Battle Honour 'ITALY 1943-45'

Thursday, 26 April, 1945

ITALY1943-45The Battle Honour ITALY 1943-45 is emblazoned on the Queen's Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment and was a distinction awarded to our forebears for their various actions in the Battle for Italy.

On 26 April 1945, 38 (Irish) Brigade was complete on the south bank of the River Po when, at 0530 hours, the area around the 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was heavily shelled for some 15 minutes by enemy artillery. Although noted in the Brigade's War Diary, the Inniskilling's diary entry for the day stated:

The day on the whole proved to be very quiet.

It was indeed a comparative comment considering all that had gone before in the battles for Italy - and it was to be the last enemy action for 38 (Irish) Brigade. During the rest of the day the areas along the Po flood bank, and approaches to the crossings used by the enemy, were scoured for enemy equipment including tanks, guns, and vehicles. The quantity found was testament to the major defeat of the enemy by the Eighth Army. Their immediate enemy, LXXVI Panzer Corps, had been well and truly defeated and only a few hundred men from the divisions under its command managed to escape northwards across the Po. Pinned down between the Alps and the Po with no retreat, the enemy signed surrender documents at Caserta on 29 April, with final confirmation on 2 May 1945.

Brigadier Scott, commanding 38 (Irish) Brigade, wrote:

By the evening of 26th we had cleaned up every Hun in our area, and the war had passed us.