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A Savage Does His Bit!

by shropshirelibraries

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Archive List > British Army

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People in story: 
John Savage
Location of story: 
South Coast of England
Background to story: 
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Contributed on: 
18 November 2004

Thank you to the BBC for such wonderful work in presenting our History (of which I am a part having served in WW2)

The Savages are a family with a long military tradition that can be dated back to the Battle of Crecy. My father served in a mounted regiment in Baghdad and Africa during WW1. When I saw, during 1937, my last year at Grammar School in Bristol, that war was definitely coming I was determined to join up and do my duty too. I really wanted to join the Somerset Yeomanry, a mounted regiment, because I was a horseman as my father and grandfather had been. They were so popular however, that their books were closed to new recruits. Instead I volunteered for the 5th Survey Regiment, Royal Artillery.

The 5th Survey Regt was mainly made up from local government officers, men who were used to wearing ties. We were ‘soldier scientists’ and our job was mapping and locating the enemy guns on the French Coast by sight and sound. We moved up and down the South Coast of England in 15 cwt lorries, and often came under heavy fire from bombing raids. As they fell from the planes, the bombs would wobble in the air. Those summers were beautifully hot and sunny, but the glorious views faded away when we pulled into the nearby airfields and saw what a mess these raids had made.

[Mr Savage told his story to a volunteer typist at the Shropshire Family History Festival. He accepts the terms and conditions of the website.]

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