Arthur Savage : First World War

Arthur Savage : First World War

Arthur Savage was born in 1899. Unemployed, he joined the British Army in 1916.

Soon after arriving on the Western Front Savage was ordered to go on a firing squad where he had to execute one of his own men.

After the Armistice he had difficulty finding work but eventually became a coffin-maker.

At the age of ninety-two, Savage was interviewed about his experiences during the First World War.

My memories are of sheer terror and the horror of seeing men sobbing because they had trench foot that had turned gangrenous. They knew they were going to lose a leg. Memories of lice in your clothing driving you crazy. Filth and lack of privacy. Of huge rats that showed no fear of you as they stole your food rations. And cold deep wet mud everywhere. And of course, corpses. I'd never seen a dead body before I went to war. But in the trenches the dead are lying all around you. You could be talking to the fellow next to you when suddenly he'd be hit by a sniper and fall dead beside you. And there he's stay for days.

I was ordered to go on a firing squad in 1917. The man was lead out by a military policeman and a priest. Then he was tied to this post. He only looked about twenty and wasn't very tall. An officer went up to put a blindfold over his eyes. I can hear his voice now, as clear as me and you talking in this room. He said "I need no blindfold over my eyes. Curse you and your blindfold and may the judges who will surely sentence you one day show you more mercy than you've shown me."

Then we had to take aim. My hands were shaking so much. So I aimed about a foot to his left. Then we fired. There were nine of us and only one shot caught him in the side. He slumped forward wounded. So I was not the only one firing wide deliberately. The captain walked up to him and put a bullet into his head. Some of the men were sick, others were crying.

Most of the poor sods were mainly convicted on the evidence of doctors. They would not accept that men could reach a point of utter exhaustion when as a result of trench warfare their nerves and brains would snap. These so-called 'doctors' would not have it that there was such an illness as shell-shock. They insisted that men were cowards and deserters.

A man I recall with great affection was Woodbine Willie. His proper name was Reverend Studdert Kennedy, an army chaplin he was and he'd come down into the trenches and say prayers with the men, have a cuppa out of a dirty tin mug and tell a joke as good as any of us. He was a chain smoker and always carried a packet of Woodbine cigarettes that he would give out in handfuls to us lads. That's how he got his nickname. At Mesines Ridge he ran out into no man's land under murderous machine-gun fire to tend the wounded and dying. Every man was carrying a gun except him. He carried a wooden cross. He gave comfort to dying Germans as well. He was awarded the Military Cross and he deserved it.

He came down the trench one day to cheer us up. Had his bible with him as usual. Well, I'd been there for weeks, unable to write home, of course, we were going over the top later that day. I asked him if he would write to my sweetheart at home, tell her I was still alive and, so far, in one piece. He said he would, so I gave him the address. Well, years later, after the war, she showed me the letter he'd sent, very nice it was. A lovely letter. My wife kept it until she died.

He worked in the slums of London after the war among the homeless and the unemployed. The name Woodbine Willie was known to everyone in the land in those days. Died very young, he did, and at his funeral people placed packets of Woodbine cigarettes on his coffin and his grave as a mark of respect and love.

Of course, what really died in that war was youth, a generation of young men. In my street where I grew up one family lost six sons, all killed in France. The population was out of balance. All through the twenties and thirties a massive surplus of women because so many men had been killed. There were simply thousands of lonely women who grew old alone and never married because they lost their men in the war and the children grew up fatherless. The effects were far reaching. So many people were broken and lost for the rest of their lives. Mind you, all the war leaders lived to a ripe old age.

Philip Gibbs went through the entire war as a war correspondent. Wonderful man. He told the truth about the real horror of it all. The dreadful slaughter, the appalling disregard and waste of human life by those in command. But before his reports reached the newspapers back home they were drastically censored. So the folks back home knew next to nothing about the hell that the men were going through.

He was alongside the man in the trenches and saw it all at first hand, and he met and got to know all the commanders. He wrote all about them as well. But as you can imagine, no British publisher would dare touch it. It was unofficially banned. So you know what the man did? He went to America and got it published over there. A few copies found there way back here. I had a copy years ago, must have read it ten times.

Arthur Savage : First World War - History

Stevens and Savage
U.S. Military Rifles and Shotguns
Copyright 2003, John Spangler. All rights reserved

. Stevens and Savage are well known for their sporting arms, but their military arms are often overlooked. Stevens started operations in 1864, and Savage began in 1894. Savage purchased Stevens in 1920, and continued to use many of the their designs and also the Stevens name.

