Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Monday, October 15, 2007

Great-grandfather Walter


Visiting my sister Sally in Belgium the other day I took the opportunity to visit my greatgrandfather's grave in Ribemont Cemetery (Ribemont-Sur-Ancre, that is, not Ribemont; trap for young players which delayed us rather).

A long way from home. Looking into "Curlwaa: a history, by C James and P Taylor -

Walter Sage was born at Angaston in 1861. He married Georgina Forbes in 1883. She was killed in a buggy accident in 1891, leaving five children.
When was was declared in 1914 Walter tried to enlist, but was rejected because of his age(53). He tried again in 1917, lying a little about his age (he said he was 52). He was in the 6th Machinegun Company; joined the battalion in the field 1/1/1918, killed in action on the Somme front in May 1918, at the age of 57. "Buried isolated grave Preux-Sailly rd just S of Preux and 3 3/4 miles S/W of Albert"... You had to be fairly precise about graves so they could be dug up later and reburied in the war cemeteries, as he was. Still only a small cemetery - there doesn't seem to have been a named battle on that day, it was probably just part of the general friction in the trenches.

He was known, apparently, as "The Father of Curlwaa". Also of grandmother.

Second oldest man in the AIF, I believe. Don't know who the oldest was.

I should have taken a libation for his grave - a ricecake, or some oil, or a chocolate bar, or possibly a live chicken to sacrifice - but I didn't think of it till too late.

Alan (in beret) never to be sufficiently thanked for driving us out there from Brussels.

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1 comment:

Jill said...

I was very excited to find this as Walter Sage was my great-grandfather too! My grandfather was his son Arthur. Which of the sisters was your grandmother - Eve, Helen or Jean?
I have fairly recently become bitten by the family history bug so you can probably imagine my delight at seeing your photos.
Would love to make contact but not sure how to do this.

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