one German Company was loudly called by what appeared to be a very bad type of C.S.M. and we were glad to note that he was deficient of a good half of the names called out. Captain J.T. EGAN was wounded in the arm during this attack.

    There was no rest for the Bn that night. A prisoner brought in by No. 2 Coy belonged to 2nd Bn 47 REGT and stated they had left ENFIDAVILLE yesterday afternoon, and were rushed out to the attack by lorry.


    We fully expected a dawn attack as our prisoner was very anxious to be evacuated before dawn, but none came. It was not till 9 a.m., that the enemy came on again this time in even greater force and all along the line of the ridge from Pts 212 to 214, incl both points. 212 was now held by 11 TROOP of the RECCE CORPS, for whose conduct and courage no praise can be too high. The relieved the Bn of the expensive duty of finding the look out man on Pt 212 and on this occasion gave us the warning of the attack on the right, which came in first. The Germans on this flank were greatly discouraged by a Sgt SALT of RECCE CORPS and Cpl KENNEALLY of 1 Coy, who went forward to meet the Germans, firing their Bren Guns from the hip, with such good effect, that this part of the attack petered out and it was possible to move men from 1 Coy to strengthen the left flank, leaving the RECCE CORPS and a few good shots of No. 1 Coy to shoot down the retreating Germans.

    The attack on the left was put in with more persistence, and for some time it looked as if the Germans might succeed in reaching the top of Pt 214, particularly as our amn was getting very low. Another tiresome feature about this attack was that the Germans succeeded in getting an armoured car on to the hill beyond 214. Lieut T.C. KEIGWIN put four A/P bullets into the engine of this car, which stopped it. The crew then foolishly attempted to dismount their machine guns, and were caught with it half way out by a section of No. 3 Coy, who fired a volley which disposed of the crew.

    After a few hours’ respite another attack was made by fresh German troops. By this time we were getting quite used to them. As usual the Germans were driven off, but this time a small counter attack was put in, which reached the little hill beyond 214, captured two machine guns and turned one on to the retreating enemy. Enemy mortar fire made this hill untenable and the counter attack party returned to the main positions, bringing in one German M.G. and ammo, and having destroyed the other.
    The afternoon would have been quiet if we had not been heavily shelled by our own guns. I am quite certain it was our own guns, as were the R.A. O.P. party present. I have seen enough of both sides’ shell fire to know which is which. Besides which, an abortive and half-hearted tank attack was made on our left and this shell fire moved as a barrage along the ridge in 100 yds lifts and finally concentrated on and beyond Pt 214. The only consolation was that it must have caused the Germans beyond 214 some casualties as well.

    Major H.L.S. YOUNG and an M.G. arrived shortly after this shelling just in time to get a magnificent shoot on the German infantry who were following up a tank attack on our right. Unfortunately a direct hit from a tank gun disabled the M.G. and killed or wounded all but two of the crew. As a result of this German attack, two tanks got round to our rear, between us and Pt 132, and began firing at us from behind, an example which was soon followed by tanks which reached Pt 117, so we were now being fired on from all sides. During the night a German mortar and M.G. were mounted on the NE slopes of 132 and 212 respectively, so that the fire was hotter than ever.

    At approximately midnight Gdsm NICHOLSON, who had been sent back on Wednesday morning to have a wound dressed, suddenly reappeared, reporting to Major H.L.S. YOUNG, saying he had found a Coy of the LOYALS and could bring them up if we wanted them. He then went off, collected the LOYALS and brought them up. They were superimposed on the existing sections to thicken them up.


    We had expected reinforcements from the GORDONS, but these never appeared. Just after dawn Captains ISMAY and DRUMMOND arrived with some very welcome and necessary ammunition and rations. Major YOUNG returned to Bn H.Q. to report on the situation of the Bn. German activity started almost immediately afterwards, and we were only able to get up a very small proportion of the supplies brought up by Captain ISMAY. Lieut J.J. NUNN was killed and Lieut B.T. SYNGE badly wounded in attempting, most gallantly, to reach and recover the ammunition which we needed so badly.


    The last and biggest attack of all was made by the Germans. They came up in exactly the same way, but in greater numbers and with greater persistence. I noticed a higher percentage of officers than I have ever seen with any troops - half were in front leading (these were easily picked off) and half were behind driving their troops on (these were harder to get at). They actually got over to our side of 214 and up on to the ridge. One section under L/Cpl FERGUSON was over-run, and was being led away, but took an opportunity of shooting their captors including an officer and rejoined the Bn after 20 mins absence.

    A counter attack was organized, that against 214 led by Lieut C.D. KENNARD, who was wounded and that along the NORTHERN half of the ridge by Lieut D.G. MADDEN, who unfortunately was killed. All the LOYALS on this side, who had not run away, had surrendered, and were mixed up in the Germans when we counter attacked, with the result that a number of them were shot by us, the rest by the Germans. This counter attack shattered the Germans and the whole line swept forward, cheering and shouting “Up the Micks”. We chased the enemy half way down the ridge, firing “into the brown” and bayoneting the less fleet-footed. I have never seen anything like it, and it was with great difficulty the men were restrained from going down into the corn-field.

    I should mention here that L/Cpl LOCKLEY, Int Sec, whose conduct throughout was exemplary, spotted a high ranking German officer attempting to rally his men. L/Cpl LOCKLEY pursued this officer, almost down into the plain, and eventually shot him, immediately afterwards he himself was caught by a machine gun and killed. The importance of this German officer was proved by the fact that two German tanks immediately drove up and placed themselves on either side of him to protect him and remained there till night fall, regardless of the gun-fire I had directed at them. Captain D. DRUMMOND was wounded right at the beginning of the attack, and Captain G.B. ISMAY killed some time during the preparatory German shelling.

    This last and complete failure in their strongest attack evidently disheartened the Germans for they never made a proper full scale attack again, though throughout the day small parties continued to try and work their way up and continued to be shot down. Just as this episode was closing we saw some GRENADIERS starting to cross the valley below us to come to our assistance. It was a heartening sight, and we were glad to have them when they came for though everything was practically over, their presence gave our men a chance to relax a little.


    One Coy of GORDONS appeared, and the GRENADIERS withdrew. The other Coy of GORDONS took the wrong turning and blundered into the enemy. When they eventually appeared, I took the Bn into reserve on a ledge, half way down the reverse slope.

    At 03.00hrs Saturday, we were relieved.

    173 O.R.s reached Pts 212 and 214 on Tuesday night; 80 left it on Saturday morning, which includes those men such as M.G. Section, who managed to get up during the “siege”.

    The conduct of your Bn throughout these three days was beyond all praise. They were short of food, short of sleep, short of ammunition, very short of water, continually shelled, mortared, machine gunned, sniped and often surrounded, and never once did I or any other officer, see any sign of anything but a fixed determination to hold our positions, for ever if need be, a complete contempt for the German infantry and a stolid and cheerful endurance of the German fire. After the repulse of the first attack morale was at the highest level, and I have never seen the men more cheerful. There was no suggestion of complaint of any kind and the most dangerous and uncomfortable tasks were carried out almost before an order was given. Very few orders were given by me or anybody else - there was hardly any necessity; for the whole force acted as one cohesive and intelligent body. Every man, including those with the longest ‘shoots’, did his duty and more than his duty. I always knew the Bn was a good one, but I never guessed it was so good, and personally I shall never forget their courage and uncomplaining endurance their unfailing cheerfulness, the silence and patience of the wounded, the kindness and gentleness of the men to their wounded comrades, and the spirit of co-operation amongst themselves. As they said themselves “We are all the Micks, and the Micks muck in together”. It was an honour to be with such men.



    This Troop, No. 11, I think, was invaluable to the Bn, and fought alongside No. 1 Coy, on Pt 212, in a way that roused the respect of the Bn. I should particularly like to draw attention to the conspicuous conduct of a Sgt SALT, whose unfailing devotion to duty, ardent zeal in shooting down Germans, meant that 212 was never in much danger. The whole of the Troop deserve, and have, our unqualified admiration and gratitude.

    (Sgd) D.J.L. FITZGERALD, Captain,
    Adjutant 1st Battalion Irish Guards.
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From Tunis Telegraph, No. 42, Monday August 9, 1943, Price 1 franc

    [Pages of which are file in WO 169/10168 War Diary 1st Battalion Irish Guards July - December 1943]


    'Memorial on The Bou', From History of The Irish Guards in the Second World War, FitzGerald


    Three sharp volleys of rifle fire shatter the calm of Sunday morning, and echoed among the never-to-be-forgotten hills near MEDJEZ EL BAB. The sad notes of The Last Post died away into the shimmering distances: a Union Jack lay at the foot of a tall grey marble cross set against the skyline on the DJBEL BOU AOUKAZ, the immortal “Hill 212” and an aeroplane droned overhead.

    Below, on the burnt hillside, 250 men of the IRISH GUARDS stood in reverent silence before the simple memorial to their comrades who gave their lives so generously in the bitter battle for that small but important hill.

    It was a spontaneous suggestion by the men of this famous Regiment which led to the erection of this memorial to their fallen comrades.

    The chose the site right on the top of the hill where the Regiment added fresh lustre to its glorious record, and the inscription says:

    “To the memory of the Officers, Warrant Officers, N.C.O’s and Men of the First Battalion, IRISH GUARDS, killed in action, on and around this hill April 27th - 30th, 1943”

    and underneath, the Irish Guards motto

    “Quis Separabit”

    For the consolation and comfort of the relatives of those who fell, photographs of the cross are to be sent home, so that parents and wives will have a permanent record of the memorial, and the knowledge that their dear ones were not left unhonoured and in unknown graves.

    Before a senior Officer of the Regiment unveiled the monument Father J.R. BROOKES celebrated Mass.

    In a short address, he reminded them that they were not only honouring their fallen comrades, but the families of those men who would now learn that in this far-off corner of a foreign land there was a hallowed spot and a memorial to the everlasting memory of those were he buried there.

    After Mass, the firing party, under the command of R.S.M. J McLOUGHLIN, lined up on three sides of the memorial, fired three rounds and then presented arms, while Guardsman TOLAND sounded The Last Post and Reveille.

    The men filed silently round the memorial, and spent a few minutes re-visiting the scene of their battle, before they drove away, carrying with them a lasting memory of that simple cross silhouetted sharply on the skyline against the clear sky of an African midsummer’s day.


    'The Bou', From History of The Irish Guards in the Second World War, FitzGerald

  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Irish Guards Association Journal, 1959

    Replacement memorial plaque, St. George's Church, Tunis:
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From Fitzgerald's History of IG in WW2:






    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    1 May 1943
    The first quiet day.
    40 enemy tanks were spotted in olive groves to our South; these were bombed and shelled.
    Brigadier COLVIN has been replaced by Acting Brigadier STEWART-BROWN, who paid the Battalion a visit.
    Captain D.M. KENNEDY arrived back from hospital and took over command of the remnants of the companies, organised in to one Company with 4 Platoons, thereby preserving their company identity.

    2 May
    Another quiet day.
    Father BROOKES gave Communion.
    Many visits and recces were made by Officers of all arms, including some from the 8th ARMY.
    The troops on 212 were transferred to 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS.
    Captain P.A.G. RAWLINSON went up to take over and Lieutenant O.F. McINERNEY returned.

    3 May
    Battalion H.Q. Support Group and Captain KENNEDY’s Company moved slightly northwards to a position on the banks of the River MEDJERDA, where the men could wash, clean up and rest.
    The area was reported by the ROYAL ENGINEERS to be clear of mines, but in spite of this, a portee driven [by] Lieutenant M. McN. BOYD ran on to one and was blown up.
    Lance Sergeant SOMERS, Lance Corporal KERR and Lance Corporal REDDINGTON were all very seriously hurt and Lance Sergeant SOMERS, and Lance Corporal REDDINGTON subsequently Died of Wounds.

    4 May
    Bathing, sleeping and resting.
    Lieutenant BARNES returned to the old Battalion H.Q. at Point 151 to hand over the R.A.P. and while there was killed by a shell.
    Captain I.H. POWELL-EDWARDS, and Lieutenant C.D. KENNARD escaped from hospital, extricating themselves from the machinery of evacuation, and returned to B Echelon, where they will rest for a few days before rejoining the Battalion.

    5 May
    Lieutenant CRITTENDEN arrived vice Lieutenant BARNES.
    The Orderly Room Staff is now immersed in paperwork, tracing, reporting and documenting all the Killed, Wounded and Missing.

    6 May
    The Battalion remained in its comparatively quiet area on the banks of the River MEDJERDA (Sheet 19 TUNISIA), but was not altogether immune for at approximately 1030 hours three shells fired by a long range gun on the other side of the River fell in the Battalion area.
    One fell by a group of men gathered round the water truck.
    Sergeant MAGUIRE, Provost Sergeant, was fatally wounded, and Sergeant WALLACE (Anti-Tank Platoon) and three Guardsmen wounded.
    The Battalion strength is now 440 of which only 110 are rifle men.
    These rifleman have been organised into one Company under Captain D.M. KENNEDY, who has just rejoined the Battalio.

    7 May
    See 24 GUARDS BRIGADE Operation Order No. 10 and 1 DIVISION Intelligence Summary No. 8 attached. APPENDIX A
    The whole mass of guns and transport that was spread out in the plain beside us had now all moved forward, and we are preparing to follow them up.
    It rained today, the first time for a long time, but that did not prevent large parties of men from bathing, in the river.

    8 May
    0600 Hours The Battalion moved by march route through the old battlefield and along the bottom of the BOU to its new positions in an olive grove, 3 miles S.E. of TEBOURBA (Sheet 19, TUNISIA).
    A, B, and F Echelons moved up in rear.
    The Battalion established itself in an olive grove 3 miles S.E. of TEBOURBA, with the task of preventing any stray bodies of Germans who might leave the hills to the North from crossing the plain on their way to CAP BON.
    We were told that the German troops had received orders to make their own way back as best they could.
    Battalion H.Q. was established in an empty Italian farmhouse after it had been carefully searched for booby traps.
    Captain KENNEDY took a photograph of the remainder of the Battalion.
    The films were sent to ENGLAND and it is hoped that they will arrive safely.

    9 May
    Father BROOKES said Mass on the steps of the farmhouse - rarely has a more fervent congregation been seen.
    Today was a day of congratulations. SEE APPENDIX B
    Messages were received from General ALEXANDER, to our delight and pride, and from the Divisional Commander.
    The acting Brigade Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel STEWART-BROWNE visited the Battalion and made a speech of congratulations.
    1700 Hours The Battalion moved to DJEDEIDA (8558 Sheet 20) and took up positions on the banks of the River MEDJERDA, covering two bridges across the river.
    The main bridge in DJEDEIDA village had been blow up and was replaced by a ROYAL ENGINEERS pontoon bridge.
    Across this bridge flowed a ceaseless stream of traffic, which included, besides military convoys, Arabs returning home with their flocks, and Americans in jeeps, sightseeing.
    This position was taken over from 128 BRIGADE who, because of our weak numbers, are to replace us in 1 DIVISION, and take part in the final attack on CAP BON, if, as was expected, the Germans made a final stand in that mountainous peninsular.

    10 May
    A quiet day during which the Battalion remained peacefully in its positions.
    The Brigade is now in 46 DIVISION, but nobody had any idea where H.Q. 46 DIVISION was to be found.

    11 May
    Lieutenant KEIGWIN went to MEDJEZ Camp for recaptured British Prisoners of War, and there discovered the following:-
    Lance Sergeant FITZPATRICK
    Lance Corporal GETHINGS
    Guardsman CARTLIDGE
    Guardsman EGLEN
    Guardsman POTTS
    Guardsman HYDE
    Guardsman BLAKELEY
    Guardsman GODDARD
    Guardsman TURNER
    These men were captured on the forward Eastern slope of Point 214 when their slit trenches are over-run by German tanks.
    They were marched off and kept under Italian guards in a dirty old cineman in TUNIS.
    On the arrival of the first British armoured cars, the Italians surrendered themselves to the prisoners.
    Lance Corporal GETHINGS reported that Guardsman O’NEILL and Guardsman O’CONNELL (No. 4 Company) and Guardsman WALSH (No. 3 Company) were marched off to a ship to be transferred to ITALY.
    This ship was bombed in the harbour and during the confusion these men escaped.
    Lance Corporal KANE was also reported to have been seen at large behind the enemy lines.
    All four of these men rejoined the Battalion shortly afterwards.

    12 May
    Another quiet day during which we watched the 4 INDIAN DIVISION and an Armoured Division passing back down the road to rejoin the 8th ARMY.
    To all intents the campaign in N. AFRICA is now over, the Germans having been cut off from CAP BON, and surrendering en masse.
    A dozen odd German stragglers have been collected by the Battalion, including a party of Barentins in a German touring car, which was immediately adopted by Support Group.

    13 May
    1100 Hours The Battalion moved ot an area just outside TUNIS, between KASSAR SAID RACE-COURSE, and the village of MANOUBA (0057 Sheet 20).
    Battalion H.Q. was established in a large Italian farmhouse and wine factory, formerly a German H.Q.
    The Companies, i.e. the Rifle Company, Support Group and B Echelon are situated in olive groves north of the farm.

    14 May
    The duties of the Brigade for the next few weeks are to find picquets and police posts in various parts of TUNIS city.
    The native quarter, the KASBAH, is out of bounds to all troops, and we have to find picquets to be placed on the main entrances.
    These duties begin tomorrow, but as a foretaste of its tasks, at 1800 hours the Battalion was required at great urgency to turn out a fully armed company to be rushed into TUNIS to deal with an anticipated military riot.
    Captain KENNEDY, armed to the teeth, took in all available riflemen, but fortunately their services were not required.
    The Commanding Officer, Major YOUNG, the Adjutant, and Father BROOKES drove to NABEUL, and there attended a ‘Guards Club’ dinner, arranged by Brigadier FORSTER, at which were present 200 Officers from all the Guards Brigades in N. AFRICA.

    15 May
    The Battalion began its ‘public duties’ in TUNIS.
    Although not physically strenuous, these guards involve a lot of standing about in the sun, and require a lot of tact and firm patience in dealing with importune and too often drunken soldiers, British and Allied.

    16 May
    A special High Mass of Thanksgiving in CARTHAGE Basilica was arranged by 78 DIVISION.
    The Battalion sent a large contingent, which headed by the pipes and drums, marched up the hill to the Basilica, and greatly impressed the local population.
    Father BROOKES sang the Mass, over which presided the Archbishop, Primate of All Africa.

    17 May
    A P.T. Parade was held this morning - the first return to normal routine.
    The Battalion was warned that it would be required to provide guards for 4,000 German Prisoners of War who would shortly be arriving at KASSAR SAID RACECOURSE.
    These extra guards will mean that every man in the Battalion will be doing 24 hours on and 24 hours off.

    18 May
    24 GUARDS BRIGADE was today officially withdrawn from 1 DIVISION and was transferred to 6 ARMOURED DIVISION.
    The 1ST GUARDS BRIGADE takes our place in 1st DIVISION for a future operation, and we all hope that the exchange will be permanent.
    We are all pleased at the prospect of belonging to an Armoured Division, and eagerly painted out the old sign and put on the MAILED FIST and the Serial No. 63.

    19 May
    The Battalion was today warned to provide 3 Officers and 54 Other Ranks to take part in the VICTORY PARADE in TUNIS tomorrow.
    Major YOUNG, Captain KENNEDY and Lieutenant McINERNEY, with a collection of the largest and smartest men attended a rehearsal in the Belvedere Park.
    The number of men returned form hospital after slight wounds, has now enabled the riflemen to be organised into two Companies.
    A' Company consisting of the remainder of 1 and 3 Companies, under Captain D.M. KENNEDY, and ‘B’ Company, consisting of 2 and 4 Companies, under Major I.H. POWELL-EDWARDS.

    20 May
    For full details of Parade see APPENDIX C
    The 24 GUARDS BRIGADE contingent marched past in a solid block, nine abreast, with 1 DIVISION.
    In the absence of the Divisional Commander, the Commanding Officer led the 1 DIVISION contingent.
    What appeared to be the whole French Forces in AFRICA, including the picturesque and blood-thirsty GOUMS, headed the Parade, followed by a number of American troops, Infantry tanks, armoured cars and guns of the 1st and 8th ARMIES.
    The Salute was taken by General GIRAUD, who had with him on the same platform Generals EISENHOWER, ALEXANDER and ANDERSON, Air Chief Marshal Sir A. TEDDER, and Admiral Sir Andrew CUNNINGHAM.

    21 May
    0715 Hours P.T.
    The first bathing party was organised in the Battalion today and a percentage of each company proceeded to SIDI-BOU-SAID near CARTHAGE and enjoyed ideal bathing facilities in the blue waters of the Mediterranean.
    22 May 0915 Hours Drill Parade, the Companies each holding their own separate Drill Parades in their respective areas, Battalion H.Q.s in the enclosed yard around the house.
    The Battalion Football team today took part in a football match with 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS, and despite the heat a good game was played, the result being the defeat of the GRENADIER GUARDS by 5 goals to 3.

    23 May
    The usual quiet day.
    The Roman Catholics held Mass at 0930 hours at Battalion H.Q., Father BROOKES officiating.
    The C of Es celebrated Holy Communion at an earlier hour, the Padre from 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS officiating.
    This Service was also held at Battalion H.Q.

    24 May
    0715 Hours P.T.
    The usual bathing parties went to SIDI-BOU-SAID.

    25 May
    A Drill Parade was held today at 0915 hours.
    The following telegram was received from the Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding the Regiment.
    "All Ranks at home send their congratulations to their comrades of the 1st Battalion on your glorious achievement and anxiously await the opportunity to emulate the standard set.”

    Subject:- Honours and Awards

    1. The ARMY COMMANDER will present ribbons of decorations to Officers and Other Ranks upon whom Awards for Gallantry in the Field have been conferred, at a ceremonial parade, which will take place at K.440100 at 1200 hours on 26 May 1943.

    2. Officers and Other Ranks mentioned in Appendix A upon whom awards as indicated aboe have been incurred will attend this Parade, and will be present at the place of Parade by 1130 hours.

    3. The dress for all Officers and Other Ranks in Appendix A will be KHAKI DRILL, with shorts, Bush shirts (worn inside trousers and with sleeves rolled up to elbow); anklets, Beret, F.S. Cap, or Regimental Headgear, belt and side arms. Officers will carry pistols on the left side with pouch on the right side of belt.

    4. A Guard of Honour consisting of one Platoon with one bugler will be detailed by H.Q. 26 ARMOURED BRIGADE, and will be fallen in ready at the place of Parade by 1100 hours and will practice dril at 1130 hours.

    5. The Guard of Honour will draw up in “open order” in three ranks, alongside the presentation base with the centre as diagram attached.

    6. On arrival of the Army Commander, the Guard of Honour will give the General Salute. After the General Salute has been acknowledged the Guard of Honour will “slope arms” and will be inspected by the Army Commander.

    7. At the conclusion of the inspection, the Guard will form “close order” and will be dressed at one arm intervals, in the position shown on Appendix A. Full instructions will be given to the Guard on the Ground at 1100 hours by D.A.A.G., 6th ARMOURED DIVISION.

    8. Officers and Other Ranks who are to be presented with awards will be formed up on both sides of the presentation base. Serials 1 - 11 on the right side of the base, 18 - 35 on the left side of the base; both facing inwards. Brigadier T. LYON-SMITH will command these serials.

    9. Officers Commanding units may send small organised parties as spectators at their own discretion.

    signed Lieutenant-Colonel, A.A.&Q.M.G.
    In the Field
    25 May 1943

    APPENDIX A TO 6 ARMOURED DIVISION letter dated 25 May 1943

    Name - Unit - Award
    1. Brigadier T. LYON-SMITH - Distinguished Service Order
    2. Brigadier G.P.B. ROBERTS, DSO MC - Bar to Distinguished Service Order
    3. Lieutenant-Colonel G.F. PAYNE GALWEY, DSO - 1 D. YEOMANRY - Bar to Distinguished Service Order
    4. Lieutenant-Colonel Honourable R.G. HAMILTON-RUSSELL - 17/21 LANCERS - Distinguished Service Order
    5. Lieutenant-Colonel G.C. GORDON-LENNOX - 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS - Distinguished Service Order
    6. Lieutenant-Colonel C.A. MONTAGU-DOUGLAS-SCOTT - 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Distinguished Service Order
    7. Lieutenant I. ILES - 1 D. YEOMANRY - Military Cross
    8. Major G.T. PONSONBY - 17/21 LANCERS - Military Cross
    9. Major W.S. THORBURN - 2 LOTHIANS - Military Cross
    10. Captain C.E. MONTAGU-DOUGLAS-SCOTT - 2 LOTHIANS - Military Cross
    11. Lieutenant A.K. WATERSON - 2 LOTHIANS - Military Cross
    12. -
    13. Lieutenant D.J. FITZGERALD - 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Military Medal
    14. Major R.A. FYFFE - 10 RIFLE BRIGADE - Military Cross
    15. Sergeant H. MELLING - 17/21 LANCERS - Distinguished Conduct Medal
    16. Sergeant W.R. GOFFIN - 51 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, ROYAL ARTILLERY - Distinguished Conduct Medal
    17. Sergeant D. LYNCH - 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Distinguished Conduct Medal

    18. Lance-Sergeant H. ASHTON - 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Distinguished Conduct Medal
    19. Guardsman S.J. NICHOLSON - 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Distinguished Conduct Medal
    20. Trooper A. ELKIN - 1 D. YEOMANRY - Military Medal
    21. Lance-Corporal C.A.C. SOLLIS - 17/21 LANCERS - Military Medal
    22. Trooper W.J. WREGGE - 17/21 LANCERS - Military Medal
    23. S.S.M. G. THOMAS - 2 LOTHIANS - Military Medal
    24. Lance-Sergeatn H. ASKEW - 2 LOTHIANS - Military Medal
    25. Trooper J. SCOTT - 2 LOTHIANS - Military Medal
    26. Gunner L.J. PETERS - 12 R.H.A. - Military Medal
    27. Gunner J.D. KERR - 12 R.H.A. - Military Medal
    28. Lance-Sergeant J.E. SMITH - 152 Field Regiment ROYAL ARTILLERY - Military Medal
    29. Bombardier W. CLOSS - 152 Field Regiment ROYAL ARTILLERY - Military Medal
    30. Gunner L. BLACK - 152 Field Regiment ROYAL ARTILLERY - Military Medal
    31. Lance-Sergeant E.J. MASON - 51 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment ROYAL ARTILLERY - Military Medal
    *32. Lance-Sergeant T. PEARSON - 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Military Medal
    33. Lance-Sergeant A. BALDOCK - 10 RIFLE BRIGADE - Military Medal
    34. Corporal V.E. STOGGLES - 10 RIFLE BRIGAE - Military Medal

    * Although listed to attend the Parade, this man was killed on 28 April 1943 http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2822777/


    26 May
    The following list of immediate awards conferred by the G.O.C. in C. 1st ARMY were published today:-
    Major (Temporary Major) C.A. MONTAGU-DOUGLAS-SCOTT - D.S.O.
    Lieutenant (Acting Captain) D.J.L. FITZGERALD - M.C.
    2718820 Sergeant D. LYNCH - D.C.M.
    2721511 Lance Sergeant A. ASHTON - D.C.M.
    2720987 Guardsman S.J. NICHOLSON - D.C.M.
    The Commanding Officer, Adjutant, Sergeant LYNCH, Lance Sergeant ASHTON and Guardsman NICHOLSON attended the ceremonial parade of 6 ARMOURED DIVISION at BOU FICHA where decorations were presented by General ANDERSSON, G.O.C. 1st ARMY.

    27 May
    Major General KEIGHTLEY, G.O.C. 6 ARMOURED DIVISION visited the Battalion.
    We learnt to our regret that the 24 GUARDS BRIGADE is only on loan to the 6 ARMOURED DIVISION whilst 1st GUARDS BRIGADE is with 1 (BRITISH) DIVISION for the next seaborne landing.

    28 May
    The Pipes and Drums beat Retreat in Avenue Jules Ferry, the centre of TUNIS to the astonishment and admiration of the inhabitants.

    29 May
    Drill Parade at 0915 hours.

    30 May The usual Church Parades.
    High Mass was celebrated at Battalion H.Q. at 0930 hours.
    A Church of England Service was held at 1000 hours in ‘A’ Company area.

    31 May
    The following message of congratulations was published today from the Colonel of the Regiment:-
    "To O.C. 1st Battalion IRISH GUADS, BNAF.
    Just received accounts of actions Point 212 and 214. Grand work, 1st Battalion. More power to you. I know you can and will do it again. God bless you.

    The following have now been officially notified as Prisoners of War:-
    2723320 Guardsman J. GALLOWAY, Previously reported Missing
    2723022 Guardsman A. McNORTON, Previously reported Missing
    2719661 Lance Corporal J. MURPHY, Previously reported Missing
    2721488 Lance Sergeant C. MYLES, Previously reported Missing
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    (To be circulated and passed to all troops).
    A mixed force of enemy infantry and tanks have been reported by our leading armoured forces to be in PROTVILLE (9576).

    6th GORDONS have captured CHAOUAT (8663).

    3rd INFANTRY BRIGADE and U.S. Forces joined up in TEBOURBA this morning.

    1 DIVISION has been ordered to advance up right bank of MEDJEZDA River. Order of March: 2nd BRIGADE - 3rd BRIGADE; in reserve 24th GUARDS BRIGADE, which will probably follow up on same axis of advance.

    Situation on rest of front not accurately known, but 78 DIVISION (including our old neighbours the NORTHANTS REGIMENT), report capture of 4,000 prisoners in TUNIS.

    Enemy main forces still believed to be between 1st and 8th ARMIES.

    Signed D.J.L. FITZGERALD, Captain
    Adjutant 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    In the Field
    10th May 1943


    Address to O.C. 1.I.G.
    “Heartiest congratulations to you and all ranks of the Battalion for your magnificent fight which has not only added fresh laurels to the illustrious name of the Regiment but has been of the utmost importance to our while battle. I am immensely proud of you all.

    I am very sorry about your losses.
    signed ALEXANDER

    Headquarters, 1st Division, B.N.A.F.

    “Now that this particular phase of operations is over, may I express my very great admiration for the gallant conduct of the 24 GUARDS BRIGADE.

    1 DIVISION was selected to bear the brunt of forcing an entry through the crust of the enemy to enable the armour to break through.

    All three Brigades had very strong enemy positions to attack which they did most gallantly, but the relentless courage, the cheerful sacrifices and great tenacity of the 24 GUARDS BRIGADE was outstanding and indeed without it, the victory of the 1st ARMY could never have been achieved.

    While it is impossible to differentiate between the gallant conduct of all three Battalions I think the story of the IRISH GUARDS on Hill 212 will always stand in red letters on the pages of that glorious Regiment’s history.

    Your losses were great and terrible to me, but my heart goes out to you in thankfulness that such courage should produce a reward, the true value of which, at this time, no man can assess.”

    signed Walter CLUTTERBUCK

    To: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS

    The officers and men of this Regiment greatly appreciate your commendation of our No. 11 Troops who fought beside your No. 1 Company on Point 212.

    Praise from a Regiment as famous as the IRISH GUARDS, is praise indeed.

    We sincerely trust that in the future we may again fight side by side and be of service in time of stress.

    signed L.A. BRETT, Lieutenant-Colonel
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    17 May 1943
    In conjunction of orders issued verbally to Divisions on 17 May 1943 regarding the Victory Parade, the following are the orders for the March Past:-
    Formation : Strength
    78 DIVISION : 2,400
    46 DIVISION : 2,400
    1 DIVISION : 1,000
    4 DIVISION : 1,500
    1 ARMY TROOPS : 500
    8 ARMY : 1,000

    The above will all march and will be followed by the following mechanised units:-
    30 vehicles and guns : Free French
    One Field Regiment (detailed by 78 DIVISION), guns only
    One Battery 4 Medium Regiment, guns only
    One Troop 93 Anti-Tank Regiment (17-pounders), guns only
    One Squadron Shermans (detailed 6 ARMOURED DIVISION)
    One Squadron Churchills (detailed by 25 TANK BRIGADE)

    2. Guns, tanks and vehicles above will march two (2) abreast down the centre of the route at two (2) yards interval and five (5) yards distance. In the case of tanks, the Commander, Wireless Operator and Co-Driver stand and Gunner stands behind the Driver. On passing the Saluting Base guns will not be dipped nor will turrets be swivelled. Crews other than the Driver will eyes-right at the second marker. Pennants will not be flown. Ten (10) feet of ‘A’ serial and one (1) foot of ‘B’ aerial to be carried.

    3. (a ) The British Contingent will be preceded by massed Drums and Pipes of 24 GUARDS BRIGADE which will wheel left just short of the Saluting Base on to the pathway, counter-marching and halt on the edge of the pavement and will play the British Contingent past.
    (b ) Major-General V. EVELEGH, OBE, Commanding 78 DIVISION will lead the British Contingent. He will march 20 yards in rear of the massed Drums and Pipes and will be accompanied by his G.S.O. 1 and A.A.&Q.M.G. two (2) paces in rear and two (2) paces to the flanks. The Commander of the leading Group of 78 DIVISION will be ten (10) paces in rear of the Division Commander.
    (c ) Strengths of Groups will be as in APPENDIX A attached.
    (d ) 20 yards distance between the Tail of one Division and the Head of the next and 10 yards distance between Groups.
    (e ) Troops will march past in 9s. Officers will march past in ranks at the head of their Group.
    (f ) Within each Division all Infantry will be grouped together; similarly all Artillery.
    (g ) Divisions will be commanded by a Brigadier and Groups by a Lieutenant-General.
    (h ) Eyes-Right will be given by Group Commander at the second Marker. Division Commanders and Group Commanders only will salute.
    (j ) Proportion of Officers to Men - one to twenty approximately, but adjusted to make complete ranks of Officers.
    (k ) Troops armed with the rifle will march at the slope throughout, arms being changed at intervals, but care will be taken that they are the correct side when approaching the Saluting Base. Bayonets will NOT bet fixed.

    4. Drill.
    Shirts inside shorts. Belt, Rifle & side-arms for those arms equipped with them. Berets and bonnets for those regiments who wear them; remainder F.S. Caps, Pro khaki S.D. Cap.

    5. March Table is being issued separately by ‘G’, 5 CORPS.

    6. Saluting Base has now been changed and is Road Junction 078566.

    7. Orders as regards Infantry, guns and tanks lining the route are being issued separately.

    8. Detail Parade states by units showing exact numbers on Parade including lining the route will be rendered by Divisions, 25 TANK BRIGADE and Commanders. Corps and Army Troops contingents to ‘A’ 5 CORPS by 1200 hours 19 May in duplicate on pro-forma which will be issued shortly. Troops lining the route and troops marching past will be shown separately. No states are required for Guards of Honour and escorts.

    Method of Despatch: S.D.R. or Division L.O.

    Signed Brigadier, D.A.&Q.M.G. 5 CORPS


    1. Troops of 24 GUARDS BRIGADE, as under, will take part in the March Past of Allied contingents at the TUNIS Victory Parade on 20 May 1943 as part of 1 DIVISION:-
    Brigade H.Q. - 9 Other Ranks
    Each Battalion - 3 Officers, 54 Other Ranks
    In addition each Battalion will have one Officer and six Other Ranks in readiness who will proceed to the Assembly Area with the remainder.

    2. Command:
    (a ) Major-General V. EVELEGH, OBE commander 78 DIVISION is in command of the British Contingent.
    (b ) Lieutenant-Colonel C.A. MONTAGU-DOUGLAS-SCOTT, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, will command 1 DIVISION Contingent.

    3. Order of March, British Contingent.
    Formation : Strength
    78 DIVISION : 2,400
    46 DIVISION : 2,400
    1 DIVISION : 1,000
    4 DIVISION : 1,500
    1 ARMY TROOPS : 500
    8 ARMY : 1,000

    4. 1 DIVISION contingent, which consists of 1,000 all ranks, will be divided into two groups:-
    (a ) No. 1 Group - Infantry only - Commander Lieutenant-Colonel WEBB CARTER, 1 D.W.R.
    (b ) No. 2 Group - Division Troops - Commander Lieutenant-Colonel FULBROOK, 1 LOYALS.

    5. Troops will march past in 9’s, bayonets will be fixed. Officers will march in ranks at the lead of their group.
    Order of March - 1 DIVISION:-

    No. 1 Group:
    9 Officers 24 GUARDS BRIGADE
    9 Officers 2 INFANTRY BRIGADE
    9 Officers 3 INFANTRY BRIGADE
    9 Other Ranks H.Q. 24 GUARDS BRIGADE
    54 Other Ranks 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS
    54 Other Ranks 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS
    54 Other Ranks 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    Other Ranks 2 INFANTRY BRIGADE
    Other Ranks 3 INFANTRY BRIGADE

    No. 2 Group:
    Division Troops

    6. Troops will be formed up and ready to march past by 1150 hours 20 May 1943.
    Place of Parade will be notified.

    7. Saluting: Eyes Right will be given by Group Commanders at the Saluting Base. Only Division Commanders and Group Commanders will salute.

    8. Dress:-
    (a ) Officers: K.D., shirts inside shorts, S.D. caps, Web Anklets, Web belt, revolver and ammunition pouch, no sticks.
    (b ) Other Ranks: K.D., shirts inside shorts, S.D. caps, Web Anklets, Belt, Sidearms and Rifle.

    All Ranks will wear designations and Division signs sewn on to their shirts. Equipment will be scrubbed and not blanched. Brasses will be polished.

    9. Route for March Past: Avenue GAMBETTA.

    10. Saluting Base: Road Junction 078566

    11. Assembly:
    It has not yet been decided whether or not 24 GUARDS BRIGADE contingent will have to assemble in the area MUTUEVILLE 0659 on 19 May and sleep there night 19/20 May. It is hoped that personnel taking part wil be able to sleep 19/20 May in present areas and proceed to assembly area on morning 20 May. A decision on this will be given as early as possible 19 May. In either case unit transport will be used.

    12. S.C. is attending recce of assembly area at 0930 hours 19 May and will call for Battalion representatives if necessary.

    13. Dispersal: Unit transport will be used to carry personnel back to Battalion areas at the conclusion of the Parade. Details as to RendezVous and time will be issued later.

    Signed Brigade Major, H.Q. 24 GUARDS BRIGADE
    In the Field
    18 May 1943.

    Ref Maps: TUNISIA 1/50,000 Sheets 13 & 20. Town Plan TUNIS 1/10,000

    Further to even number of 18 May 1943.

    Herewith orders for assembly and dispersal 24 GUARDS BRIGADE Contingent for the VICTORY PARADE on 20 May 1943.

    1. Assembly:-
    (A ) All personnel taking part will assemble in 1 DIVISION Area in the olive grove 0560 by 0700 hours 20 May 1943. The area is clearly marked. Move in own transport.
    (B ) Route:- LE BARDON 0356; X-roads BAB BOU SADOUN 0556; Avenue MARECHAL GALLIENI; Road junction 064573; Road junction 067574; Road junction 061587; Olive Grove 0560.
    (C ) There wil be a rehearsal on the ground at approximately 0830 hours 20 May. Officers in command Detachments will report to Lieutenant-Colonel C.A. MONTAGU-DOUGLAS-SCOTT, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, on arrival who will give final instructions.
    (D ) Breakfasts before leaving billets. Dinners on return.

    2. Dispersal:-
    (A ) At the conclusion of the March Past, Battalion Detachments will continue marching to Car Park ‘C’ 078532 where they embus in own transport and return to billets independently.
    (B ) Brigade Transport Officer will collet all 24 GUARDS BRIGADE Transport from Assembly Area at 0745 hours 20 May and guide it to Car Park ‘C’.
    Route:- Outward Route reversed to LE BARDO and thence to road junction 052555 - road junction 076535 3/4 [sic]
    Vehicles will return to billets by this route reversed.
    (C ) It is hoped that all transport will be back in billets by 1430 hours.

    3. Spectators:-
    There is no objection to personnel not on duty attending the Parade as spectators. No seats are available and if a good view is to be obtained spectators should arrive at the Avenue Gambetta as early as possible. No transport for conveyance of spectators is allowed.

    Signed Brigade Major, H.Q. 24 GUARDS BRIGADE
    In the Field
    19 May 1943
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    June 1943
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    SUBJECT:- Special Parade
    Ref. No. 1 I.G. 87
    Officers Commanding, All Companies

    1. For the purpose of this Special Parade the Battalion will be divided into 5 ‘Company Blocks’.

    No. 1 BLOCK
    65 Other Ranks, Support Company
    Major H.L.S. YOUNG
    Warrant Officer:
    C.S.M. STONE

    No. 2 BLOCK
    63 Other Ranks, H.Q. Company
    Lieutenant KEIGWIN
    Lieutenant BOYD
    Warrant Officer:

    No. 3 BLOCK
    30 Other Ranks, ‘B’ Company
    30 Drivers
    5 Other Ranks, Support Compay
    Lieutenant DODDS
    Warrant Officer:
    C.S.M. KIELY

    No. 4 BLOCK
    60 Other Ranks, 'A' Company
    Captain D.M. KENNEDY
    Lieutenant McINERNEY
    Warrant Officer:

    No. 5 BLOCK
    33 Other ranks ‘A’ Company
    4 Other Ranks from B Echelon
    23 Support Company
    Lieutenant RAWLENCE
    Captain O'NEILL
    Warrant Officer:

    2. Blocks will be drawn up in file (with fixed bayonets) in positions already ordered. Warrant Officers and Sergeants will be on flank nearest to LA MONAGHIA village.
    Officers will stand in front of 5th file from left and right.
    Senior Officer on flank nearest to LA MONAGHIA.

    3. Drill. On the approach of the important personage, who will be travelling by car, Officers commanding Company Blocks will call their blocks to attention, order caps to be removed and call for cheers as the car passes their block. if the car stops, caps will be replaced, Officers will salute and the Company Block will be prepared either to be inspected or to listen to a short address. In the latter case, cheers will be given as the car drives away.

    4. Transport. Transport will report to Companies at 1300 hours.
    No. 1 Block’s transport will report to Support Company.
    No. 2 Block’s transport will report to Battalion H.Q.
    No. 3 Block’s transport will report to ‘B’ Company.
    No. 4 Block’s transport will report to ‘A’ Company.
    No. 5 Block’s transport will report to ‘A’ Company.
    Other Ranks composing a block will report to the Company area at 1300 hours.
    Transport will be drawn up on track leading down to main road - TUNIS - MATEUR, with head on Road, ready to move off at 1350 hours.

    5. Order of March. 5 Block, 4 Block, 3 Block, 2 Block, 1 Block.

    6. Brigade S.P. Road Junction 002543.

    7. Time past S.P. 1405 hours

    8. Route to S.P. Crossroads 007568 - Crossroads 997559 - Crossroads 009549

    Signed D.J.L. FITZGERALD, Captain
    Adjutant, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    In the Field
    1 June 1943.

  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    July 1943
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    August 1943
  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    September has been a fairly busy month for the Battalion and with the coming of the cooler weather training within the Brigade and within the various Battalions has been intensified.
    We have had several Brigade Exercises, several short Inter-Company schemes and a Battalion Night Exercise.
    In addition there have been a number of competitions organized within the Division with the idea both of creating a stronger “First Division consciousness” and of raising the standard of training generally.
    In the Divisional Inter-Battalion Snipers and 3” Mortar Competitions the Battalion obtained first place in the former and second in the latter event.
    In the sphere of sport too the Battalion has acquitted itself no less creditably; winning the Brigade Swimming Competition and being 2nd in the Brigade Boxing Tournament, losing to the GRENADIER GUARDS in the Finals by one point.
    The Battalion Tug-o’-War team has been coached energetically by Drill Sergeant ROONEY, M.M., with much success; and up to the time of writing has never been defeated.
    After MANOUBA and the delights of city-life, such as they were, in TUNIS, the Battalion is settling down well to its rural life.
    Once a week every man in the Battalion has an opportunity of going to TUNIS and transport is provided under Company arrangements to take him there and back.
    There is, however, a great shortage of sports stores etc. within the Battalion and only one wireless set which makes the task of combatting boredom more difficult.
    But “the news” is good and optimism fairly high, and there is always the hope that “something may turn up”.

    1943 September 1
    In the Field

    The preliminary rounds of the Inter-Company Novices Boxing Competition were fought out on the New Battalion Parade Ground at 1800 hours.
    The weights contested were: Light, Welter and Middle.
    The same evening the Commanding Officer gave a party for Officers of the FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION which lately come to be stationed in these parts.
    Several of them had fought in the campaign in NORWAY and so had a lot in common with those Officers of our own Battalion who had also fought there.
    It is hoped, on both sides, that there will be further opportunities of renewing old acquaintances and of making new ones.

    1943 September 2
    The Battalion paraded this morning for a rehearsal for the Divisional Parade which is to be held on Saturday.
    Company Commanders and two Officers per Company attended.
    The expected invasion of ITALY was announced today.
    So fare there appears to be little resistance and the Italians area surrendering gladly whenever the opportunity presents itself .

    1943 September 3
    Today was observed as a National Day of Prayer, and services were held for the respective denominations.
    This afternoon detachments from units within the Brigade, detailed for tomorrow’s Divisional Parade proceeded to a Concentration Area between HAMMAMET and NABEUL.

    1943 September 4
    The 1st DIVISION parade, took place today in a wide open space between olive groves and under a very burning sun.
    It was an impressive ceremony and the impressiveness was considerably heightened by the presence of the massed Pipe Bands of the 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS and the 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS.
    The salute was taken by General EISENHOWER, Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces in NORTH AFRICA.

    1943 September 5
    In the early hours of this morning Major H.L.S. YOUNG and Captain & Adjutant D.J.L. FITZGERALD, M.C. for CAIRO by air.
    Normal Sunday routine.
    In the evening the Battalion played a Football match against 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS.
    The result was a 3 - 2 goals win for the Battalion.
    The team was as follows:-
    Guardsman BURKE
    Guardsman CLEARY
    Guardsman GYTE
    Guardsman McREA
    Guardsman FARNAN
    Lance Corporal SHAW
    Guardsman DENNAHY
    Major J.S.O. HASLEWOOD
    Lance Sergeant HAVER
    Guardsman SCAIFE
    Guardsman HENSHAW
    Lance Sergeant ASHTON, D.C.M.
    In charge Team:
    Regimental Serjeant Major McLOUGHLIN

    1943 September 6
    The Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer attended the Divisional 3” Mortar Competition this morning at SID CHABANE which is inland from HENI KHIAR.
    The Battalion team under command of Lieutenant J.F. BELL did extremely well, scoring 75 points out of a possible 100 and being placed Second in the whole competition.
    Amongst the Spectators were Lieutenant General C.W. ALLFREY, D.S.O., M.C. and Major General G.W.R. TEMPLAR, D.S.O., O.B.E. - the Divisional Commander.
    The heats for the Battalion Sports were held in the neighbourhood of the Battalion Parade Ground, at 1600 hours.

    1943 September 7
    The following messages have been received by the Commanding Officer from the Colonel Commanding the Regiment and from the Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion IRISH GUARDS.
    FROM: Colonel Commanding IRISH GUARDS, Field Marshall The Earl of CAVAN,
    “The Colonel Commanding the Regiment, Field Marshall the Earl of CAVAN wishes the Commanding Officer to convey to Lance Sergeant KENNEALLY his personal congratulations on his great deeds which earned the award of the Victorial Cross”.

    From Officer Commanding 2nd Armoured Battalion IRISH GUARDS.
    “Commanding Officer and All Ranks 2nd Armoured Battalion IRISH GUARDS send their heartiest congratulations to Lance Sergeant KENNEALLY and the 1st Battalion”.

    The first of a series of twelve-hour Inter-Company exercises began this evening within the Battalion Training Area.
    The composition of the opposing sides was as follows:-
    No. 1 Company and 1st Reinforcement Company in DEFENCE; with
    No. 2 Company as the ATTACKING Force.

    1943 September 8
    Part I Battalion Routine Orders announce today the loss by fire of 173 bags of mail from the U.L. on a truck travelling between CONSTANTINE and SOUK EL ARBA.
    We hope there has been an exhaustive enquiry into the cause of this fire and that any carelessness has been punished as severely as possible; the desire and need for letters being comparable almost with the need for food, and certainly one of the most important factors in the maintenance of morale.
    A Battalion Concert in the form of a Competition, was held this evening on the Parade Ground, the scene of practically every form of Battalion activity, from Drill Parades to Sports Meetings.
    The stage was improvised on trestles and table-tops, the backcloth was of sacking, and the lighting was provided by the moon and hurricane lamps.
    There were turns and songs of all sorts.
    Amongst the latter, the “high-spot” was Guardsman QUINLISK’s rendering of, as he put it, “that fine old English song - ‘GALWAY BAY’”.
    Tonight has been announced the “Unconditional Surrender” of ITALY; another great filip to Allied morale and prestige with a correspondingly adverse effect in GERMAN and the “Yes-men” in the BALKANS and SPAIN.

    1943 September 9
    A Demonstration of Mine-Laying was given this morning by Lieutenant W.F. REYNOLDS and the Pioneer Platoon.
    All Officer and Platoon Sergeants attended.
    The main idea of the Demonstration was to unify and co-ordinate the various methods of Mine-Laying and Mine-Lifting with the Companies.
    The result of the Divisional Inter-Battalion Anti-Tank Competition was announced today.
    The results are:-
    (1) 1 Recce Regiment
    (2) 1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS
    (3) 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    (4) 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS
    The second evening of the Battalion Sports took place at 1600 hours on the Battalion Parade Ground.

    1943 September 10
    A two-day Exercise “LOUISBERG” for 2nd and 3rd INFANTRY BRIGADES began this morning.
    Umpires were provided by 24 GUARDS BRIGADE which included the majority of Officers from this Battalion.

    1943 September 11
    The Battalion Football team, under the Captaincy of Major J.S.O. HASLEWOOD played the ROYAL AIR FORCE “away” this evening.
    After a very closely contested game the ROYAL AIR FORCE won by two goals to one.

    1943 September 12
    The main event of today was the Semi-Finals and Finals of the Battalion Inter-Company Novices Boxing Competition.
    There were some excellent fights, under ideal conditions.
    There was a large audience, which included the Commander 3rd INFANTRY BRIGADE and several American Officers.
    A special fight arranged between
    Guardsman LAVERY and
    T/Sergeant HARLOW-BAILEY, U.S.A.A.F.
    resulted in an knock-out for LAVERY in the second round.
    The winning Company was No. 3 Company.

    1943 September 13
    No.s 3, 4 and 1st Line Reinforcement Companies carried out the same Inter-Company Exercises which had been done by No.s 1 & 2 Companies the week before.
    As before, Companies were commanded by the Company Second-in-Commands.
    This time No. 3 Company was the attacking force and No. 4 Company and 1st Line Reinforcement Companies again were the defenders.
    It was a valuable exercise and a great improvement on the earlier one.

    1943 September 14
    A change in the daily routine comes into force from today, and all Parades take place half an hour earlier.
    This makes Reveille at 0630 hours.
    The following have been nominated “the best losers” in the Inter-Company Boxing Competition:
    Guardsman HIGHAM, Support Company, Light Weight
    Guardsman O’DOCHERTY, 1st Line Company, Light Weight
    Lance Corporal DOBBIN, No. 1 Company, Middle Weight
    Guardsman HOGAN, Support Company, Middle Weight
    Guardsman WHITE, No. 3 Company, Light Heavy Weight
    and are to receive appropriate prizes from the Quartermaster.

    1943 September 15
    The Commanding Officer gave a Lecture this morning to All Officers and NCOs down to and including Secion Commanders.
    The theme of the Lecture was “Night attacks and the preparations necessary for them.”

    1943 September 16
    The Finals of the Battalion Sports were held today.
    The results are as follows:-
    1st - No. 1 Company - 69 points
    2nd - Support Company - 39 1/2 points
    3rd - No. 4 Company - 37 points
    4th - No. 2 Company - 21 1/2 points
    5th - No. 3 Company - 12 points
    6th - 1st Line Company - 6 points
    7th - H.Q. Company - 5 points

    1943 September 17
    The Battalion proceeded to a Concentration Area a couple of miles up the HAMMAMET - TUNIS road at about 1400 hours this afternoon to take up positions for a night exercise.
    Darkness fell at about 2000 hours and the time until then was occupied in observing the objective, trying to locate the enemy positions and in other preparations.
    Zero Hour was shortly before 2300 hours after which the attack was put in with many stage effects and considerable realism.
    The exercise which was directed by the Commanding Officer concluded at about 0800 hours the following morning.
    The Battalion was commanded during the exercise by the Second-in-Command, Major D.M.L. GORDON-WATSON, M.C.

    1943 September 18
    A Brigade Swimming Meeting was held today in HAMMAMET BAY and resulted in a most decisive victory for the Battalion .
    The scores were:-

    1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - 25 points
    1st Battalion SCOTS GUARDS - 11 points
    5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS - 7 points

    The Battalion team included:-
    Lieutenant G.V. BLAND
    Lieutenant T.C. KEIGWIN
    Lieutenant R.C. TAYLOR
    Company Quartermaster Serjeant THOMAS, Support Company
    Serjeant HUGHES, M.M., Support Company
    Lance Serjeant KENNEALLY, V.C., No. 1 Company
    Lance Serjeant BOSWORTH, No. 1 Company
    Lance Serjeant BANKS, No. 2 Company
    Lance Corporal Lacey, No. 4 Company
    Lance Corporal HOLT, No. 2 Company
    Lance Corporal ABBIE, No. 1 Line Reinforcement Company
    Lance Corporal CURLESS, No. 1 Line Reinforcement Company
    Lance Corporal COWLES, No. 2 Company
    Lance Corporal McCABE, No. 4 Company
    Guardsman SWORD, No. 3 Company
    Guardsman RUSSELL, No. 2 Company
    Guardsman GORMALLY, Support Company
    Guardsman COOKSON, H.Q. Company
    Guardsman WOODCOCK, No. 2 Company
    Guardsman CLEARY, No. 2 Company
    Guardsman WRIGHT, No. 1 Line Reinforcement Company

    1943 September 19
    Another Swimming Meeting was held today, this time at the Belvedere Baths in TUNIS and under the auspices of the 1st DIVISION.
    Teams were entered from all units within the Division.
    Our team was the same as that which had swam the day before in the Brigade Meeting.
    Out of a number of interesting events by far the most spectacular was the Diving.
    In this event Lieutenant G.V. BLAND set the standard for the enterprise with a series of the most hair-raising double somersaults, side steps and half rolls, all from the top board, which was about 40 feet high.
    Earlier in the day the Battalion fielded a Cricket XI versus the ROYAL AIR FORCE.
    The match was played between 1000 hours and 1630 hours and resulted in a win for the Battalion by 81 runs to 59.
    The team, which consisted of five Officers, the Regimental Serjeant Major, two Corporals and four Guardsmen was as follows:-
    Major J.S.O. HASLEWOOD
    Major D.M.L. GORDON-WATSON, M.C.
    Major J.D. BLOIS
    Captain M.V. DUDLEY
    Lieutenant M.R.G. EARLS-DAVIS
    Regimental Serjeant Major J. McLOUGHLIN
    Lance Corporal BRIERLEY, No. 1 Company
    Guardsman EVANS ’23, No. 1 Company
    Guardsman BUCKLEY, H.Q. Company
    Guardsman MILLS, H.Q. Company
    Lance Corporal HEALEAS, No. 2 Company
    Guardsman GLOVER, No. 2 Company
    Major H.L.S. YOUNG and the Adjutant (Captain D.J.L. FITZGERALD, M.C.) have returned from CAIRO.
    There being no planes available they were obliged to come the whole way by car; they covered the distance of three thousand kilometres in four and a half days.

    1943 September 20
    The Commanding Officer held a Conference this morning on Friday’s Night Exercise.
    Umpires and Company Commanders attended.
    In the evening at 5.30 p.m. an Officers versus Sergeants Football match took place on the Battalion Parade Ground.
    Formidable teams - as set out below - were mustered by both sides.
    The result of this hotly contested trial of skill and strength was a narrow in for the Sergeants by 2 goals to 1.

    The teams:-
    Lieutenant & Quartermaster H.F. McKINNEY, M.B.E.
    Commanding Officer
    Captain D.J.L. FITZGERALD, M.C.
    Major J.S.O. HASLEWOOD
    Captain D.M. KENNEDY
    Major J.D. BLOIS
    Captain J.T. EGAN
    Major S.H. VERNON
    Major H.L.S. YOUNG

    Lance Sergeant MURPHY
    Lance Sergeant ASHTON, D.C.M.
    Regimental Serjeant Major J. McLOUGHLIN
    Drill Serjeant ROONEY, M.M.
    Lance Serjeant HAVER
    Lance Serjeant BRADLEY
    Company Serjeant Major MERCER
    Company Serjeant Major MORAN
    Drill Serjeant KENNY
    Company Serjeant Major STONE
    Company Serjeant Major PESTELL

    1943 September 21
    The Divisional Inter-Brigade Exercise “YPRES” began today.
    And during the course of the afternoon the Battalion moved down the coast to concentrate with the remainder of the Brigade just South of BOU FICHA.
    The following extract from today’s Battalion Routine Orders is quoted as a matter of interes:
    “DISCIPLINE. Local Arabs have complained that their women have been molested or accosted. Guardsmen are again warned that it is a gross and deeply resented insult to an Arab to attempt to speak to or in any way interfere with an Arab woman.
    Such disregard of Moslem religious and special principles will inevitably lead to murder.

    1943 September 22 - 23
    Period of Divisional Inter-Brigade Exercise “YPRES” during which 24th GUARDS BRIGADE had the task of preventing the 3rd INFANTRY BRIGADE from reaching TUNIS.

    1943 September 24
    The Divisional Inter-Battalion Snipers’ Competition took place today.
    The result of which was a decisive win for the Battalion.
    The scores of the first four Battalions are given as follows:-
    1st - 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - 199
    2nd - 2nd Battalion SHERWOOD FORESTERS - 173
    3rd - 1st Battalion LOYAL REGIMENT - 153
    4th - 1st Battalion K.S.L.I. - 144
    HPS. - 280 [Highest possible score?]
    The Competition was in two phases; the first shooting, and the second an observation test.

    The Battalion was represented by:-
    Guardsman MULLAN, No. 4 Company
    Guardsman DONALDSON, No. 4 Company
    Guardsman LAVERY, No. 1 Company
    Guardsman ADAMSON, No. 1 Company
    Guardsman WILKINSON, No. 1 Company, and
    Guardsman WOODCOCK, No. 2 Company

    1943 September 25
    This morning the Divisional Commander held at Division H.Q. a final Conference attended by all Company Commanders on Exercise “YPRES”,
    His main criticism was of the handling of M.T. within the Battalions, and he stressed the importance of getting vehicles off the road by whatever means, whenever they were not in actual use.
    The Divisional Commander also criticized the tendency of some Battalions to “drive into battle”.
    This evening the 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS held a Novices Boxing Competition at their H.Q.
    Included in the programme was a special fight arranged between Guardsman CARTER of this Battalion and a representative of the GRENADIERS.
    A number of Officers and Other Ranks from the Battalion attended this Competition.
    For the third successive night the small Roman Catholic Church at HAMMAMET was packed to capacity by Guardsmen and Civilians attending the Mission organized by the Reverend Father BROOKES C.F.
    Tomorrow (Sunday) night is the closing night.

    1943 September 26
    An International Sports Meeting was held this afternoon at the Belvedere Stadium.
    The Meeting was organized by TUNIS Area, and included competitors from British, American and French units.
    The Battalion had done well in the earlier qualifying heats and was represented in the Finals of nearly every event.
    The Battalion gained places as follows:
    Guardsman COLLINS - 880 yards International - 1st
    Guardsman O’CONNOR - High Jump International - 1st
    Lance Corporal BILLAM - High Jump International - 2nd
    Serjeant THOROGOOD - 1 Mile International - 3rd
    Guardsman BRADLEY - 1 Mile Individual - 3rd
    International Relay - won by the British Team which included:
    Lance Corporal MURPHY,
    Guardsman COLLINS, and 2 others.
    During the Meeting the British, American and French Flags flew prominently from three flag poles immediately in front of the Grandstand, which was well filled with spectators both Civilian and Military.
    A French brass band provided music at intervals throughout the afternoon, and greeted the arrival of each new notable with a flourish of trumpets.
    All this contrived to make the spectacle rather impressive, and reminded one of similar occasions in happier circumstances - a long time ago, it seems.

