George William Savory

Born Bermuda West Indies 1905 to 1988.

If ever you needed to know anything relating to Whitwood or Methley Junction Collieries, if you needed to know where the Undermanager was, or what were the pit holiday weeks, or when they planned to capple the cage, indeed any information. Then call Geo Savory, major domo in the Whitwood pit bottom office. This was the same man to be seen ramrod straight, pacing and at the same time gliding round the village with his stick and shoes polished like mahogany.

Perhaps who better to describe the man than his CO, Major Godfrey Harland who wrote the following obituary in the ‘Infantry Magazine:

‘George Savory was one of that staunch band of pre-war territorials who gave up their holidays and week-ends between the wars, joining the TA in 1923. He was a miner. His Yorkshire humour in adversity, his loyalty to comrades and stoical courage and determination were qualities typical of those men who came out of their Yorkshire pits to defend their country in peril.

By 1939 George’s TA experience as NCO and Colour Sergeant proved invaluable to 1/4 KOYLI in the early days of the war. He served with the Battalion in Norway and Iceland and excelled as CQMS of HQ Coy when the Battalion landed in Normandy.

It was characteristic that he contrived to conceal a painful condition which afflicted him before D-Day because he knew that otherwise he would miss being with the Battalion for the invasion.

During fighting in the Bocage, I by chance detected the problems he was experiencing and ordered him to report sick, he was evacuated to UK for an operation and after a recovery period he returned to the Battalion and the advanced theatre of operations at Njimegen. It was as CQMS of ‘B’ Coy on ‘The Island’ that George was severely wounded. After many months in recuperation he was finally invalided out of the army and he returned to work at the colliery’.

Following the death of his wife he chose not to be a burden on his family, he retained his self-disciplined soldierly ability to look after himself under the affectionate eye of his family and neighbours.

Robin was pleased to relate the story of when his Father was based in Iceland 1940-1942 a convoy bound for Murmansk docked for replenishments. The Captain and crew of HMS Edinburgh had made a plaque for presentation to the base and the man to hand over to CQMS Savory was none other than Haydn Duggan of Methley.

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