Joshua Stevens

began his firearms experience as a tool maker for C. B. Allen in 1838 where he helped make the Elgin "cutlass pistol" and Cochran turret rifles. By 1847 he was working for Eli Whitney, where Samuel Colt's first "Whitney- Walker" pistols were produced. Stevens then worked at Samuel Colt's Hartford factory, but left to develop other revolver designs. He then helped found the Massachusetts Arms Company (along with Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson, the later starters of Smith & Wesson, brother Edwin Wesson, and J.T. Ames of the Ames sword making family. In 1864, Joshua Stevens moved to Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts and set up his own company and ran it until his death in 1907. In 1920 the Stevens company was purchased by Savage.

was born in Jamaica, lived and married in Australia. He worked as a miner, became an inventor (of a torpedo and what became the recoilless rifle, among other things) and eventually moved to Utica, NY as a railroad and manufacturing superintendent. In 1893 he designed a lever action repeating rifle, which evolved into the Savage 99 still in production today. In 1894 he formed Savage Arms Company, in Utica, New York to manufacture his rifle design, later adding other arms to their line. After buying Stevens in 1920 Savage made guns at both the Utica and Chicopee Falls, locations. In 1946 they merged all operations at Chicopee Falls, and in 1959 moved to Westfield, Massachusetts.

Stevens/New England Westinghouse
Model 1891 Russian Mosin Nagant

Made in the Stevens factory for Russia,
but purchased by the U.S. Army
750,000 produced 1917-1918

During World War I, the Stevens facilities were turned over to "New England Westinghouse" who produced about 750,000 Russian Mosin Nagant rifles under contract for the Czarist government. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the U.S. government purchased about 280,000 undelivered rifles from New England Westinghouse and Remington. Many of these were issued to training units but a few went to U.S. troops later sent to fight in Russia on the side of the "White Russians" against the Communist "Red Russians". The U.S. issued rifles are marked with U.S. style eagle and ordnance bomb inspector markings.

Stevens Model 416-2 .22 caliber

Marksmanship Training Rifle
10,338 procured 1941-43

Basic rifle marksmanship training was often conducted with .22 caliber rifles. During WWII various models were purchased from Winchester, Remington, and Mossberg in addition to those from Savage.

The Stevens Model 416-2 was a medium weight target quality rifle introduced in 1938. A total of 10,338 were purchased at a cost of $17.98 each between 1941 and 1943.

Savage Lee Enfield No. 4 Mark I

Made for U.S. Army, but never issued to U.S. forces
1,030,228 produced 1941-44

The British government desperately needed rifles in 1940, having lost nearly 750,000 small arms during their evacuation from Dunkirk. Savage agreed to manufacture the new Lee Enfield No. 4 Mark I rifles. Between July 1941 and June 1944 they delivered over one million of these rifles (including the slightly modified No. 4 Mark I*)

Although never intended for issue to U.S. military forces, these rifles were made under U.S. contracts, and marked "U.S. PROPERTY" and the Ordnance Bomb. This allowed their manufacture and shipment as "Lend Lease" weapons. The "Lend Lease" allowed shipment of weapons to England while they were in dire financial straits, and unable to make the "cash and carry" purchases permitted under neutrality laws in place prior to U.S. entry into the War in December 1941. The parts made by Savage are marked with a "S" with squared corners, and the serial number include the letter "C" indicating manufacture at Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts.

Stevens 520-30 12 Gage Shotgun

35,306 confirmed purchases 1942-45

This is the "Trench gun" intended for combat or guarding prisoners of war. The 520-30 was also procured as "riot guns" having short barrels but no bayonet lug, and as long barreled training guns.

Stevens 620A 12 Gage Shotgun

12,174 confirmed purchases 1942-45

This is a "Riot gun" used for guard duty, or for combat. This is a very early example with United States Property spelled out, an ornate ordnance bomb, inspector initials GHS and proof mark "P". The 620A was also produced in "Trench gun" configuration with the bayonet lug and heat shield, and as a long barreled gun for training use. The Model 620A was retained for use after World War II (along with the Winchester Models 97 and 12).

Savage 720 12 Gage Shotgun

14,527 confirmed purchases 1942-45

This is a "training gun" used to teach aerial gunners how to shoot at moving targets, similar to shooting trap or skeet. This semi-automatic model was based on Browning's patents, and was very similar to the Remington Model 11, and those made in Belgium by FN. These semi-automatic shotguns would not function properly with a bayonet lug and bayonet adding extra weight to the barrel, so these were only made n short barrel "riot gun" and long barrel "training gun" configurations.

Savage Model 24 Rifle-Shotgun Survival Gun
.22 long rifle and .410 shotgun

(Small quantity procured circa 1950)

This was a standard commercial design purchased by the Air Force circa 1949 for use as survival weapons by U.S. Air Force crews operating in remote areas. This example is marked USAF on the bottom of the frame. Later, specially designed survival guns were adopted (the M4 bolt action rifle in .22 Hornet caliber, and the M6 over-under .22 Hornet rifle /.410 gage shotgun ).

