19 Jan 1944 – A counter attack in Italy

On this day the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) of 38 (Irish) Brigade were at Montenero

At 0830 E Company reported an enemy raid.

At 1030 G & H Companies counter-attacked on E & F Companies position. 5 Riflemen were killed, 13 wounded and 29 were captured.

Rfn Cullen from Belfast was one of the men killed that day.

James (Jimmy) Cullen was born in Belfast in 1920, the youngest son of seven children of Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Cullen.

After the outbreak of hostilities, he travelled to England to help with the war effort and it is believed that he volunteered in Liverpool, before joining the 2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) in Italy in late 1943.

James died with five other men from 2 LIR on 19th January 1944 in the high Apennines to the west of Castlel di Sangro and near to the village of Montenero, where the battalion HQ was stationed with men from the four rifle companies being sent out on patrols in absolutely atrocious conditions throughout the month.

Rifleman Cullen’s death is remembered at Cassino cemetery along with more than 4000 other men listed on the memorial panels, and a further 4000 men who are also buried there.

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