1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Thomas Savage

Contributed by: Joseph Ritson, on 2008-11-03

Thomas Savage
First Name Thomas
Surname Savage
Year of Birth 1896
Year of Death 1918
Regiment Border Regiment
Place of Wartime Residence Whitehaven, Cumbria

Thomas's Story

Tommy Savage signed up to the 2nd Battalion The Border Regiment when war broke out in 1914, following the lead set by his half brother Private Michael McCrink (Service No 4562) and several of his pals from Whitehaven and the surrounding area. He was still only 17 years old at the time, and under the age of enlistment. They then went through to the Regimental Depot at Carlisle with their pals.

"Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him, O Lord".

Michael and Tommy's mother, Sarah Jane, did not want them to go away with the Army, especially with Tommy being so young. She travelled to Carlisle to buy them out, but Michael and Tommy said they had come with their pals and they wanted to stay. After some weeks training, Tommy and Michael went over to France on 25 November 1914, as part of the draft to the 2nd Battalion Border Regiment and were in the trenches on Christmas Day 1914 when the famous 'Christmas Truce' with the Germans took place.

Among the others Tommy served with in the 2nd Battalion of the Border Regiment were Jimmy Smith V.C. from Workington and Abe Acton V.C. from Whitehaven, who were awarded their Victoria Crosses for gallantry when saving comrades on 21 December 1914. One of the others who Tommy served with was James Briggs, who was one of the soldiers 'shot at dawn' by his own side before the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, in March 1915.

Regimental records show that Tommy suffered from frostbite early in 1915 when he was brought back to a hospital in 'Blighty' for the first time before being sent back out to the Western Front again. Tommy sustained more serious wounds to the leg in 1916 and was brought back to a hospital in Britain again, believed to be in the Gloucestershire area. Tommy died of wounds on 1 December 1918 and is buried in Whitehaven Cemetery.

Tommy Savage was the brother of my maternal grandmother. His medals, several photographs and further information about him and his pals were donated to the Border Regiment and KORBR Museum at Carlisle Castle. For many years, until her death in 1953, Sarah Jane had kept Tommy's medals and photographs on display in the living room of her house so that he would always be remembered. While his loss was a terrible tragedy the family were always proud of him, and so it is right Tommy and the sacrifice he and his family made in the Great War should always be remembered.

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