Savage's Other WW2 Arms Production

Besides the Rifles and shotguns shown here, Savage produced

1,501,000 Thompson Submachine Guns (1940-44
295,361 .50 caliber Browning Machine Guns (1941-45)
14,800 .30 caliber Browning Machine Guns (1940-41)
Also: Bomb Fuzes, Rocket Nozzle assemblies,

Tampa’s A.R. Savage shipping celebrates 75 years and four generations of family

TAMPA — A.R. Savage & Son celebrated their 75th birthday in 2020 by making their Tampa shipping agency’s name literal again.

Not since Arthur Russell Savage was president of the company and employed his son William Savage has there been an A.R. Savage and a son working together in the company.

Arthur Russel Savage retired in 1968.

William Savage died in 1982 and his wife Shirley McKay Savage became company president.

“When I went to work for her in 1984, she joked she wanted to rename it Savage and Son and Daughter-In-Law and Grandson,” her son Arthur Renfro Savage, 59, said.

He took over as company president in 1998.

In December, he announced that his 27-year-old son Bill Savage had been hired as assistant vice president at A.R. Savage & Son, which the family says is the largest ship agency, ocean freight forwarding and maritime advisory services company on Florida’s west coast.

“I guess you can say we are officially A.R. Savage & Son again,” Arthur Savage said. “It marks four generations of our family in the company.”

But their maritime roots date to Tampa’s earliest years.

Tampa was settled in 1823 and incorporated as a village in 1849.

Arthur Savage’s maternal great-great-grandfather is Capt. James McKay Sr., who relocated to Tampa from Alabama in the mid-1840s, then helped grow the village into a city.

The Scottish-born entrepreneur founded the cattle trade between Tampa and Cuba in the 1850s and “developed regular commercial shipping in and out of Tampa Bay,” Arthur Savage said.

McKay was elected Tampa’s sixth mayor and later served as a blockade runner during the Civil War to bring supplies to the civilians and soldiers.

Arthur Russell Savage was sent to Tampa in 1929 by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad to run Port Tampa.

“At the onset of WWII, Mr. Savage joined the US Army Transportation Corps, where he eventually became a Lieutenant Colonel and the Port Commander of Antwerp,” the company’s website reads. “Upon returning from the war, Mr. Savage elected to leave the railroad and start his own firm, the A. R. Savage Company.”

The “son” was added to to the company name when William Savage was hired.

As agents, the A.R. Savage & Son represents ships by “managing their logistics and compliance arrangements to get them into the port, loaded, unloaded or discharged,” Arthur Savage said.

His earliest memory with the company dates to childhood.

“We had Germans, Japanese, Greeks, people from all over the world, who wanted to see their ships loaded,” he said. “We took them out on a sport fishing boat. And as young as I can remember, my dad had me there serving food and explaining what each terminal was for.”

His son has a similar memory.

“We had a small fishing boat we used when I was 6 or 7,” Bill Savage said. “We’d use it for harbor tours.”

The father and son both wanted to gain experience outside the family business before joining.

Arthur Savage was 19 when his father William died. He considered joining his mother in company management, but instead spent the next two years at sea, first on boats servicing Louisiana’s oil rigs and then on a Del Monte refrigerated ship delivering cargo to Central America.

Bill Savage — a 1st lieutenant in the Army National Guard — has spent the last two years as an assistant program manager for Tampa’s Skybridge Tactical, coordinating logistics for Special Operations Command to move personnel and equipment in and out of Kuwait, Dubai and Afghanistan.

Arthur W. Savage

Arthur W. Savage (probably circa 1890)

The Savage Arms Company is known today for its bolt-action rifles (which offer a particularly good value for the money I am very fond of my own Model 10), but the company got its start and because a major firm with the success of two other guns. These were the Model 99 lever action rifle and the Model 1907 (and subsequent variations) automatic pistol. Interestingly, only one of those guns was designed by the company’s founder – he had sold his interest in the company by the time the pistol was being produced. Arthur W. Savage was not one to linger in a place or with a task – he was always being drawn to new challenges and opportunities.

Savage’s much-traveled life began in Kingston (Jamaica), where he was born on May 13th, 1857 to John and Jane Savage. His father was a devoutly religious schoolteacher there in Jamaica, although Arthur would spend nearly 15 years during his childhood without seeing him. In 1865 Jane Savage took Arthur and his siblings to visit England, and growing unrest in the then-British-colony on Jamaica prevented them from returning. His mother eventually relocated to Baltimore, but Arthur stayed in England for schooling and missionary training – not something he found particularly enjoyable. Judging from what he would go on to do, it is easy to guess that young Arthur would have found this period of time stultifying and intolerable. He was eventually able to obtain his father’s permission to rejoin his mother in 1871.

Shortly after Arthur joined her, Jane moved again, this time to Glasgow where the Savages had family. Jane died in 1873 from complications of a minor surgery, and Arthur (then 16 years of age) moved in with an uncle in London. A brief span in art school ended when he heard Charles Darwin lecture about the splendor of the natural world, and Arthur convinced his uncle to buy him passage to Australia to seek adventure.

Savage’s time in Australia began with three companions in search of gold and opals, a plan which quickly proved a failure. Savage joined up with a band of Aborigines, whom he would live with for two years, moving across the Outback. In 1876 he returned to white society, working for periods as a sheep shearer, doctor’s assistant, hotel bouncer, and cattle rancher. In the midst of this he met Annie Bryant, and the two were married in 1879 (and they would remain together until her death in 1919). Savage would stay in Australia until 1884, fathering the first four of his eventual eight children with Annie, before returning to Jamaica (by way a year’s stay in England) to manage a banana plantation. Typically for Savage, this employment kept him interested only until 1886, when he moved his family yet again to New York.

In New York, Savage took a job with Munn & Company, a publisher of patents and scientific papers. This environment seems to have unlocked a talent in Savage for inventing, because a wave of patents was to follow. The first (in 1886) was for a machine to clean hemp and other fibers, and this was followed by his first foray into firearms (possibly something that had been rattling around in his head since his days of shooting kangaroos for bounty in Australia). The British government was looking to replace the Martini-Henry with a repeating rifle, and Savage designed a .45-70 rifle with a pivoting Martini-like breechblock and tube magazine in the buttstock, which he submitted to the British trials. It failed (the bolt action Lee was chosen instead), and Savage spend several years improving the design before selling it to a company by the name of Hartley & Graham (who reportedly paid $10,000 for the patent rights, but never managed to manufacture the rifle).

As you might expect, Savage had moved yet again by this time, to the town of Utica, New York. There he took on yet another new career, this time as manager of the Belt Line Railroad. He was impressively successful at rebuilding the run-down railroad, and repeated the feat on another failing streetcar line in Saratoga Springs. Through this period he continued to tinker with inventions during his free time, making a number of improvements to early naval torpedoes and designing a new military rifle. This new design was a lever action design, and Savage invented a type of rotary magazine for it to prevent the problems inherent in using smallbore cartridges in a tube magazine (namely, a bullet detonating a primer in the magazine). Two prototypes was made (apparently by Colt) and submitted to US Army trials in 1892, where Savage was again rejected. This time the main causes were slow loading and awkwardness operating the lever action in a prone position. The Krag-Jorgensen was eventually adopted as the winning design.

Savage patented several aspects of this rifle design in 1893, and in 1894 formed the Savage Repeating Arms Company. He contracted production to Marlin, and sold his rifle to the commercial sporting market as the Model 1895. It was a handsome-looking gun, and its 5-round magazine of spitzer cartridges was an elegant improvement over single-stack magazine designs like the Winchester 1895 or tube magazine designs – and its enclosed action made it much less susceptible to dirt than other competing guns. About 5000 of these rifles were sold over the next 4 years, and Savage decided to open his own factory, and began producing the updated Model 1899 (aka Model 99). This would prove an extraordinarily long-lived rifle, with versions being manufactured into the 1980s.

Arthur Savage, however, could not be tied down to the company. In 1905 he sold his interest in the firm and moved to California and took up the orange-growing business. This, predictably, lasted on a few years, and in 1911 his interested turned instead to automobiles and he moved to San Diego and patented the radial tire. In this pursuit he formed the Savage Tire Company, which he ran until selling it in 1919. Savage continued to tinker with guns during this time, and in 1917 formed a new gun company in partnership with his son Arthur J, although the company was unsuccessful. Savage would go on to involve himself in oil drilling, gold mining, pipe, brick, and tile manufacture, ceramics, and to manage the San Gabriel Water Company for a time. His string of new adventures would come to an end in 1938, when he found himself diagnosed with a painful and terminal form of cancer. Arthur Savage was not a man to he held down, and the prospect of a slow and lingering death must have been utterly abhorrent to him. As was his nature, he took dramatic action and ended his own life on September 22, 1938 with a single shot from a pistol. He was 83 years of age.

After his departure in 1905, the Savage Arms Company would go on to produce a massively successful .32ACP pistol, to be a principle supplier of military arms during both World Wars, and to produce a well-respected line of firearms to this very day. To think that this legacy comes from just one of so many of Arthur Savage’s passing endeavors certainly leaves one in admiration of the man’s talents.


Brower, Bailey Jr. Savage Pistols. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA, 2008.

Share Arthur's obituary or write your own to preserve his legacy.

In 1819, on December 14th, Alabama was admitted as the 22nd U.S. state. Previously called "Alabama Territory", settlers and land speculators had begun pouring into the territory in what was called Alabama Fever, leading to its creation of a state..

In 1820, on January 29th, George IV ascended the British throne when his father, George III (after 59 years on the throne), died. George III - King of England during the Revolutionary War - had been mentally ill and George IV had been Prince Regent since 1811, ruling in his father's stead.

In 1839, on January 2nd, the first photo of the Moon was taken by Louis Daguerre, known as the "father of photography". The following June, he applied for and got a patent for his camera - to which France acquired the rights in exchange for a lifetime pension for Louis and his co-inventor's nephew. The camera was available to the public by September. It cost 400 francs (about $50 US then, almost $1270 today) and weighed 120 pounds.

In 1930, as head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, William Hays established a code of decency that outlined what was acceptable in films. The public - and government - had felt that films in the '20's had become increasingly risque and that the behavior of its stars was becoming scandalous. Laws were being passed. In response, the heads of the movie studios adopted a voluntary "code", hoping to head off legislation. The first part of the code prohibited "lowering the moral standards of those who see it", called for depictions of the "correct standards of life", and forbade a picture from showing any sort of ridicule towards a law or "creating sympathy for its violation". The second part dealt with particular behavior in film such as homosexuality, the use of specific curse words, and miscegenation.

Can I get my ancestor’s will or probate?

Probates are records of the probate process, which administers a deceased person’s estate. These are official government records and are held at Archives New Zealand.

Use Archives New Zealand’s Personal identity research guide for advice about where to access probates.

You can begin your search for probates in Archway, as most will be listed there. Family Search volunteers have been steadily digitising and indexing Archives New Zealand probate records, specifically New Zealand Probate Records from 1848–1998. Although records cannot be sorted easily, it is possible to limit your results using the filter ‘other year’ to select either the 1800s or 1900s. These probates are free, but you will need to register with FamilySearch and use a login and password, unless you are onsite at either the National Library of New Zealand or Archives New Zealand.

A probate index may list the name of your ancestor as well as the date of the probate, which is often close to the date of death. It is worthwhile looking for probates of relatives of the deceased as well, as sometimes these may contain relevant documents.

A probate index will usually list a file number for the probate, which contains any related documents. You’ll need to note the number so that you can request the actual file. The Archway record will have the required details.

The Alexander Turnbull Library holds personal and organisational records. Only a small number of wills or probates are held here, generally amongst an individual’s personal papers in the Manuscripts collection.

Arthur Savage : First World War - History

I recently read an article in Field and Stream and the article was ranking the 50 best guns ever made. I immediately skipped the introduction and went directly to the list.

I have a real affection for the great Savage Model 1899 and later 99, and highly regard it as one of the jewels in the history of America firearms. To my surprise, the Savage 99 was ranked 35th. I was sure it would have at least made the top 5. In my humble opinion the great Model 99 should have ranked higher.

It was a great design that was truly ahead of its time when Arthur Savage developed it in the 1890s. He designed the 1899 in hope of winning a contract with the war department. Although he did not, his design endured and the 99 went on to become a representation of its creator's genius.

For hunting North American game the Savage 99 is still one of the finest hunting rifles of all time. In fact, it was a solid performer well into the later part of the last century, nearly one hundred years after its creation. It was manufactured for nearly a century with over a million rifles produced before the Savage 99 was discontinued due to decrepit machinery and increased cost.

Before it was retired, it is purported that the company had plans to introduce the 99 with the capability to handle long action cartridges, such as the .30-06 and .270 Winchester. One such prototype is on display at the Savage factory and the other was recently sold for $6000.

The design of the 99 is superior to lever actions such as the Winchester 94 and the Marlin 336, because it can handle high intensity cartridges. It has several superior design features that make it more comparable to the Browning BLR and even modern bolt actions like the Winchester Model 70. The rotary spool magazine allows for the use of pointed bullets, which retain greater velocity downrange than the flat point bullets required by lever guns with tubular magazines. Its strong action allowed it to be chambered in many modern, short-action, high intensity cartridges. A few of the most popular calibers were the .243 Winchester .250-3000 Savage, .30-30 Winchester, .300 Savage, .303 Savage and .308 Winchester.

For a rifle designed in the last decade of the 1800's, it had many modern day features that are still prevalent on currently produced rifles. It has a cocking indicator on top of the tang and it ejected spent cartridges at an angle, which made it easily adaptable to the use of telescopic sights.

Most 99s were not drilled and tapped for scope mounts until the late 1950's. Until that time, most were only available with drilled and tapped tang mounted peep sights or standard iron sights. It has a good trigger and is reportedly a very accurate and dependable rifle.

