1939-45 Star : Private W Savage, 36 Australian Infantry Battalion

Place Oceania: New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Papua, Owen Stanley Range, Buna Area, Sanananda
Accession Number REL/10620.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Bronze
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1946
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

1939-45 Star. Impressed reverse with recipient's details.

History / Summary

Born in June 1910, William Savage was working as a labourer when joined the army at Ipswich, Queensland for overseas service. He had previously served in the militia, in the 61st (Cameron Highlanders of Queensland) Battalion.

Private Savage was assigned the service number Q128396. After training at Goondiwindi, Hughenden and Sellheim he sailed from Townsville aboard the Taroona, for service in New Guinea, as a reinforcement to the 36th Battalion. He arrived in Port Moresby on 14 September 1942 and joined his battalion five days later. The battalion patrolled the Kokoda Track between Koitaki and Uberi until 9 October then returned to Port Moresby.

After Buna and Gona had been taken, the Australians attacked Sanananda with little success. The 30th Brigade, which included the 36th Battalion, was sent to join the assault in December. Several failed attacks were made but the fighting continued for days. On 24 December two companies from the battalion retired, leaving one in the frontline. Two days later, on 26 December, the entire battalion attacked Sanananda once more but were still unable to capture the Japanese positions. William Savage was killed during the fighting on 29 December. By the end of December his battalion had lost half its strength in two weeks. Sanananda was not taken until 21 January 1943.

Savage was initially buried where he fell, 25 yards east of the Sanananda-Gona track (map reference 186254). His body was exhumed the following year and reinterred in the Soputa War Cemetery on 29 April 1943, and was later exhumed once more and buried in the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery.