Ray Savage was born in Darlington on the 10th May 1923 into a large family of six boys two of whom, twins aged six, died. By the time he was nine both of his parents had died and Ray and his three brothers were taken in by his grandmother along with her family. Life apparently was extremely hard.
In 1937 at the age of sixteen Ray joined the Royal Navy as a cadet. On the outbreak of war, he went to sea as an Able Seaman.
He served aboard seven ships, the carrier HMS Eagle was torpedoed and sunk and others were damaged in actions during which he suffered various wounds and injuries. He served in various war theatres and was awarded the following;
Atlantic Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, Victory Medal and Defence Medal.
He was demobilised from the Navy on the 9th of December 1946. Ray had married Rosina Brown in March 1946 and they had two sons, David and Graham and a daughter Lesley. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last and they were divorced in February 1953. He worked as a Labourer for a year and then decided to join the Army.
Ray enlisted on the 10th December 1947, did his basic training with 50PTC at Maidstone, Kent, followed by RAC training with 57 Training Regiment at Catterick and was then posted to the 8th RTR.
In August 1948 he transferred to The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. At this time The 4th Hussars were in the process of being brought up to strength as an all-regular regiment in preparation for a three-year tour to the Far East (Malaya).
The 4th Hussars sailed for Malaya aboard HMT ‘Dilwara’ on the 20th of August 1948. Unfortunately, Ray’s medical injuries whilst in the Navy caught up with him and he was admitted to the British Military Hospital in Singapore and casevac to the UK in September 1949 as unfit for service in the Far East.
After a recovery period in Woolwich Hospital, he was posted to the RAC Gunnery School at Lulworth. The Regiment returned to the UK in December 1951 and he rejoined them at Tidworth. He was appointed L/Cpl in December 1952. Ray married his second wife Beryl on the 4th of April 1953 but unfortunately, the marriage did not last and eventually ended in divorce.
Ray was promoted to Cpl in June 1953 and moved with the Regiment to Hohne on their return to Germany in September 1953. He attended a wireless instructors course at Bovington in February/April 1956 which he passed and was promoted to A/Sgt.
Unfortunately, his past wartime medical problems caught up with him yet again and he was discharged on the 22nd November 1958 as unfit for any form of military service.
Ray worked for a while in Office Management but again ill health forced his retirement from work. He met his present wife, Hannelore thirty-one years ago. She told me that twenty-one years ago he was on crutches and in a wheelchair for the last fifteen years.
He had a catalogue of health problems through which she nursed him as he was physically unable to do anything. His interests were travel which obviously was curtailed, and watching almost any sport on television. Hannelore said that to the end he had a very sharp brain and was brave and stoic, a true soldier to the bitter end.
Ray died on the 29th December 2010 aged eighty-seven.