May 1943

In May 1943, Allied Forces in North Africa achieved the goal for which they had been fighting for over six months, ever since the 1st Army landed in Algeria and the 8th Army’s breakthrough at El Alamein. When they entered Tunis, 2 LIR played a full part in this final act when it joined the Irish Brigade in becoming the first marching troops to enter the city on 8th May. In total, over 200,000 German and Italian troops surrendered during the month.

Twelve days later, 2 LIR joined a Victory March through the streets of Tunis with its Pipe Band in full evidence, as the Irish Brigade marched proudly in front of Generals Eisenhower, Alexander, Montgomery and Giraud.

More than 100 London Irishmen were killed during the campaign in North Africa, with hundreds more wounded, missing and captured.

Key Dates:

4th May – 2 LIR move to 5 Corps reserve,

6th May – The battalion join the final push for Tunis.

8th May – 2 LIR enter Tunis.

20th May – Victory March in Tunis.

25th May – 2 LIR move to Guelma in Algeria.

Roll of Honour, May 1943:

Rifleman FJ Herbert 06/05/1943 El Alia Algeria 2 LIR

Rifleman C Smart 06/05/1943 Medjez-el-Bab Memorial Tunisia 2 LIR

Captain MJG Thornton 13/05/1943 Medjez-el-Bab Tunisia 2 LIR

Read The London Irish At War – May/June 1943.

Read June 1943 here.