Battle Honour MINTURNO

Wednesday, 19 January, 1944
Sgt Anderson

The Battle Honour MINTURNO was an entitled distinction that was not selected to be emblazoned on the Queen's Colours of The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and therefore does not appear on the Queen's Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

Following the crossing of the River GARIGLIANO on 18 January 1944, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers began their attack towards the Minturno ridge before last light and had advanced some 200 yards when the enemy counterattacked. The Germans pressed hard on three sides around B Company's location and there followed a period of close-quarter fighting with rifle butt and bayonet.

Sergeant Anderson, taking a captured machine gun, charged an enemy group killing enough of them to put the others to flight. Fusilier Stanex led two comrades in a bayonet charge to recapture his platoon's post. Sergeant Gallagher, wounded in the face by a grenade, counterattacked with his platoon to drive back an enemy attack. These examples are typical of the many actions where men, performing acts of great gallantry, closed with and killed their enemy in the blackness of this vicious night battle. Major Nixon and his men fought their withdrawal towards C Company's position where he mustered his surviving 35 men. There, the two companies were reorganized and the CO ordered a platoon from D Company to reinforce them as well as arranging a defensive artillery barrage in front of their position.

Maj Nixon 2The enemy counterattacked again in the early hours of 19 January, but this time against C Company's position. An artillery defensive-fire shoot was brought dangerously close to the company location so as to destroy the attacking enemy. Inevitably there were some own casualties but the enemy sustained heavy losses and were beaten back, leaving behind many dead and wounded. It was at this point that a wounded Major Blake passed command to Major Nixon. Major Bradley, with elements of D Company, advanced to fight for the position B Company had lost earlier. It successfully recaptured the position, and happily discovered some B company 'Skins' who had been taken as POWs by the Germans.

The dioramas* (above) depict B Company Commander, Major John Nixon, with a wounded Captain Bill Vincent behind him, and Sgt Anderson on the captured machine gun (top right).

The diorama can be viewed at the Inniskillings Museum in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.