A Desert Veteran with a Pre-War Stint in Palestine and a Grave in Holland

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis WW2 and prior group of 6 belonged to 6342630 Private L.Sage Royal West Kent Regiment. It consists of the 1939-1945 Star, the Africa Star, the France & Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the 1939-1945 Victory Medal and the GSM (GVI) with the 1936-1939 Palestine Bar. According to the googles the RWK 2nd Battalion was deployed to Palestine in 1938 to 1939 to counter Arab unrest.

Off to the British Archives and I find an L.Sage from 2nd Battalion RWK who has an entitlement to that Palestine Bar. That’s my man! 2nd Battalion spent a fair bit of time acting as part of the Malta Garrison. Then one by one each company of 2nd Battalion (B Company) was involved in the fracas of the Dodecanese Campaign in 1943 and all were captured or killed on the island of Leros. Since Private Sage has the F&G Star he must have escaped as he is not on the POW lists. Then more magical googling and finally I find him, Leslie Cyril Sage. Transferred to the Dorsetshire Regiment, 1st Battalion, at this time based in Malta.

At this point 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment was returned to England and became part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. Leslie would have landed on D-Day on Sword Beach and been involved in the capture of Le Hamel and Arromanches. The battalion was in constant action until the 17th of July when it was pulled out to rest. It was returned to the line for the 30th July battle for Villers-Bocage. During the rest of August Leslie would have been part of the breakout and the drive through Belgium and into Holland.

On the 17th September 1944 the 1st Battalion, still under command of the Guards Armoured Brigade, started the attack towards Eindhoven, which was the attack designed to relieve the British and Polish paratroops at Arnhem, who had dropped as part of operation “Market Garden”. The 1st Battalion, as part of 231 Infantry Brigade, was charged with defending the “Corridor” formed by the armoured advance. In October the 1st Battalion moved up to Nijmegen and moved onto “The Island”, the bridgehead over the river Waal but behind the river Lek.

On the day of Leslie’s death, 4th October 1944, the 1st Battalion attacked north of Bemmel, and expanded the bridgehead up to the Wettering Canal. This was the last battle of this battalion as it was withdrawn from the line and returned to the UK as a training cadre.

Poor unlucky bastard.


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