Oxfordshire-born Rifleman George Savage was killed in action on 28th July 1916 serving with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Born in Hook Norton in 1895, George was the third of six children born to parents John Embra Savage and his wife, Jane (née Radbourn). The couple’s sixth child, Hilda Annie, was born towards the end of 1904, the same year that her mother died so it seems likely that Jane died in childbirth. Hilda died early in 1905.
George’s father died in 1910 and, by 1911, 16-year-old farm labourer George had moved to Warwickshire and was living in Braggs Farm Lane, Dickens Heath, with his aunt and uncle, Jane Mary and Tom Henry Savage.
Fragments of George’s service record have survived. He enlisted in the Army on 26th October 1915 and was in the UK until embarking for France on 17th March 1916 where he served until his death just over four months later. In May 1916 he was placed on a charge for using insubordinate language to his superior officer. One of the fragments of paper in the service file seem to relate to a different soldier, as they suggest a birth in 1884 (11 years earlier than “our” George) as well as a marriage in 1905 (when George would only have been ten years old) and four children, the eldest born in 1908 (when George would have been 13).
Other fragments in the service record show that George’s eldest brother, John Henry, wrote to the War Office asking for details of the circumstances of George’s death. John also provided details of his siblings on the next-of-kin form. He listed:
- John Henry Savage, aged 30, The Green, Meriden
- Ted [Edwin] Savage, aged 28, 9 Kingsland Road, Canton, Cardiff
- Thomas Savage, aged 23, Lower Eastern Green, Coventry
- Nellie [Selina Ellen] Savage, aged 21, 54 Middleton Rd, Banbury
Rifleman George Savage was killed on an otherwise quiet day, when his battalion relieved the 15th Welsh Regiment in the front line trenches. He is buried at Hebuterne Communal Cemetery, and is also commemorated locally on the war memorial at St Patrick’s Church, Salter Street. His name is also recorded on the Hook Norton war memorial.
If you have any further information about the family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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