    1943 September 27
    To combat the various minor ailments and infections now in circulation all men are to gargle once a day; this to be done before breakfast every day.
    Sports Results:
    The Battalion Relay Team won the 1 Mile Invitation Medley Relay Race at the Recce Sports at NABEUL.

    The Team:
    Serjeant THOROGOOD
    Lance Corporal MURPHY
    Guardsman COLLINS, and
    Guardsman McGREEVY.
    In the Half Mile Medley Relay Race the Battalion Team were third.
    The Team:
    Lance Corporal MURPHY
    Guardsman McGREEVY
    Lance Sergeant MILNER, and
    Lance Serjeant TOPPING

    1943 September 28
    All Officers, Warrant Officers and full Serjeants attended Lectures and Demonstrations at the H.Q. 142 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS (SUFFOLKS) as a preliminary to the week’s tank training which is to begin in the near future.
    The Lectures began at 0845 hours and ended in the early afternoon.
    The following appointments within the Battalion are announced today:
    Lieutenant O.F. McINERNEY - to be Second-in-Command 1st Line Reinforcement Company.
    Lieutenant J.F. BELL - to be Platoon Commander, Mortar Platoon.

    1943 September 29
    The Commanding Officer held an “O” Group at Battalion H.Q. at 0815 hours on the Battalion’s role in Exercise “ALMA”, which began this afternoon.
    The role of the Brigade as a whole appears to be exactly the reverse of what it was in Exercise “YPRES”.
    On this occasion the “enemy” are the 2nd INFANTRY BRIGADE.
    The Battalion moved down to BOU-FICHA during the course of the morning to take up its position in the Brigade Concentration Area.
    Our area is in fact, and most conveniently, the same as the one we had for Exercise “YPRES”.

    1943 September 30
    Exercise “ALMA” ended at about 1000 hours much to everybody’s delight.

    Exercise “ALMA” was an excellent example of how the latter stages of a good exercise can be altogether spoiled by unimaginative umpiring.
  19. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    This has been an uneventful month for the Battalion.
    Apart from a short visit to the 142 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS Regiment, and a single Brigade Exercise, training has been mainly on a Company and Platoon level.
    There have been a number of courses both inside and outside the Battalion, and the time has passed fairly quickly.
    With the approach of winter, competitive swimming has come to an end, and boxing, after the finals of the Brigade Inter Battalion Competition, has continued on a greatly reduced scale.
    Only football is not affected by the change in temperature and climate.

    With October has come the first of the long-awaited rain: and it has come with a vengeance.
    We have recorded elsewhere in this diary the first impression of a NORTH AFRICAN storm, and of its devastating effects.

    Bir Bou Rekba

    1943 October 1

    The Commanding Officer and Captain S.H. COMBE left for ALGIERS today by car.
    The plan to visit the I.R.T.D. at PHILIPPEVILLE on route.

    1943 October 2
    The Battalion Inter Company Drill Competition took place this morning on the Parade Ground.
    Last year it was won by No. 1 Company at CROYDON, and this year by No. 2 Company at BIR BOUR REKBA.
    The adjudicators were The Lord STANLEY, Captain & Adjutant, 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS, and our own Adjutant, Captain D.J.L. FITZGERALD, M.C.
    Later in the day, the Battalion, represented by
    Serjeant THOROGOOD
    Lance Corporal MURPHY
    Guardsman COLLINS, and
    Guardsman McGREEVY
    won the Open Battalion Relay Race at the 42 INFANTRY BRIGADE ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS Sports Meeting.

    1943 October 3
    A quiet Sunday.

    1943 October 4
    Eight Officers and a proportionate number of Other Ranks, attended a Demonstration this morning given by the Brigade Sp Group (2/7 MIDDLESEX) at their ‘B’ Sp Gp H.Q. which is along the coast between HAMMAMET and NABEUL.
    The Demonstration consisted in showing how the OERLIKON Gun was manned and fired, and its potentialities as an Anti-Aircraft Gun as well as an Anti-A.F.V.
    After an unconvincing beginning when all the guns jammed, due to faulty ammunition, everything ran very smoothly, and we saw a most impressive exhibition of low-trajectory firing with tracer bullets, using a derelict German car as the target.

    1943 October 5 - 6
    The first official intimation of further Honours and Awards for Officers and Other Ranks in the Battalion now come through and have been published in Orders.
    They are as follows:-
    Lieutenant, Temporary Captain O.S. CHESTERTON (121345)

    2718877 Company Quartermaster Serjeant P. MERCER
    2721745 Lance Serjeant E. MAHER
    2721689 Guardsman H. HAYMAN
    2727731 Guardsman T. HICKEY
    2721385 Guardsman J.W.F. HOLLINGWORTH

    Lieutenant, Temporary Captain J.T. EGAN (106617)
    Lieutenant, Temporary Captain P.A.G. RAWLINSON (121351)
    Lieutenant & Quartermaster H.F. McKINNEY, M.B.E.
    Lieutenant D.C. ATTLEE (207678)
    Lieutenant D.G. MADDEN (156080), Killed in Action
    Lieutenant J.J. NUNN (165064), Killed in Action
    Lieutenant M.F. RAWLENCE (138642)
    Lieutenant B.T. SYNGE (200113)
    Reverend J.R. BROOKES, C.F. 4th Class (101405)

    2716608 Drill Sergeant F. KENNY
    2716882 Sergeant J. QUINN
    2717152 Sergeant R. THOROGOOD
    4977315 Sergeant W. MUSGROVE
    2565672 Lance Sergeant W.H. FANNING
    2615936 Lance Sergeant J.A. GEOGHEGAN (Since Died)
    2720839 Lance Corporal W. HARRISON
    2718512 Guardsman L. PRUNTY
    2718419 Lance Sergeant R. McCONNELL
    2719527 Lance Sergeant J. WYLIE, D.C.M.
    2722791 Lance Sergeant F. CARTLIDGE
    2721078 Lance Corporal J. HOOTON
    2719007 Lance Corporal MURPHY
    2720502 Guardsman T. BARKER

    1943 October 7
    The Commanding Officer and Captain S.H. COMBE returned this evening from their visit to the I.R.T.D. and to ALGIERS.
    They brought with them Captain G.P.M. FITZGERALD.

    1943 October 8
    Two performances, both given by a concert party from 1st ARMOURED DIVISION ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS, were staged during the afternoon and early evening in the GRENADIERS area.
    The Battalion was allotted 150 seats for each performance.

    1943 October 9
    No.s 1, 2 and 3 Companies, together with elements of Support, No. 4 and H.Q. Companies, moved to NABEUL during the early part of today for a short period of training with the 142 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS Regiment, and Companies will be attached to the various Squadrons.
    The finals of the 24th GUARDS BRIGADE Boxing Championship were held this afternoon at H.Q. 5th Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS.
    There was a large crowd of enthusiastic spectators drawn from all three Battalions.
    Every available seat was taken, and those who were not prepared to stand found vantage points in the trees surrounding the ring from which to watch the proceedings.
    Amongst the many visitors were Major General G.W.R. TEMPLER, D.S.O., O.B.E., Commanding 1 DIVISION, who gave away the prizes, and General BROSSET, G.O.C. The Free French Division.
    During the interval, music was provided by the bands of each of the Battalions in the Brigade.
    A closely and often fiercely contested series of fights resulted in a very narrow win (by one point) for the GRENADIERS, with the IRISH GUARDS second, and the SCOTS GUARDS third.
    The following appointments of Officers are announced today:-
    Major J.D. BLOIS will assume command of IRISH GUARDS troops at No. 1 I.R.T.D. with effect from 10th October 1943.
    Captain G.P.M. FITZGERALD will assume command and financial responsibility of No. 2 Company with effect from 9th October 1943.
    Captain C.D.P. O’COCK will be attached to No. 1 I.R.T.D. as Training Instructor with effect from 10th October 1943.
    Major Sir I. STUART-RICHARDSON will be attached to the Battalion as Second-in-Command No. 1 Company, with effect from 11th October 1943.

    1943 October 10 - 14
    Period of Training with 142 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS Regiment.
    Beginning with a few lectures of a general nature on various aspects of Tank Warfare, e.g. Intercommunication and co-operation with Infantry, the subsequent training was on a Platoon-Troop and Company-Squadron basis.
    The culmination of this training was a series of Company Field Firing Exercises with a Squadron of tanks and a Battery of Artillery in support.
    It was generally agreed that these exercises - each Company did the same exercise - were excellently ‘laid-on’ and were a most valuable and important addition to our training.
    What was particularly impressive to All Ranks was the great weight of fire power of which one troop alone was capable; and a platoon might well feel itself irresistible when supported by three six-pounders and 6 Besa machine guns.

    1943 October 15
    The Companies spent the day re-settling into their areas on the conclusion of the Tank Training.

    1943 October 16
    The Commanding Officer and the majority of Officers, Warrant Officers and Serjeants in the Battalion were conducted on a tour of the “Longstop Hill” Battlefield this afternoon by Lieutenant Colonel D. DAWNEY, D.S.O. and Major The Lord O’NEIL, NORTH IRISH HORSE.
    Colonel DAWNAY gave a most interesting and detailed description of the actions in which his tanks had played so vital a part.
    During the course of their tour, the party was able to examine the German positions and to see the extent of their tunnelling achievements which were certainly extensive, but less elaborate than is commonly supposed.
    It is with regret that the Battalion has learned that General TEMPLER is to give up the Command of the 1st DIVISION.
    Although he has only been with the Division a comparatively short time he has rapidly become a familiar and popular figure - not least with the IRISH GUARDS.
    A Special Order of the Day by General TEMPLER, on giving up his command of the Division is reprinted below:-
    I should not like to give up command of 1st DIVISION without telling All Ranks how much I have admired the soldierly spirit in which they have carried out their training, during the two months during which I have had the honour to command them.
    This training has been hard and very valuable.
    I have no doubt as to how the Division will fight in its next campaign and it is a very great disappointment to me that I shall not have the opportunity personally of commanding them.
    I want to wish All Ranks good fortune and God speed.
    Signed G.W.R. TEMPLER.”

    1943 October 17
    The “Yellow Jaundice” has claimed another victim in the person of the acting Signal Officer, Captain D. DRUMMOND.
    Captain DRUMMOND has been sent to the Clinique St Augustine in TUNIS.

    1943 October 18
    A proportion of Officers, Warrant Officers and N.C.Os from the Battalion attended a Demonstration by the Brigade Sp Group, of the 4.2” Mortar in Action.
    This mortar which is an enlargement of the 3” Mortar, gave an impressive performance of range and burst effect.

    1943 October 19
    The following message has been received from the Brigade Commander:-
    “The Brigade Commander is extremely pleased to note the high number of honours and awards made to Officers and Other Ranks of the Battalion.
    He regards these awards as a fitting tribute to the fighting qualities of All Ranks, and to the Regiment of which the Battalion is part.
    He conveys his personal congratulations to each Officer, Warrant Officer, N.C.O. and Guardsman who has received a decoration or a mention in despatches.”
    The Wireless Course for Officers and N.C.Os which was to have started yesterday, began this morning.
    In the absence of the Signal Officer, the course is being run by the Intelligence Officer Lieutenant J.C.F. QUINN and Lance Serjeant HEBDEN.
    This course, which is to last 3 days, aims at giving Officers a working knowledge of the latest wireless procedure, and also as much practice as possible in the actual use of the sets.

    1943 October 20
    A skeleton Battalion Field Firing Exercise with Support Company at full strength was carried out today, under the direction of the Second-in-Command, Major D.M.L. GORDON-WATSON, M.C.
    The Exercise was watched by the Brigade Commander, who expressed himself well pleased with the performance of the Support Company and in particular with the fire power of the 3” Mortar Platoon.
    Two further awards are announced today.
    The first a MENTION IN DESPATCHES to the Medical Officer
    Captain A.D.F. O’NEILL, ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS with effect from 8th October 1943
    and the second a MILITARY CROSS to
    In connection with the latter award, the following messages have been exchanged:
    To: Major Roger STREATFIELD, M.C. 96/97 Field Artillery ROYAL ARTILLERY
    From: Officer Commanding 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    “The Commanding Officer, Officers and Other Ranks of the 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS send their heartiest congratulations to their Battery Commander on his well earned decoration.”
    To: Officer Commanding 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    “Major R.S. STREATFIELD thanks the Commanding Officer, Officers and Other Ranks of the 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS for their kind congratulations and hopes his Battery will continue to support them to their satisfaction.”
    The Commanding Officer accompanied by the Second-in-Command, attended a Service at St. George’s Church TUNIS this afternoon at which a Memorial Tablet to the 1st DIVISION was unveiled.

