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March 1944

At the start of March 1944, the 1st Battalion (1 LIR) continued their defensive ordeal in the Anzio bridgehead, with their last major action of this campaign period taking place on 2nd and 3rd March with the battalion suffering a number of casualties during further bitter fighting. During the last few days, Lieut-Colonel Baucher had taken over command of 1 LIR from the temporary command of Major Viscount Stopford. On 11th March, 1 LIR were at long last able to leave Anzio behind, but with a much depleted total strength of only just over three hundred officers and men.

On 29th March, 1 LIR left Taranto en route for 3 months of rest, re-equipping and training in Egypt – this was a much needed break for the battalion, who had been in almost constant front line action since arriving in Sicily during July 1943.

In expectation of an imminent call to move forward to the Cassino front line,  the 2nd Battalion (2 LIR) continued training near to the Volturno River, but unlike 1 LIR, they were able to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in extravagant fashion. Very soon afterwards, they did indeed advance northwards but only to take up defensive positions on the banks of the Gari River before they joined the rest of the Irish Brigade in moving onto the slopes of the 771 metre high Monte Castellone, just to the north of Monte Cassino.


Key Dates:

3rd March: Lieut-Colonel Baucher takes over command of 1 LIR.

11th March: 1 LIR leave Anzio and move to a rest area south of Naples.

17th March: 2 LIR celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

23rd March: 2 LIR move to defensive positions near to the River Gari.

26th March: 2 LIR withdraw from the Gari river.

29th March: 1 LIR leave Italy, bound for Egypt.

29th March: 2 LIR start moving forward to take up positions on the summit of Monte Castellone.


Roll of Honour, March 1944:

Rifleman T McCombe 01/03/1944 Padua Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman HS Orr 01/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman T Callaghan 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman C Dowling 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman AJ Dowsett 02/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman WJ Greer 02/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman F Holding 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman DM Huxley 02/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman D Jafrato 02/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman H Johnston 02/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Cpl FW Lancaster 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

Sgt J McGeown 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

CQMS CDR Pakenham 02/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman J Quinn 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman W Sheldon 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

Sgt H Smith 02/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman F Stone 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman G Wilson 02/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman WS Wooller 02/03/1944 Cassino Memorial Italy 1 LIR.

Captain MCB Bonham-Carter 03/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Cpl N Dursley 03/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Cpl DH Hadley 03/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman A Lewis 03/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman J O’Keefe 03/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman J Selby 03/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Cpl JA Ludwig 04/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman H Bick 05/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Lt NC Toone 06/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman L Cohen 07/03/1944 Rome Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman WJ O’Connor 09/03/1944 Berlin Germany 1 LIR.

Rifleman FA Whittaker 13/03/1944 Caserta Italy 1 LIR.

Rifleman WB Tyndale 24/03/1944 Cassino Italy 1 LIR.

Cpl RJ Davies 27/03/1944 Belgrade Yugoslavia 1 LIR, while serving with No 2 Commando.

Rifleman J Derivan 31/03/1944 Anzio Beachhead Italy 1 LIR.


Read The London Irish At War – March 1944.

Read April 1944 here.