Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Sunday, 17 January 2016



Private 2651

1/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Died 17th January 1916

As with any new year HOPE would be foremost in everyone's mind when the year of 1916 arrived.  But for those in New Whittington the New Year celebrations were short lived.  On the 17th day of January the first soldier died, his death would shatter any hope that the villagers might have of the new year bringing peace once more. The year of 1916 would bring with it the deaths of 27 of the young soldiers serving King & Country with a connection to the small Derbyshire village of New Whittington.

The name "W" Savage is inscribed on the St Barnabas Memorial however the only Savage that I can find connected to the village is Abraham Londgen Savage.  He was the son of a coal miner of the same name and was born around 1893 at New Whittington.  He was the second son born to Abraham snr and Emma Savage (nee Cooper).  Abraham and Emma had married in 1888 at Rotherham, South Yorkshire.  Albert was born a few years later in 1890 at Swallownest, Yorkshire.  By the 1891 census the family are living on Mountcastle Street, Newbold. 

In 1893 Abraham was born in New Whittington, followed soon after by his sister Sophia Sanderson Savage on 6th November 1894.  Last but not least came another girl named Elsie around the end of 1896/ beginning of 1897.

The 1901 census shows the whole Savage family living together at Station Road, Whittington Moor.  Abraham snr is aged 32 years old and still employed as coal miner hewer. 

1911 the eve of war....

The year of 1911 was to bring with it tragic changes for the Savage family.  On the 1911 census the family have moved home again to 3 Chapel Street on Whittington Moor, Chesterfield.  Abraham jnr is now working; aged 17 years old he is employed as a labourer at the colliery.  Sophia is a shop assistant in a drapers store and Elsie aged 14 years helps at home. 

Sadly that same year Emma died aged just 41 years old.  

Albert was not living with the family; he may have married a Mary Potter in 1911.

Abraham snr remarried in 1913, the lady was named Ann Barker Babbs.  Ann was a neighbour of the Savage family, she lived at number 2 Chapel Street on Whittington Moor.  Ann worked as a dressmaker and was single, she shared her home with her niece Florrie Babbs who was an assistant teacher at the elementary school.

Abraham's war....

Abraham enlisted at Chesterfield on 12th October 1914, he was 21 years old at the time and worked as a pottery labourer.  He joined the 6th Reserve Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters, the local regiment. 

Service record description of A L Savage

The service record for Abraham has survived but some of the documentation is fairly unclear; Abraham was 140 lbs, had a dark complexion and brown eyes with dark brown hair.  His height is over 5ft but the "inches" is illegible.

Service dates for A L Savage

Abraham remained in England to carry out his basic training until the end of February 1915 when he was to join the B.E.F at France.  This would most likely have been carried out at Harpenden, Hertfordshire.  There was some delay with the new recruits being issued with uniform but by the end of October they had been delivered. 


The men were now trained and stationed at Hallingbury Park.  On 19th February 1915 the "eve of their departure to the continent"  they received a very special guest "His Majesty the King" arrived to inspect the Division and offer encouragement for the men.  H.M also officially changed the name of the regiment from the "Notts & Derbys Infantry Brigade" to the "6th Sherwood Foresters Brigade". 

An early start on 25th February saw two trains leave Braintree to embark on the "Maidan"  at Southampton.  They arrived in Le Harve and were fitted out with new coats and supplies before they marched to their billets at Cassel on 28th February.

The battalion spent the coming months moving from trench to billets around France and Belgium.  They were commended for their kindness in early May when a worn out Canadian Infantry Brigade happened to march past them.  The 6th Sherwood Forester band struck up their instruments and marched alongside them, playing cheering music along the way. Major Victor Odlum wrote in a memorandum "The music, at such a time and in such a place was quite a novelty; but it was just the thing wanted.  Our men were nearly all in.  The music backed them up at once."  "May I say, that I consider this the most striking instance of thoughtful kindness with which we have met since we set out on the campaign".