    1943 October 21
    The Commanding Officer, Second-in-Command, Adjutant and a limited number of Other Ranks went to TUNIS this morning to see a film of the 1st Division Parade.
    It appeared that the film did not include any pictures of the Battalion and very few of any other units in the Brigade.

    1943 October 22 - 23
    There can be no further speculation as to the identity of the new Divisional Commander, and a Special Order of the Day from Divisional H.Q. has established the fact that he is Major General W.R.C. PENNEY, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C.
    The Order of the Day is as follows:
    “On relinquishing command General TEMPLER wishes to thank All Ranks of the 1st DIVISION for their loyal co-operation and the exceedingly hard and valuable work done during an arduous period of intensive training.
    His best wishes for the future remain with you all.
    On assuming command I intend to continue the training now in hand with the object of perfecting the division for the hard tasks with which it will yet be faced.
    We all know that those tasks will be carried out in full accord with the traditions inseparable from the name of the 1st DIVISION.
    A great deal has been achieved since your arrival in NORTH AFRICA.
    Much yet remains to be done.
    You and I will not cease our efforts until final victory is an accomplished fact.
    Signed W.R.C. PENNEY, Major General, Commander 1st Division.

    1943 October 24
    There were the usual Roman Catholic and Church of England Services in the morning.
    An uneventful day.

    1943 October 25
    It is now known that
    2722679 Guardsman E. COLLIS, No. 2 Company, and
    3384137 Guardsman T. DUNNE, No. 3 Company
    previously reported “Missing believed Killed” were “Killed in Action”.
    The former on March 30th 1943 and the later on April 30th 1943.

    1943 October 26
    Last night at about 10 p.m. the rains came, and they came with unimaginable violence, and towards sunset the sky became very black with clouds, and soon afterwards, very far away it seemed, could be heard the first rumblings of thunder.
    Gradually these became nearer and louder, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning.
    At the same time a great wind got up and with it came the first drops of rain.
    Meanwhile the lightning and the thunder increased in intensity; so that before one flash had faded out another took its place and the sharp cracks of thunder seemed to be directly overhead.
    The storm broke, and for an hour or more, it was a matter of doubt whether anything could withstand the onslaught of the wind and the rain.
    Guy ropes snapped and whole tents were lifted up and carried away leaving their occupants drenched to the skin, clinging firmly to what remained of their possessions.
    But it was those who had pitched their tents in the low ground who suffered most.
    Without warning the water had overflowed the banks of the wadis and had come sweeping down the valley from the hills carrying all before it like a tidal wave.
    In a matter of seconds boxes of ammunition, bren guns, tents, and stores of all kinds were uprooted and flung into the great mass of water that raced towards the sea.
    Abruptly as it had begun, the storm ended, but it was nearly daylight before the water had subsided in the wadi, and the road to HAMMAMET remained impassible for most of the day.

    1943 October 27
    In spite of a very thorough search of the OUED BATTEN and of the shore, at the point where it flows into the sea, no trace has been found of Serjeant MAHER M.M. of No. 3 Company, who was last seen trying to cross the road at the junction of the wadis, on Monday night during the storm.
    Serjeant MAHER’s tragic death is a great loss to the Battalion of which he was an old and highly regarded member.

    1943 October 28
    Exercise “THUNDERBOLT” - an exercise with tanks and artillery - began this morning.
    Taking part were 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, 142 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS Regiment, 19 Field Regiment ROYAL ARTILLERY and units of 24th GUARDS BRIGADE Sp Gp.
    The exercise was on a Brigade basis, but in point of fact, only involved one Battalion of Infantry; which was our own.
    It was a good exercise which “brought out a number of points”, and it was interesting to try out on a Battalion-Regimental level what had been practised already on a Company-Squadron level.

    1943 October 29

    1943 October 30
    On Saturday afternoon the Battalion played a football match against the SCOTS GUARDS, which resulted in a win for the SCOTS GUARDS by 2 - 1 goals.
    The Battalion was represented by the following:-
    Guardsman BARRETT
    Guardsman GYTE
    Guardsman TAYLOR
    Guardsman McREA
    Guardsman FARNAN
    Lance Serjeant HAVER
    Guardsman VALENTINE
    Guardsman SCAIFE
    Guardsman BARKER
    Guardsman MURPHY
    Guardsman CARSON

    1943 October 31
    The Brigade Rest Camp re-opened today and a number of vacancies have been allotted to the Battalion.
    The camp, which was formerly at HAMMAN LIF has now been transferred to better and more suitable quarters at LA GOULETTE on the other side of the Bay of TUNIS.
    The new camp, which is in requisitioned houses, is also much nearer TUNIS which is an important consideration now that the bathing season is ever.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Writing in retrospect, it can be said that November has been the Battalion’s most eventful month since May.
    At long last the “First Division is on the move” and bound for Italy.
    Our exact destination and whether we shall join the 5th or 8th ARMY is still a secret.
    There have been many changes within the Battalion due to sickness especially amongst the officers.
    Of these, Major S.H. VERNON was the most seriously ill and he was for a time placed on the “Dangerously Ill list”.
    Happily, however, he has made a remarkable recovery and is expected to be sent back to ENGLAND in the near future.
    November has been a record month for rumours and speculations.
    The speculations have been mainly about the identity of the important personages conferring at the “White House” at CARTHAGE.
    Their special guards was reported to include a Regiment of Anti-Aircraft and two Companies of the K.S.L.I.
    Some said it was STALIN and some VON PAPEN or RIBBENTROP.
    Nearly all said it was CHURCHILL and ROOSEVELT.
    Naturally enough it was not long before there were really reliable “bars” flying around to the effect that a Peace Pact had been signed and that the war would be over by Christmas.
    Such is the atmosphere of optimistic expectancy in which the Battalion sets out on another campaign.

    1943 November 1
    Mass was said at HAMMAMET Church at 0930 hours.
    A Demonstration by the M.T. was given this morning on the stretch of road between the railway bridge and the M.I. Room.
    The Demonstration was of “Movement in Blocks” which is now the approved method of moving M.T. by road by day and night.
    Major D.M.L. GORDON-WATSON, M.C., Captain S.H. COMBE and Captain & Adjutant D.J.L. FITZGERALD M.C. comprised a Selection Board for candidates for commissions from within the Battalion, which assembled at Battalion H.Q. this morning.
    Candidates were as follows:-
    Lance Corporal CARR, Support Company
    Guardsman CLEARY, Support Company
    Lance Corporal O’BRIEN, No. 2 Company
    Lance Corporal MOORES, No. 3 Company
    Guardsman KINGSTON, No. 3 Company
    Guardsman COLE, No. 4 Company

    1943 November 2
    A revised Daily Routine has come into force and is as follows:
    Reveille 0630 hours
    Sick Parade 0700 hours
    Breakfasts 0730 hours
    Duty Mounting 1000 hours
    Adjutant’s Orders 1200 hours
    Commanding Officer’s Orders 1230 hours
    Dinners 1300 hours
    Punishment Parade 1600 hours
    Evening Meal 1730 hours
    Lights Out 2215 hours

    It is now confirmed that the following Other Ranks were “Killed in Action”.
    They were previously reported as “Missing believed Killed”.
    2716873 Company Serjeant Mjaor R. MALONE
    2718058 Serjeant A. O’DONNELL
    2720441 Guardsman R. VARE
    2720935 Guardsman C. VAUSE
    3384137 Guardsman T. DUNNE, No. 3 Company
    2719627 Guardsman C. TOBIN (No. SAS REGIMENT) is reported “Killed in Action” on 4 September 1943.
    A fine tribute to the discipline of the BRIGADE OF GUARDS is paid by General Sir George GIFFORD, G.O.C.-in-Command Eastern Army India in a Special Order, circulated also throughout the Southern Army (India) and is quoted by the Major General Commanding Brigade of Guards in a letter to the Brigade Commander, 24th GUARDS BRIGADE.
    An extract of the Major General’s letter is reprinted below:
    “General Sir George GIFFARD, G.O.C-in-C. Eastern Army lays stress on the importance of discipline and sense of duty and the need for men to think more of their responsibilities and less of their “rights”.
    He called attention to the slackness in saluting and turn-out which is so evident today and he deplores the modern tendency only to obey those parts of an order which suit the recipient.
    He emphasises the point that disregard in small matters inevitably leads to disobedience on important occasions with consequent disaster and in this connection General GIFFARD pays a handsome tribute to the BRIGADE OF GUARDS in these words:
    “I always thin that the finest answer to those who regard the accurate and unhesitating obedience to the smallest order as unnecessary and tiresome, can be seen in the BRIGADE OF GUARDS, the finest troops in the world.
    It is continually impressed upon All Ranks that orders have to be punctually and exactly obeyed, and no detail - however small - is ever over-looked.
    This high sense of duty and discipline produces perfect ceremonial, as all who have seen the Guards trooping the Colour in LONDON in full dress on the KING’s birthday will agree; and magnificent behaviour in battle, as all who have seen them fighting can testify”
    It is gratifying that our system of training and attention to detail is appreciated in this way and it will serve to remind us how important it is that we always maintain, in war and peace, that high standard of discipline which puts duty before self and which has earned respect for the BRIGADE OF GUARDS throughout the whole Army.
    Holy Mass for the late Serjeant MAHER M.M. was celebrated this morning on the Battalion Parade Ground.
    All Ranks of the Battalion have been sorry to hear that Major S.H. VERNON, No. 1 Company, is seriously ill in hospital with a form of creeping paralysis.
    Reports on any change in Major VERNON’s condition will be anxiously awaited.

    1943 November 3
    The following Officers arrived today from the I.R.T.D., PHILIPPEVILLE:
    Lieutenant F.S. COLLIN
    Lieutenant R.C. AIKENHEAD, and
    Lieutenant D.W. HALL
    Lieutenant F.S. COLLIN is to take on from Captain DRUMMOND the duties of Battalion Signal Officer and is posted to the Battalion.
    Lieutenant AIKENHEAD and Lieutenant HALL are here on attachment.
    It has recently been announced that General ALEXANDER has been made a Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit by President ROOSEVELT, and that his A.D.C., Captain Sir Rupert CLARKE, Bart., IRISH GUARDS, has been awarded a M.B.E.
    The official extract from G.R.O. (Appendix A), dated 15th October 1943 is appended.

    1943 November 4 - 7
    Exercise “WHYMPER”, a Battalion Exercise and in effect a cross-mountain march in the area of CAP BON began on Thursday morning and ended at about 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon.
    A fairly detailed report of the Exercise is included in a ‘Topographical Report on Exercise WHYMPER’.
    With the exception of Friday night which we spent in a wog village which bore the highly improbable and totally inapplicable name of FORTUNA.
    Exercise “WHYMPER” was quite a good exercise and not too strenuous.
    On Sunday morning for the last phase of the march, the Battalion was split into two; one force, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and Support Companies being under command of Major H.L.S. YOUNG, and the other, consisting of No. 4 Company and a small mobile force all under command of the Second-in-Command.
    Major YOUNG’s force moved as a mixed column on the road from BIR DRASSEN - BENIKHAR and was opposed at various strategic points; first by the mobile force and then by No. 4 Company.
    Near SIDI-CHARANNE, a few miles outside BENIKHIAR, the Commanding Officer closed the Exercise.
    Soon afterwards the M.T. arrived and after a light meal the Battalion returned to HAMMAMET.

    1943 November 8
    The first of the Inter-Company T.E.W.Ts took place today, and was set by No. 1 Company for No. 2 Company.
    Otherwise the Battalion spent a peaceful day ‘recovering’ from Exercise WHYMPER.

