The start of June 1944 found 2 LIR at rest in the Ripi area, as they awaited orders to move forward again and it was here that they heard that Rome had been liberated on 4th June. Eventually, they started to move forward again on 8th June and, at one point, came to guard Kesselring’s former HQ in a cave complex at San Oreste. Whilst the battalion continued in their advance towards Civitella, a group of London Irishmen joined a wider Irish Brigade detachment, led by Brigadier Scott, which visited the Vatican to meet Pipe Pius. With the brigade’s Pipes and Drums in attendance, this was one of the more memorable episodes of their whole time in Italy..
Following a rapid advance towards Lake Trasimene, on 21st June and supported by a squadron of Canadian tanks, 2 LIR led an Irish Brigade attack on the heavily fortified hilltop village of San Fatucchio, which resulted in bitter fighting in the village and nearby church and cemetery at San Felice.
Hand to hand fighting continued throughout the day and into the night and the battalion pushed further forward to consolidate their gains as the Skins came up on their right. This left them in somewhat exposed positions and F Company, led by Major Colin Gibbs, agreed to remain well forward on the morning of 24th June, when a massive artillery barrage came down onto them just before the Faughs moved forward to continue the brigade’s attacks towards the villages of Ranciano and Pescia. This successful assault was then taken up by other units of 78th Infantry Division and, over the following few days, the Irish Brigade started to move into Divisional Reserve.
The period near San Fatucchio saw some of the fiercest fighting that 2 LIR faced throughout their whole war time and, by the end of June 1944, they were ready to move back towards Rome for some much needed rest.
As the 2nd Battalion were moving southwards and eventually to Egypt in July, the 1st Battalion were preparing to come back to Italy.
8th June: 2 LIR move forward north of Rome.
12th June: Irish Brigade meet the Pope.
12th-14th June: 2 LIR fighting at Pianniccalle and on Morrano ridge.
21st June: 2 LIR attack on San Fatucchio.
28th June: Irish Brigade into Divisional Reserve.
Roll of Honour: June 1944.