Victory Rolls at Anzio, Italy.

Friday, 24 March, 1944
2 Inniskillings Anzio patrols sniping
Fusilier David Riddell from Belfast on patrol at Anzio.

During March 1944, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers spent a period in the Coastal Sector of the Anzio beachhead. It was more comfortable and better entrenched in comparison with the beachhead's Fortress Sector.

The Skins worked hard to ensure their superiority at sniping and companies set up a scoreboard to record the number of 'kills'. Already, the Skins had a reputation that they were determined not to lose. B Company sent out 21 patrols in 24 days, an average not uncommon throughout the Battalion. Enemy reprisals were usually rare, but on one night, when a German patrol attacked C Company, A Company joined in the fire fight and the enemy received a severe mauling. To encourage raids, the Divisional Commander instituted a barrage of gunfire in honour of any unit capturing a prisoner. The Inniskillings scored nine 'Victory Rolls'.

The image above shows Fusilier David Riddell with a Lee Enfield Rifle, No4 Mk1. Such rifles selected for conversion to sniper rifles had a wooden rising cheek-piece screwed on and had the rear battle sight ground off to accept a mounting bracket for the telescopic sight No32. This produced the No4 Mk1 (T), for Telescope, and the rifle Fusilier Riddle is holding appears to have had its battle sight removed (the flip-up ladder sight is still fitted) and at the front of the receiver on the left side there is the forward mounting bracket of the No32 sight. He is therefore holding a No4 MK1 (T) with the telescopic sight removed. As the patrol is in very close country, he may have done so to avoid it snagging on vegetation.
(With thanks to Lt Col (Retd) Paddy Chambers MBE, for his advice on Fusilier Riddell’s rifle in the image)