Another characteristic of the 99 that is worth mentioning is its great looks and balanced carrying qualities. The early models were produced with a straight grip stock and slim Schnable fore end. This era of rifles was stately, and as pleasing to the eye as it was satisfying to use. Later models appeared with a pistol grip stock, and rounded fore end tip. In the 1960's impressed checkering became standard on deluxe (DL) models.

The rotary magazine caused the bottom of the action to be rounded, which fit naturally in the hand. In an "Instructions for Use" guide that came with a rifle made in the 1950's, Savage encouraged customers to carry the rifle fully loaded, as it would balance perfectly if carried at the bottom of the rounded action. This is why so many rifles still around today, have receivers with worn bottoms. The rotary magazine would hold five cartridges, thus enabling the rifle to be fully loaded with a total of six shots. Another of its prominent aesthetic features was the color case hardened trigger guard and lever. This provided a distinguishing touch to an already attractive rifle.

The cartridges developed for and offered in the 1899 and 99 were as far ahead of their time as the rifle. The rifle was first offered with the .303 Savage. This cartridge was a ballistic twin to the .30-30.

The next offering was the .22 High Power. This cartridge was developed by Charles Newton and would push a 70-grain bullet to a muzzle velocity of 2,800 fps. It is still popular in Europe today, where it is known as the 5.6x52R.

Shortly thereafter came the first commercial cartridge to offer a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps, the .250 Savage (.250-3000). The .250 achieved this breakthrough with an 87-grain bullet. For comparison, the modern .243 Winchester will push a 90-grain bullet to 3100 fps.

The next Savage cartridge, the .300 Savage, went on to become one of the most popular short action .30-caliber deer and elk cartridges of all time. Later it was to become the basis of the experiments conducted by the U.S. military when they began developing a replacement for the .30-06 service rifle cartridge. Ultimately, the 7.62mm NATO/.308 Winchester was the result.

My favorite Model 99 is a post war 99EG made at the Utica, NY plant in 1947. I acquired it purely by luck. I walked into my local gun shop and asked if there was anything odd or unique that had come in. As it happened an older fellow had just cleaned out his safe and asked the shop to help him sell some of his guns. He had an older Savage 99EG. I picked it up, looked it over and made my offer. The rest is history.

Mine weighs just slightly over seven pounds, has a 24 inch medium taper barrel, a steel shotgun style butt plate and slim Schnable fore end. It is chambered in .300 Savage and shoots and handles as well as any rifle I've ever owned. It is not drilled or tapped for a scope, but with iron sights I consistently place shots in a 5-inch circle at 100 yards using Remington's 150 grain Core-Lokt PSP bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2630 fps.

All said, the Savage 99 is a genius of a rifle that epitomizes the best in American craftsmanship, creativity and originality. Although no longer produced it remains highly revered, as it was the foundation from which Arthur Savage built one of America's great gun companies.

A few notes to those who might consider the purchase of an older 99. All older models have matching numbers on the fore end, butt plate, butt stock and bottom of the receiver. The model is stamped in front of the receiver just behind the fore end. For example EG, R, or other variations.

The Internment Camps of Germans in America During WW2

Internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War is widely known and well documented. However, less is known about the thousands of “ethnic Germans” who were also detained, as well as smaller numbers of Italians and Italian Americans.

The precedent was set during the First World War when laws dating back to the 18th Century were used to authorize the detention of anyone considered to be an “enemy alien” and therefore a possible threat to security and the war effort.

The Government set up four camps. The main ones were located in Hot Springs, CA and at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia. These camps were referred to as DOJ (Department of Justice) Camps. Those interned included not only German nationals but also those of recent German descent. As they were now considered to be enemy aliens, many had their homes and property seized by the Government. By 1940, Germans made up a large percentage of the “non-American” population in the United States. There were approximately 1.2 million German nationals as well as another 11 million US citizens who had at least one German-born parent.

As the war in Europe continued, America was laying the groundwork. The 1940 census introduced a new question. It now required that all respondents included their ethnicity. This would make them easier to identify after America entered the war.

Also in 1940, a new law was passed so that all aliens over the age of 14 had to be registered. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but before America had declared war on Germany, Roosevelt announced that Germans, Italians, and Japanese were now considered to be enemy aliens under the DOJ Alien Enemy Control Unit Program.

Anyone who could be described as an ethnic German came under suspicion. Cases were looked at on an individual basis. In theory, people were only to be detained if they there was some evidence to suggest that they posed a threat. As a result, 11,000 people were taken to DOJ camps. The majority of these were German nationals, but the number also included US citizens of German descent. The number of those who spent the war in such camps was, in fact, much higher than the 11,000 detainees.

Only enemy aliens could be interned by law. However, their families could come along voluntarily. Although living in the DOJ camp wasn’t an ideal option for a family, many chose this rather than being separated. In addition, families could be left without income if the main earner was detained so the camp may have been the most practical solution.