Daily Telegraph - May 1915

The act of kindness also made the national newspapers when Captain George Gibson of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade wrote to the Daily Telegraph to thank the 6th Sherwoods.  He wrote how his battalion were marching away from Ypres, "having been up the Hill for six days and had left more behind us than we cared to contemplate".  He wrote how the music played for about 20 minutes; "behind us were the guns rumbling in the distance, above us the stars, below us cobble stones, but all around us was the music".

In July the battalion were stationed at Sanctuary Wood near Ypres.  On 19th July the war diary records "Hooge mine exploded, heavy bombardment".  Later that month on 30th July the Germans first used their "flame thrower" at Hooge. 

September and October of 1915 saw the battalion take part in the Battle of Loos; Abraham would have been present at some of the most fierce and momentous events of World War 1. 

On 1st January 1916 Abraham and his comrades were at Isbergues near Marseilles in France.  The war diary notes "observed as a holiday throughout the brigade".  On 14th January they were camped at Boreli Camp and the 97% of the battalion received their vaccinations. 

Abraham Longden Savage died in the British section of the Lahore Indian Stationary Hospital in Marseilles, France.  He was admitted a few days earlier on 15th January 1916.  Abraham was suffering from an infection of his skin called erysipelas.  This disease could cause high fever, shaking, headache, vomiting and fatigue in its onset.  The areas of skin affected would become red and swollen and extremely painful.  The disease was most likely caused by Abraham having an open wound somewhere (even a small scratch) which would allow entry of the bacteria Streptococcus A into the body.  This would then cause infection into that wound.  Any area of the body can be infected, the service record for Abraham does not state any detail other than "Died from Erysipelas".  It is most likely that the infection caused Abraham to become toxic, the infection may have spread into his blood system or lymphatic system which would have proved fatal in warfare during WW1, in a time before antibiotics.

Abraham is buried at the Mazargues War Memorial in Marseilles, ref IV.A.46.

photo via www.geneanet.org
credit to jfsoulas

Mazargues Cemetery has graves of the casualties of - 465 United Kingdom, 14 Australian, 3 New Zealand, 3 South African and 1002 Indian soldiers.

Abraham was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.
Life went on....
Service records Private 2651, Abraham Longden Savage

The paperwork filled out by Abraham snr in 1919 states that he and his wife Ann lived at 34 Station Road, Whittington Moor in Chesterfield. 
Derbyshire Times - 4th December 1920 p5

Ann died at the end of November 1920.  Her obituary told that she was a prominent member of the Primitive Methodist Circuit on Whittington Moor and had been the Sunday School teacher and a member of the choir.

Abraham snr lived on for many years until his death on 2nd June 1950.  His probate record states that he lived at Windyridge, 11A Newbridge Lane, Old Whittington.  His estate was left to a Florence Babbs (the niece of his late wife Ann) and amounted to the sum of £1766 6s 11d.

Albert lived at 7 Prospect Street, Stonegravels and was aged 30 years old.  Albert died in 1958 aged 69 years old.

Sophia was now married to Thomas Orwin.  She had married in 1916.  Sophia and Thomas lived in Whittington at Duke Street.  She went on to have four sons and three daughters (sadly losing one son under 1 year old in 1917, he was named Samuel).  Sophia lived in the Newbold area much of her life; on Tapton View Road until her husband died in 1941.  Then latterly on Newbold Road.  Sophia died in 1975; her obituary in the Derbyshire Times records that she left behind - 2 sons, 3 daughters, 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.  She lived to the age of 81 years old.

Elsie lived at 10 Nelson Street, Newbold.  She had also married in 1916, her husband was Christopher Barfoot.  Elsie and Christopher had two sons; Christopher jnr in 1918 and Harry in 1922.  Elsie died in 1969 aged 72 years old.

Sadly for Elsie and the family both sons died at very young ages;

Harry Barfoot - Derbyshire Times
17th May 1935 p15
Christopher Barfoot - Derbyshire Times
7th May 1937 p14

Harry was on 13 years old when he died in May 1935 and only two years later in May of 1937 Christopher also passed away, aged just 19 years old.  Both were said to have suffered from a long period of illness. 


If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Abraham Longden Savage or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.

I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.

Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.

Ref and further reading  -
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
War diary 1/6th Sherwood Foresters ref - piece 2694/1:1/6th
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times


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