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