38 (Irish) Brigade into Sicily.

Event
Monday, 26 July, 1943

With operations complete in Tunis, North Africa, the Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade, Brigadier Nelson Russell, had embarked for Sicily (in advance of the rest of the Brigade) on 23 July 1943. The Irish Brigade had spent late June and early July in training at Hammamet before moving to an assembly area at Sousse on 10 July in order to prepare for embarkation and transportation to Sicily on 26/27 July.

The 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers was the first to leave the assembly area and by 0400 hours on 26 July, had begun to load its transport at Sousse docks onto a LST* with companies boarding four LCIs* during the evening. The LST was found to be fairly uncomfortable although each man had a bed below decks and there was room, despite the vehicles, for walking about on deck. At 1130 hours, Brigade HQ moved from the assembly area to Sousse docks to embark and loading was completed by 1600hrs, followed by the 6th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The 2nd Battalion The London Irish Rifles left the assembly area at 1800 hours and by 2000 hours had completed boarding its LST and LCIs.

The Brigade's transports sailed at 2100 hours and by midnight had formed into the convoy that sailed for Sicily at 0400 hours on 27 July. It would be a rough passage to the Bay of Ochrina, some 10 miles south of Syracuse, where the Irish Brigade would land on the morning of 28 July before marching to the 78th (Battleaxe) Division's concentration area.

*
Amphibious seagoing assault ships/craft capable of landing vehicles and troops directly onto beaches:
LST = Landing Ship Tanks
LCI = Landing Craft Infantry