7014139 Rifleman James WRIGHT, Royal Irish Fusiliers

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Graham64, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    IMG_0657.JPG My grandfather James Wright (top of photo 5th from left). Born Belfast 17-5-21, joined age 17 the Royal Ulster Rifles. Overseas service in Italy from 12-8-43 to 3-5-46 with the Irish Fusiliers. Injured during the battle at San Salvo 27-10-43. Returned home to Belfast 4-5-46 and served in the territorial army.
    Sadly his letters have been lost, however I do have his service record, medals and photos.
    Any further information or knowledge of his service would be greatly appreciated.
    A person by the name of Woosley may be also in this photo.
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  2. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    IMG_0658.JPG Photo from Milan castle.
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  3. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    Great photos. I would imagine that you have already got hold of your grandfather's full service records - hence the specific dates.

    Hopefully too, you'll know the route that the Faughs took from Sicily in August 1943 to the time they crossed into Austria in May 1945...and then a period of "peacekeeping" in Carinthia. There are a number of great sources of information - both "top down" military history and "bottom up" personal narratives of men who served with the Irish Fusiliers in Tunisia and Italy.

    My father also served with the 38 (Irish) Brigade and most probably was very close by your granddad through part of his overseas services starting in Sicily, Taranto, Termoli, and the Trigno river, and thence through 1944 and 1945. My Dad left Austria for good in March 1946 - and (luckily for us) wrote down his story many years later.

    best wishes
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  4. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    The photo in the Milan cafe is interesting as it has clear images of his mates. Someone may recognise a face.
    I have read and watched some top down info on Italy. I am enjoying some of the personal stories found in these forums. I would like to find out the company James was with ao I can use this as a reference when reading information on the battles etc... If you have any recommended bottom up resources I would appreciate you letting me know. Thanks
  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    No doubt, faces from 1945 etc are tricky to pin down unless the photo has names written on the back....sometimes I can't identify my own Dad in group photos.
    The Faughs' museum people might have other photos with names of men that you might be able to cross ref.

    Couple of links here of stories from our website, albeit mostly from the perspective of officers.

    Lawrie Franklyn Vaile's letters;
    Major Lawrence Franklyn-Vaile’s Letters Home

    Top down:
    Brigadier Russell
    Irish Brigade In Italy Sep 1943 to Dec 1943 By Brigadier Nelson Russell

    War Diary transcriptions:
    War Diaries Of 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers 1942/43

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  6. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    one more - do you know when/where your grandfather returned to his unit after recovering from his injuries?
  7. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    His time with the Ulster Rifles would have placed him squarely at the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino which is my area of interest.

    If you ever want to go there and see exactly what happened to the battalion, do get in touch.

    The chap sitting down on the left looks like an Argyll & Sutherland Highlander.


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  8. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    IMG_0660.JPG Here is the back of the photo of the group at the cafe. It has the name Wolsey . D. to an address in Liverpool. Also some other abbreviations I am unsure of? This sent from a cafe in Milan.
  9. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    IMG_0738.JPG Attached service record with details of injury. It says something about W. 3016/Nov 7 ? Not sure what this refers to? I don't see any information here that indicates the company he was with.
  10. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    Hello Frank, Yes I believe he was with the Irish Rifles at this time, however I really don't know the company. I am learning more about the Italy campaign all the time. Maybe one day I will visit, however I live in Australia so it's a little bit more difficult.
  11. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    Hello Richard, I posted his service record with detail of his injury...(big toe shot off). Not sure what information is provided?
  12. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member



    Do you have the page (or two) of the full service record details that shows all the dates of his service postings ?

    From what you've sent, a few thoughts:
    27/10/1943 - a truly dreadful day for the Faughs after they crossed the Trigno river towards San Salvo - their CO Lt-Col Butler being killed.
    A link to Nelson Russell's account:
    First Attack on San Salvo

    30/10/1944 - "deprived of 14 days pay by OC Capt Hunt"
    Throughout the 1 RIrF's war diaries I've never ever seen a reference to a "Capt Hunt" so wonder where he might have been in October 1944? The battalion itself were still in the mountains north of Castel di Rio. There is a reference to the X list so it might seem that he was at that time awaiting posting to a unit

    Frank references the "Ulster Rifles" - of course, he meant the "London Irish Rifles" (LIR) but from the papers you've passed over, we have no evidence that he actually ever served with the LIR... it seems clear that he was with the Royal Irish Fusiliers in Italy... but not clear if he was actually with the Faughs when they were active in the Cassino sector during the March to May 1944 period

    Milan photo - that area was pretty far from where the Irish Brigade were at at any time - after May 1945, the Faughs were based in southern Austria so I wonder if/when he did actually get back to them after suffering his injuries in October 1943..

    A few loose ends here obviously.

    best wishes
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  13. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    Sorry Woosey D
  14. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    IMG_0737.JPG This is the other page of his service record. Shows James being transferred from the LIR to RIF on 6 sept 1943. This also shows him being posted for close to 3 years which I assume is in Italy, although it has a location I cannot determine that ends in N.A. Could this mean North Africa. Does this mean the North Africa conflict including Italy?
  15. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

  16. Graham64

    Graham64 Member

    Not sure what the reprimand was from Capt Hunt or where this occurred...not really sure how to fill in the gaps or if I am missing something from the service records? I have heard that he talked about Montgomery and sent back a picture of the execution of mousillini. He also said he had been in Africa and Italy...any help interpreting the service records would be appreciated.
  17. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    You've only sent one page of the service records so far unless I'm missing something... edit update.. I am lol
  18. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    ok... below is just a simple reading and impression of your grandfather's story..but without further information we shall continue to flounder

    He seems to have volunteered to join the RUR before the initial conscription call ups after April 1939
    But seems not to have been posted to either of the RUR's two battalions who were overseas at the time.
    At the outbreak of war in Sept 1939, he reported to the LIR as a reservist.
    And formally posted to 2 LIR in Jan 1940.
    During that 1940/41 period he would have moved around the Uk with 2 LIR to Haverfordwest, Lowestoft, Malvern amongst other places. They moved to Goodwood House in the summer of 1941
    But he seems to be re-posted out of the battalion in Aug 1941 and didn't join the LIR in the "final" training period during 1942 and their embarkation for Algeria in Nov 1942.
    Then joined up with the Faughs in Sept 1943 when they were in Sicily and then can assume that he embarked with them for Taranto later in Sept 1943.
    We assume he was present at the battles of Termoli and also San Salvo where he was wounded.
    There is no detail of any of the period from Sept 1943 to Oct 1944 so there is no hard evidence of what he did during that period and beyond to the time he went on LIAP in November 1945.
    The Oct 1944 entry referring to an incident on 9th Oct 1944 jars a bit as the Faughs were in continuous front line action from 6th Oct 1944 onwards

    the summary posting figures dont help at all as they don't even suggest he ever went to Italy...
    the mention of Montgomery would map into the October/November 1943 period in Italy as Monty seemed to adopt a very visible presence during that period...
    the milan "connection" might suggest that he wasn't actually with the Fughs in April 1945... who ere fighting through the Argenta Gap to the Po river.

    Plenty of speculation here...
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  19. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Not surprised his dates don't tally on his record. According to the army, my dad spent years in North Africa too, so try not to get too 'hung up' about dates; it was poor record keeping by the army.

    It lists the medals he received-he got the Italy star too.

    By the way, CMF is Central Mediterranean Force.

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  20. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    And finally...perhaps someone with more knowledge than me can comment on this entry..

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