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9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers – War Diary December 1943

1st December 1943 - San Clemente

1230 Area received 15 enemy shells.  Intermittent enemy shelling all day and night.

2nd December 1943

0900 The final oh groups.  Everyone being put in picture.

1700 Battalion moved off.

3rd December – 6th December 1943

See 9th Royal Fusiliers Report on Operation Konker.

7th December – 8th December 1943

A Company 028014, B Company 033014, D Company at 036015, Battalion HQ 032014.  Battalion resting.  Man and weapons maintenance.

9th December 1943

0800 Battalion at one hour’s notice to move.  Advance party left under Captain Rider.

1900 Battalion moved off in motor transport.

2300 Arrived in concentration area at Casanova 970882.  All troops in billets.

10th December 1943 -13th December 1943

Battalion remain concentrated in this area prior to taking over from 11 KRRC.  Battalion O group recced the positions to be taken over.

14th December 1943

1030 Battalion moved off in motor transport to Sessa Aurunca where they debussed and marched to Lauro.

1900 Companies taken over complete.  A Company San Castrese 887951 with a section of carriers and two detachments mortars under command.  B Company and 912956, D Company 904957, the Battalion HQ at Lauro.

15th December 1943

0545 Stand to.

0645 Stand down.

1620 A civilian was picked up in Lauro.  He had been working for the enemy but had managed to escape to our lines by swimming the River Garigliano.  Taken to Brigade by Intelligence Officer.

1715 Patrol of four men under Lieutenant Illes left to recce area 500 yards by 200 yards in front of tunnel.

2100 Lieutenant Illes reported in.

2310 A Company’s patrol reported in.

16th December 1943

0600 Stand to.

0700 Stand down.

0710 The covering party of one NCO and six other ranks who were guarding OP No. 4 at 88497 were captured by section of the enemy who had been lying in wait for them.

1430 Mortar platoon of 8 Royal Fusiliers came under command.  Sub unit positions now as follows:-D Company 903954, 902955, 905957, HQ at 905985, standing patrol 902956.  A Company 879958, 880950, 887950, HQ at 887950.  B Company 878963, 884973, 883963, HQ at 883963.  Section of carriers and anti-tank guns in area immediately south of Castrese.  Troops under command: D Company Ox and Bucks 892976, 898974, HQ at 893973.  5 Platoon 6 Cheshire’s 898972, 4 Platoon 6 Cheshire’s 894967.  8 Royal Fusiliers mortars 882962.  All platoon of positions were manned fully by night, by day OPs and covering sections remained out while rest of company withdrew to billets.

2345 The 15 men under Lieutenant J. Graham left to recce area 500 yards by 200 yards in front of the canal tunnel.

17th December 1943 - Lauro

0250 Lieutenant Graham’s patrol reported in.

0600 Stand to.

0700 Stand down.

0945 6 Cheshires report enemy movement at house 879993.

1700 Stand to.

1800 Stand down.  D Company taken over from B Company.

1830 D and B Companies report Verey light from enemy lines.

1800 Patrol under Lieutenant Bannerman of twenty-two men went out.

1900 Patrol of one officer and 12 men from D Company 7 Ox and Bucks went out.

1900 Patrol of 24 other ranks under Lieutenant Rees went out.

18th December 1943

0015 Lieutenant Rees reported in.

0030 Ox and Bucks patrol reported in.

0230 Lieutenant Bannerman’s patrol reported in.

0600 Stand to.

0700 Stand down.

0850 Five enemy mortar bombs fell in area 8997.

0930 Civilian reports man lying in front of canal.

1005 Civilian confirmed.  Dead sergeant of the 11 KRRC found at 876965.

1235 6 Cheshires report enemy movement 879993.  Their target for tonight.

1800 Stand to.

1900 Stand down.

1805 Lieutenant Burnett’s patrol went out.

1915 2nd Lieutenant Godbolt’s (7 Ox and Bucks) patrol went out.

19th December 1943

0225 Lieutenant Burnett’s patrol back.

0330 2nd Lieutenant Godbolt’s patrol back.

0600 Stand to.

0700 Stand down.

1120 Mustang fighter shot down over Cassino landed approximately 904934.  Pilot (US) landed by parachute in A Company’s area unharmed.  Taken by Intelligence Officer to 10 Corps HQ.

1730 2nd Lieutenant Godbolt’s patrol left.

1800 Stand to.  Captain de Jager’s patrol left.

1830 Lieutenant J.  Graham’s patrol left.

1900 Stand out.

2120 Captain de Jager’s patrol returned.

20th December 1943

0150 Lieutenant Graham’s patrol returned.

0230 2nd Lieutenant Godbolt’s patrol returned.

0615 Stand to.

0715 Stand down.

0855 Five enemy shells fell in area 878959.

1700 Stand to.

1800 Lieutenant Burnett’s and Lieutenant Illes’ patrols went out.  Stand down.

21st December 1943

0030 Lieutenant Burnett’s patrol in.

0200 Lieutenant Illes’ patrol in.

0615 Stand to.

0715 Stand down.

1730 9 Royal Fusiliers relieved by 8 Royal Fusiliers.  Battalion marched back to Cupa 9293.

22nd December 1943 -24th December 1943 - Cupa

Battalion rested in this area.  O group preparing for Operation Pheasant.  Intelligence officer recced proposed site for TAC HQ in pigeon loft at 878969.

25th December 1943

Considering active service conditions, we celebrated Christmas in good style.  All companies had their dinners undercover.  The meal consisting of tinned turkey and pork was served in the customary manner by the officers and sergeants.  The Commanding Officer visited all diners.

26th December 1943

Intelligence Officer and Adjutant made for the recce of pigeon loft.

27th December 1943 - 29th December 1943

B Company and battle patrol preparing for Pheasant.

30th December 1943

Operation Pheasant.

2245 Captain de Jager with 10 Platoon crossed canal.

2300 Battle patrol crossed canal.

2315 B Company less 10 Platoon crossed canal.

31st December 1943

0015 10 Platoon reported in.

0030 Battle patrol reported in.

0045 B Company reported in.  No contact made.

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