    1943 November 9
    The Commanding Officer held a Conference on Exercise “WHYMPER” in the Serjeants Mess tent at 0845 hours this morning.
    All Officers, Warrant Officers and N.C.Os down to Section Commanders attended.
    The Commanding Officer expressed himself pleased with the Battalion’s performance, and in particular with the way No. 3 Company had captured the heights dominating the main defile through which the Battalion had had to pass.
    The pace at which this company had move to secure these points had completely baffled the calculations of the “enemy” and of the directing staff, who arrived too late to offer and opposition.
    A ‘deputation’ of Officers from the Battalion consisting of the Second-in-Command, Father BROOKES, Captain S.H. COMBE, Captain J.T. EGAN and Lieutenant J.C.F. QUINN, went to visit the Bey this afternoon at his palace at HAMMAN LIF, with the object of obtaining the use of the Royal Baths for the Battalion.
    The Bey was not at home and the deputation was received by his Son and his Ruritanian looking general.
    After consultation with the Keeper of the Baths, a seedy looking individual, it was arranged that the Battalion should take over completely one of the baths at a payment of 10 francs per man per bath.

    1943 November 10

    1943 November 11
    Final arrangements about the Battalion Rifle Meeting which is to begin tomorrow, were made at a Conference held in H.Q. Company recreational tent this morning.
    The committee consists of the following:
    Major D.M.L. GORDON-WATSON, M.C.
    Captain D.M. KENNEDY
    Lieutenant T.C. KEIGWIN
    Lieutenant M.R.G. EARLS-DAVIS
    Lieutenant A.N. BELL
    Lieutenant & Quartermaster H.F. McKINNEY, M.B.E.
    Regimental Serjeant Major McLOUGHLIN
    Serjeant CRAWFORD
    Lance Serjeant HARRIGAN
    Lance Serjeant HEBDEN

    1943 November 12
    This morning was dull and cold and blustery but even so the Battalion Rifle Meeting started off with a good swing.
    In addition to the events proper, were a number of Side-shows organised by Lieutenant T.C. KEIGWIN.
    Stalls were run by Lieutenant BRAND and Lieutenant DODDS and musical interludes were provided by the C.M.P. Dance Band.
    Today’s events included:
    Rifle Competition - 1000 - 1230 hours, 1430 - 1600 hours
    2” Mortar Competition - 1000 - 1230 hours
    36 Grenade Competition - 1430 - 1500 hours
    69 Grenade Competition - 1500 - 1600 hours
    At about midday the Divisional Commander, Major General W.R.C. PENNEY, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., came out to watch the last stages of the Rifle and 2” Mortar Competition.
    After spending some time amongst the competitors the Divisional Commander and his A.D.C. Lieutenant J.W.V. ASH, IRISH GUARDS, returned to Battalion H.Q., where he was entertained at luncheon by the Commanding Officer.

    1943 November 13
    The last two events in the Battalion Rifle Meeting took place this morning.
    They were (1) The Rifle Pool Shoot and (2) T.M.C. Competition.
    The latter event was an Inter-Company Officers’ event and was won by H.Q. Company (Captain S.H. COMBE, Lieutenant J.C.F. QUINN and Lieutenant & Quartermaster H.F. McKINNEY, M.B.E.) with 118 points out of a possible 120.
    In the afternoon the Battalion Football Team played an ‘away’ match against the RECCE REGIMENT at NABEUL.
    The result was a narrow win for the Battalion.
    Score: Battalion 1, Recce Regiment Nil.

    1943 November 14
    Lieutenant O.F. McINERNEY and 2721620 Lance Serjeant J. PRYTHERICK left today for AINSMARA to attend a Junior Leaders’ Course at the Allied School of Infantry.
    This evening the Battalion took part in a 1st DIVISION Boxing Tournament and entered five competitors in the Welter Weight Class.
    Four of these won their fights and one was beaten.
    The results in detail were:-
    Guardsman HEALEY beat Private NUTHEAM (K.S.L.I.)
    Guardsman BRAZIL was beaten by Driver LEADBEATER (ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS)
    Guardsman CARTER beat Private NUGENT (K.S.L.I.)
    Guardsman LEE beat Gunner BRENT (ROYAL ARTILLERY)

    1943 November 15
    The results of the Battalion Rifle Meeting, which took place on Friday and Saturday, are as follows:-
    H.Q. Company - 309 points - 5th
    Support Company - 342 points - 1st
    No. 1 Company - 315 points - 3rd
    No. 2 Company - 285 points - 6th
    No. 3 Company - 312 points - 4th
    No. 4 Company - 339 points - 2nd

    Highest Individual Rifle Scores
    Company Serjeant Major PESTELL, No. 2 Company - 38
    Captain D.M. KENNEDY, No. 3 Company - 37
    Guardsman COOKE - 36
    Guardsman GIBSON, No. 4 Company - 34
    Company Quartermaster Serjeant CRYMBLE, Support Company - 33
    Lance Serjeant KENNEALLY, V.C., No. 1 Company - 33

    Pool Shoot Result
    Guardsman WILKINSON, No. 1 Company - Each hit Egg Bull
    Lance Corporal CAMPBELL, No. 2 Company - Prize: 570 Francs each

    1943 November 16 - 17
    There has been nothing to interrupt “the even tenor of our way” of late.
    But the days pass quickly even so, and life is agreeable on the whole.
    There has been an increase in the number of courses since the beginning of the month.
    They are usually held locally and only last for a few days.
    Within the past week there has been a Junior Leaders’ Course, an Intelligence Course and in the near future there is to be a Divisional Rock Climbing Course.

    1943 November 18 - 19
    A Battalion Mountain Warfare Course has begun under the direction of Major G.P.M. FITZGERALD who recently returned from an attachment with a Battalion of the 2nd INFANTRY BRIGADE which has been doing Mountain Training near CRETEVILLE.
    So far instruction has been almost exclusively concerned with the various types of loads which can be carried and the different kinds of rucksack in use.
    Of the three types - “Everest”, “Yukon”, and “Bergen” - most commonly worn, the Bergen seems to be the most serviceable and practical, and therefore presumably the one with which we shall probably have most to do.
    Demonstrations have been given by the Pioneer Platoon and the 3” Mortar Platoon showing the potentialities of the “Yukon” pack in particular, of which there will be a limited issue to each Battalion.

    1943 November 20
    A temporary general issue of “Bergen” packs has been made to the Battalion, and all Companies - including H.Q. Company - today went for a seven - eight mile cross-country, cross-mountain march carrying the basic load of 28 lbs per man.
    The packs are certainly comfortable and infinitely preferable to web-equipment.

    1943 November 21
    It is now fairly certain that the Division will move in the very near future, probably sometime next week.
    Detailed instructions are hourly awaited, but it seems likely that this Brigade will be the first to go.

    1943 November 22
    Our immediate future has been clarified a great deal in the last twenty four hours, and it is now common knowledge that we are going to move.
    Companies have begun the formidable task of ‘packing up’.
    During the course of six months of peace conditions the Battalion has acquired a vast amount of ‘equipment’ not shown on any Army Forms.
    Apart from the more reasonable items such as Italian lorries, tents, tables, chairs, are included Support Company’s dog and cook: and at one time it was thought ‘Ali’, Battalion H.Q.’s Chef, would be included in the list of essentials.
    It can be imagined that the matter of deciding what is and what is not indispensable is by no means the least of the problems that arise and are going to arise within the next few days.
    The last Demonstration in the short-lived Mountain Warfare Course was given this morning by the 137 Field Ambulance.
    It showed the various methods of evacuating wounded in mountainous country including a number of ingenious improvisations with webbing which could be used when the proper equipment is not available.
    The Demonstration, which included instruction in elementary First Aid was well staged and interesting.

    1943 November 23
    Final preparations were made for sending off the Advance Party early tomorrow morning.
    The Party consists of the M.T. under command Captain J.T. EGAN and Lieutenant M.McN. BOYD and representatives from each of the Companies under command Captain R.N.D. YOUNG and Lieutenant J.C.F. QUINN.
    See APPENDIX 3.
    Due to sickness during the past month or two a considerable re-arrangement of commands have been posted to the Battalion from the I.R.T.D.
    The new appointments are as follows:-
    Major Sir I. STEWART-RICHARDSON - Posted to Officer Commanding No. 1 Company vice Major S.H. VERNON
    Captain D. DRUMMOND - Posted to Second-in-Command No. 4 Company vice Captain D.A. GILLIAT
    Lieutenant O.F. McINERNEY - Posted Second-in-Command No. 3 Company vice Captain M.F. RAWLENCE
    Lieutenant G.V. BLAND - Posted to Officer Commanding Pioneer Platoon vice Lieutenant W.F. REYNOLDS

    1943 November 24
    Reveille for the Advance Party was at 0245 hours and in just under two hours later the Brigade Convoy moved off.
    An otherwise smooth journey was marred by a very unfortunate accident which occurred when Guardsman FENWICK (Brigade H.Q.) and 7014147 Guardsman POLLOCK, one of our Despatch Riders, collided with an American ambulance and was seriously injured.
    The convoy reached BIZERTA at 1230 hours and ‘BANNOCKBURN’, the Staging Camp, half an hour later, after negotiating some very muddy, and at times almost impossible tracks.
    This camp, so called, which is a mud-bound paper littered and very inaccessible olive grove.
    The steady falling of the rain, the first for some weeks, and the prospect of more to come, offers little comfort.
    However, it is to be hoped that the loading of vehicles aboard the M.T. ships will not be long delayed and that facilities at present non existent, will be provided for us to make adequate preparations for the reception of the remainder of the Battalion.

    1943 November 25
    “BANNOCKBURN - Texas Camp”
    Before mid-day the order came that the M.T. was to be loaded and driven down to the American “HOUSTON Camp” which lies between the main BIZERTA - MATEUR road and the docks.
    But nobody seemed to know exactly when it would be put aboard the M.T. ship.
    The remainder of the day was spent by the Advance Party in organizing itself and erecting what few additional tents there were.
    At dark it began to rain again.

    1943 November 26
    Captain J.T. EGAN and Lieutenant M.McN. BOYD spent the night down at the docks until 4 a.m. supervising the leading of the M.T. which is now all aboard.
    It appears that contrary to instructions issued the drivers of the M.T. were not fed or in any way cared for during their whole period at “HOUSTON”, and have now all returned to this camp.

    1943 November 27
    As a result of continued rain the roads and tracks leading to “BANNOCKBURN” have become impassable to all but 4 wheel drive vehicles or other vehicles with chains.
    During the afternoon Captain C.D.P. O’COCK arrived to recce HOUSTON Camp as it is now thought probable that the Battalion may go straight there and not at all to “BANNOCKBURN”.
    However, as if to belie this theory Lieutenant P.C. DA COSTA arrived soon afterwards with 77 men.
    About half of these are No. 1 Company men and the remainder 1st Line Reinforcements Company personnel.

    1943 November 28
    Support Company and the remainder of No. 1 Company arrived this morning in the “HOUSTON Camp” area.
    Fortunately the weather has improved a great deal and the ground is much drier.
    Early in the afternoon Support Company and No. 1 Company were joined by the remainder of their personnel who had formed part of the advance guard to “BANNOCKBURN”
    Thus both Companies are now complete and may be expected to embark at any time.
    When this will be it is not known, nor is it possible to find out.
    The chief concern, however, is to know where and when to expect the main body of the Battalion.
    Until this is known it is impossible to make any preparation for their reception.

    1943 November 29
    The Battalion arrived this morning at Transit Camp No. 2, which is a couple of miles nearer BIZERTA than “BANNOCKBURN” and is also nearer the main road.
    It has a permanent staff and is fairly well supplied with tents and is equipped with all bare amenities, and unlike the other so-called camps.
    Under the existing arrangements what remains of the Battalion’s Advance Party is due to embark on the “LONSDALE”, a personnel ship, early tomorrow morning with a composite party made up of the Advance Parties of the rest of the Brigade.
    Details of what will happen to the main body of the Battalions and of the Brigade are not yet known, but it seems probable that they will embark together later on a different ship.

    1943 November 30
    Owing to the fact that the personnel ships, of which the “LONSDALE” was one, are not now available, various advance parties have joined their Battalions at Transit Camp No. 2.
    The date of our departure is now more uncertain than ever and there is the very unpleasant probability of our having to travel in the L.C.Is, unless something turns up.

Share This Page