University of Oxford
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James Savage's military history

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:59 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Born 1919 in Belfast. Father Thomas Savage 1st batt. Irish Rifles then RUC (can't tell which uniform he's in on the photo of all three of them in uniform) Mother Martha in Queen Alexandra's Imperial Nursing Service. Educated at Belfast Boys Model School from 1925 to1934. Joined the RAF in 1938, did basic training at RAF Driffield then went to RAF Henlow on 6/1/1939 to train as airframe fitter.
3/3/39 - 2 Wing RAF Locking for 7 months further training as airframe fitter.
3/9/39 - War declared
7/10/39 - At Pembroke Dock with 210 Squadron - Sunderland Flying Boats
14/6/40 - 2 Wing RAF Cosford
27/9/40 - RAF Wattisham with 110 Squadron.
1/11/40 - Wattisham airfield bombed and James loses close friends.
8/7/41 - 504 Serving Echilon Squadron and working in various locations - Ballyhalbert and St Angelo NI, Scotland, and England.
James volunteers and is accepted to become a Servicing Commando.
10/11/43 - at Clyne doing basic commando training and Tenby loading/unloading heavy vehicles from ships.
June 6th 1944 - D Day.
Joins 3206 Servicing Commando Squadron and landed on Juno Beach, Normandy on D Day + 10. (June 16th 1944)
(Photo in archive says "France B1". B1 was airstrip completed on June 7th and situated 5.7 miles from Juno beach.
Information (web) says 3206 at B5 at Le Fresne, Camilly, Normandy.
3206 move through France, Belgium and Germany and it is at RAF Buckeburg on 13/7/45 James meets his future wife Betty Sherwood a WAAF who had served with Strategic Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. They spent much of their free time at the Malcolm Club in the town hall dancing.
After they demobbed James spent a few years in civilian posts but rejoined the RAF on 7/2/1951, stationed at RAF Benson, then Germany, then RAF Finningley, RAF Kirkham, RAF Gaydon, RAF Marham. He had a long service career during which time he achieved his City and Guilds Technical Teachers Certificate. He completed the V Bomber crew chief course and on 8/5/61 became a Technical Trainer at RAF Gaydon and later at RAF Marham teaching airframe fitters who would be servicing and repairing the Victor and Valiant Bombers Mk 1 and Mark 2. James retired in October 1966 to Oxfordshire, moving to Suffolk early 1980s, where he died peacefully aged 83.


Item list and details

Dog tags. Service medals and ribbons. Long Service medal. James with parents. James Buckeberg, Germany 1945. 3206 Servicing Commandos. James, October 1966

Person the story/items relate to

James H. Savage

Person who shared the story/items

Christine Edbury and Gillian Hoy

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

He was our father

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID