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9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers – War Diary March 1944

1st March 1944 - 824304

0030 Major Davies reports about 200 yards wiring completed 824304 running south-east in front of his position.

0115 – 830307 B Company all quiet.

0140 ­820289 3 Platoon now in position 820289.

1330 – 8331 4.2-inch mortars engage targets for 8 Royal Fusiliers. B Company being mortared. DF fired by Royal Artillery. 3-inch mortars engage 824309.

1420 Same tasks fired.

1830 – 8431 Very heavy stonking area 8 Royal Fusiliers. 4.2-inch mortars area 8431.

1920 – 826306 Spandau from area of shack.

1926 – 816298 Road shelled near gunner OP 816298.

2nd March 1944 - 827309

0305 C Company report right hand position being attacked by strong enemy patrol. Royal Artillery mortars and MMG engage targets.

0400 C Company report concentration of enemy right front.

0420 – 829310 Enemy movement to right and forward of C Company engaged by Royal Artillery.

0945 – 823303 Battle patrol report their end of wadi clear. Major Davies party now non-existent. CO orders Battle Patrol and C Company clear area.

1240 – 826306 C Company take 1 prisoner 7 Company III Sturm.

1340 – 8231 Royal Artillery harassing fire.

1415 – 826306 C Company now have 2 enemy dead from the morning’s activity and 2 from the night party. They have cleared the ground to their rear and now searching wadis.

1430 - 82505

C Company area shelled.

1438 – 819296 Two Fusiliers return Tac HQ. Had been taken prisoner at 0400 hrs with 10 others in the raid on Major Davies’ position wadi 826303. Attack had come in from south-east along west side of wadi. Strength estimated about 25 whose kit included a telephone and cable.

1445 – 826307 DF tasks in front of C Company fired 100 yards short.

MMG engage shack. Mortar platoon shoot.

1505 – 818296 Neighbouring troops informed of situation. Further attack expected and CO asks for support of London Irish Rifle company to help clear wadi 826303.

1510 – 825304 Smoke and green very light 825304.

1530 – 818296 Troop of 46 Royal Tank Regiment arrives area Tac HQ.

1836 Intense stonk Tac HQ. Three casualties.

1840 – 826300 Company London Irish Rifles moving up wadi towards C Company.

1915 818296 One Fusilier returns and reports the remaining prisoners had escaped from the wadi and were bringing back their 3 escorts as prisoners. Had been left in wadi when main body – 20 Bosche – withdrew to high ground 826303 to dug positions when London Irish Rifles moved towards wadi.

2100 – 826302 London Irish Rifle company still moving up wadi have had some casualties and are now consolidating.

2400 – 823307 Night very quiet. No further attacks have developed but enemy are still in rear of C Company as London Irish Rifles have now joined up.

3rd March 1944 - 819309

0120 Commando platoon of No. 9 Commando moved forward to positions 819309 are to be held in reserve under BW command.

0150 Platoon commander contacted Captain Rider and Major Dale MC OC C Company. 12 men left with Captain Rider.

C Company 18 set now working. Line out. Position most uncertain as enemy are known to be rear of C Company.

0155 – 819309 Runner sent out contact Commandos. They must contact C Company and be prepared to clear enemy near C Company.

0330 Commandos on set. Report message received. Can they clear wadi first light as they are uncertain n of location of London Irish Rifle company.

0335 Colonel tells Commandos they will clear wadi at first light unless situation deteriorates in rear of C company.

0410 – 818296 Captain Porter IO returns from taking out Commandos reports platoon commander had already contacted both Captain Rider and OC C Company. They are all set for party at first light.

0540 – 825305 C Company report Commando platoon has passed through them to clear wadi.

0723 – 823303 Commandos now 100 yards down wadi from north end. Snipers hold up advance especially from high ground.

1030 – 824302 Tanks engage wadi with airbursts. London Irish Rifles company direct shots.

1050 – 826306 Tanks engage shack. Hits observed and the whole area effectively engaged.

1220 – 824302 High ground east bank wadi cleared. Wadi now being beaten by commandos.

1515 – 823302 Commandos report wadi clear of enemy.

1615 – 818296 1 PoW 7 company Sturms.

1715 Today’s bag now stands at least 25 killed, 2 wounded, 10 prisoners.

2215 – 818302 Shelling of area Captain Riders position.

2230 – 823302 All quiet in wadi area where Commando platoon and London Irish Rifle company have consolidated.

4th March 1944

0105 – 818296 Patrol commander from 9 Commando report to Tac HQ before going out to wadi 815312.

0300 1 PoW 9 Company Sturm Regiment brought in.

0535 Commando patrol reports back. No enemy located in area wadi 815312.

0905 Forty enemy reported area 814312.

0915 – 814312 1 PoW wounded 7 Company Sturm Regiment brought in.

1415 – 818296 Papers including panorama from body dead Bosche officer brought in from C Company taken in wadi 825303.

1505 – 826306 Tanks engage targets area shack for C Company.

1510 Further Commando patrol planned to deal with area of shack.

0445 – 825305 Patrol does not go out but recces routes preparatory to further patrols.

0945 – 826306 Tanks engage shack which is later reported burning.

1230 – 818296 Some shelling area Tac HQ believed searching for tanks.

1600 More shelling of same area.

1700 Elements of Tac HQ KOYLI arrived to take over. Battalion to be relieved tonight.

2100 Tac HQ relief completed.

6th March 1944 - 7th March 1944 - Anzio

Battalion moved to B Echelon where they rested and cleaned up.

8th March 1944

0945 Battalion embarked on LST.

9th March 1944

Battalion disembarked and moved by transport to Italian barracks in Nocera.

10th March 1944 -11th March 1944

Battalion rested. Baths, delousing centres, entertainments and new clothes were provided.

12th March 1944

Advance party left for Pozzuoli to collect transport. Battalion moved to Pugani.

13th March 1944

Whole battalion did a short route march.

14th March 1944

Advance party left for Matera near Bari.

15th March 1944

Battalion marched to Pagani railway station where they entrained for Altamura.

16th March 1944

2330 Battalion arrived at Altamura and moved by motor transport to Matera. 

17th March 1944 - 23rd March 1944

Battalion stayed here for some days. It was treated as a staging area and opportunity was taken in smartening the battalion. Equipment was scrubbed and brasses cleaned. Drill parades were predominant. The battalion also received decorations.

24th March 1944 - 27th March 1944

Battalion moved in motor transport to Taranto staging camp where we stayed for four days. Courts martial were held. Troops played football and concentrated on fitness.

28th March 1944

Brigade group embarked on HMT Empire Pride.

29th March 1944

We sailed for Port Said.

30th March 1944 -31st March 1944

Courts Martial held on ship.

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