September 28th, 2016

Centenary of the death of two Redditch soldiers

Centenary of the death of two Redditch soldiers Centenary of the death of two Redditch soldiers
The Worcestershires on the march. Picture courtesy of Trustees of the Mercian Regiment Museum (Worcestershire).
Updated: 4:51 pm, Aug 04, 2016

THIS week marks the centenary of the death of two more soldiers from Redditch in the First World War.

John Leigh Percy Sage was born in 1895, the only son of John Rogers Sage and Bertha Sage, of Chiltern House, 2/4, Bates Hill, Redditch.

He had two sisters, Ivy, born in 1894 and Dorothy in 1896.

A private in the 21st Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Scottish), the regiment first saw action on the first day of the Somme, July 1.

Charged with the mission of attacking the fortified village of La Boisselle, the unit managed to reach the German lines 500 yards away under heavy machinegun fire.

However it was at an extraordinary cost, suffering the worst losses of any brigade on that fateful day, the 4th Tyneside Scottish receiving 629 casualties, the 3rd 537 and the 1st 584.

The commander of the 2nd battalion was killed before the attack even began but they still pressed home their assault.

Despite their bravery by the end of the day the brigade had been thrown back to its starting point.

Little is known of what happened to Pte Sage, only that he died on August 4, 1916, aged 21 and is commemorated on Thiepval Monument in France to British soldiers with no known grave. He is also remembered on the war memorial at St Stephen’s Church.

With thanks to