The American camps also held a large number of Germans who had been living in Latin America. An estimated 4,058 people were thought to have been expelled and sent to the United States to be interned. A small number of these were believed to be Nazi party members who were recruiting for the Nazi Party’s overseas branch. A further eight were suspected of spying.

Under Roosevelt’s orders, a total of 4,058 Germans were removed as well as 2,264 Japanese and 288 Italians. Most were sent to the two main camps which were in Ellis Island or Crystal City in Texas. Not all the Latin American countries deported their German population. Several, including Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela among others set up their own camps.

Arthur Savage : First World War - History

First introduced by the Germans, gas warfare was soon embraced by all the combatants. By the end of the war, one in four of the artillery shells fired on the Western Front contained gas.

Arthur Empey was an American living in New Jersey when war consumed Europe in 1914. Enraged by the sinking of the Lusitania and loss of the lives of American passengers, he expected to join an American army to combat the Germans. When America did not immediately declare war, Empey boarded a ship to England, enlisted in the British Army (a violation of our neutrality law, but no one seemd to mind) and was soon manning a trench on the front lines.

Emprey survived his experience and published his recollections in 1917. We join his story after he has been made a member of a machine gun crew and sits in a British trench peering towards German lines. Conditions are perfect for an enemy gas attack - a slight breeze blowing from the enemy's direction - and the warning has been passed along to be on the lookout:

But I waited for no more, grabbing my bayonet, which was detached from the rifle, I gave the alarm by banging an empty shell case, which was hanging near the periscope. At the same instant, gongs started ringing down the trench, the signal for Tommy to don his respirator, or smoke helmet, as we call it.

Gas travels quietly, so you must not lose any time you generally have about eighteen or twenty seconds in which to adjust your gas helmet.

A gas helmet is made of cloth, treated with chemicals. There are two windows, or glass eyes, in it, through which you can see. Inside there is a rubber-covered tube, which goes in the mouth. You breathe through your nose the gas, passing through the cloth helmet, is neutralized by the action of the chemicals. The foul air is exhaled through the tube in the mouth, this tube being so constructed that it prevents the inhaling of the outside air or gas. One helmet is good for five hours of the strongest gas. Each Tommy carries two of them slung around his shoulder in a waterproof canvas bag. He must wear this bag at all times, even while sleeping. To change a defective helmet, you take out the new one, hold your breath, pull the old one off, placing the new one over your head, tucking in the loose ends under the collar of your tunic.

For a minute, pandemonium reigned in our trench, - Tommies adjusting their helmets, bombers running here and there, and men turning out of the dugouts with fixed bayonets, to man the fire step.

Reinforcements were pouring out of the communication trenches.

Our gun's crew was busy mounting the machine gun on the parapet and bringing up extra ammunition from the dugout.

It's the animals that suffer the most, the horses, mules, cattle, dogs, cats, and rats, they having no helmets to save them. Tommy does not sympathize with rats in a gas attack.

At times, gas has been known to travel, with dire results, fifteen miles behind the lines.

A gas, or smoke helmet, as it is called, at the best is a vile-smelling thing, and it is not long before one gets a violent headache from wearing it.

Our eighteen-pounders were bursting in No Man's Land, in an effort, by the artillery, to disperse the gas clouds.

The fire step was lined with crouching men, bayonets fixed, and bombs near at hand to repel the expected attack.

Our artillery had put a barrage of curtain fire on the German lines, to try and break up their attack and keep back reinforcements.

I trained my machine gun on their trench and its bullets were raking the parapet. Then over they came, bayonets glistening. In their respirators, which have a large snout in front, they looked like some horrible nightmare.

Suddenly, my head seemed to burst from a loud 'crack' in my ear. Then my head began to swim, throat got dry, and a heavy pressure on the lungs warned me that my helmet was leaking. Turning my gun over to No. 2, I changed helmets.

The trench started to wind like a snake, and sandbags appeared to be floating in the air. The noise was horrible I sank onto the fire step, needles seemed to be pricking my flesh, then blackness.

I was awakened by one of my mates removing my smoke helmet. How delicious that cool, fresh air felt in my lungs.

A strong wind had arisen and dispersed the gas.

They told me that I had been 'out' for three hours they thought I was dead.

The author recovering from
wounds received at the Front
The attack had been repulsed after a hard fight. Twice the Germans had gained a foothold in our trench, but had been driven out by counter- attacks. The trench was filled with their dead and ours. Through a periscope, I counted eighteen dead Germans in our wire they were a ghastly sight in their horrible-looking respirators.

I examined my first smoke helmet, a bullet had gone through it on the left side, just grazing my ear, the gas had penetrated through the hole made in the cloth.

Out of our crew of six, we lost two killed and two wounded.

That night we buried all of the dead, excepting those in No Man's Land. In death there is not much distinction, friend and foe are treated alike.

After the wind had dispersed the gas, the R. A. M. C. got busy with their chemical sprayers, spraying out the dugouts and low parts of the trenches to dissipate any fumes of the German gas which may have been lurking in same."

Empey, Arthur Guy, Over The Top (1917) Lloyd, Alan, The War In The Trenches (1976).

Article 2

In the wake of the Civil War, the West offered perceived opportunities for nearly every element of society. So it was that some black Americans banded together in groups of ‘exodusters,’ who crossed the Mississippi River bent on establishing a new society in Kansas. Other blacks came on their own to farm, set up businesses, or engage in various livelihoods, including the profession of arms.

Indeed, a number of blacks, many of whom previously had been slaves, joined the Army as a potential avenue to advancement and adventure. They saw the Army as a means to economic or social betterment. Perhaps the promise of education also motivated some knowledge-thirsty men, particularly after the Freedmen’s Bureau, which had established schools for blacks, shut down in 1866. Individuals who had been displaced by the Civil War could find food, shelter, clothing and to some extent medical benefits, by entering the military.

Then, too, certain veterans who had served in the Union forces, as well as other blacks inspired by what those veterans had accomplished during the war, thought soldiering was well worth continuing. Jacob Wilks, who had spent more than three years fighting for the Union cause as a member of the 116th Colored Volunteer Infantry, fell into this category. Consequently, he signed on for a hitch in one of the Regular Army units formed in 1866. In other cases, young men whose fathers or family members had served in the Civil War decided to follow suit and join the Army. George Conrad, Jr., who became a private in Company G, 9th Cavalry, after enlisting in the fall of 1883, said: ‘When my father went to the army, old master told us he was gone to fight for us niggers’ freedom. My daddy was the only one that came back out of 13 men that enlisted….’

Others thought that, after the expiration of their tour of duty, they might parlay an honorable discharge into civilian employment with the government, a goal that Samuel Harris gave as one of his reasons for enlistment. Horace Wayman Bevins, a native of Accomack County, Va., stopped attending Hampton School because he had ‘a great desire for adventure and to see the Wild West.’ Charles Creek turned to the Army as a chance to break with the drudgery of field work. Creek frankly stated, ‘I got tired of looking at mules in the face from sunrise to sunset, thought there must be a better livin [sic] in this world.’ George Bentley, who at 26 signed on for five years, said he joined the Army simply to get away from his mother and a brother, neither of whom he liked.

Sampson Mann went to the recruiter out of ‘devilment.’ After Mann’s mother caught him ‘doin’ wrong’ by selling ‘moonshine’ to the neighbors, she demonstrated her displeasure and ‘whomped’ him twice. Since Mann was told at the recruiting station ‘how good it was in the Army,’ he thought the military might be better than facing future maternal wrath. Mansfield Robinson went to an Evansville, Ind., recruiter on a lark because one of Robinson’s friends, who wanted to enlist, talked him into going along. The officer on duty convinced the disinterested man to take the entrance examination. Although the friend failed the test, Robinson passed and ‘decided on the spot to enlist, and stayed in the Army until retirement.’

Whatever the motives, the option of military service would have been moot after the Civil War had not Radical Republicans and others championed the cause of blacks entering the ranks of the Regular Army, previously the exclusive domain of whites. The proposition of African Americans forming part of the nation’s standing peacetime force sparked considerable debate in many forums, including the halls of Congress.

Eventually such opposition on Capitol Hill went down in defeat. In 1866, Congress–for a variety of reasons that ranged from rewarding officers and the black troops they had commanded during their Civil War service to simply providing employment for large numbers of freed slaves–legislated six segregated black units, the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments, along with the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Infantry regiments, into existence. (See ‘Army’s Unluckiest Regiment,’ Wild West June 1991 for more on the 38th Infantry.) Three years later, a reorganization of the national military structure brought about the consolidation of the original four outfits of foot soldiers into two organizations, the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments.

For the remainder of the century, the two cavalry and two infantry regiments comprised approximately 9 percent of the men who wore the Army uniform. During this period, they usually carried out their duties on the frontier, away from the centers of white population, supposedly because of political pressures to keep blacks from being stationed in Northern states.

Some of the earliest African-American foot soldiers posted to the West served in Texas, the 24th Infantry gathering there at a time when the area was considered a’soldier’s paradise,’ with beautiful rivers and grassy plains that teemed with game. The black infantry units also served in Arizona, Colorado, the Dakotas, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico and Utah. As in the Lone Star State, they occupied and maintained outposts that sometimes were isolated and lonely, and participated in the full gamut of garrison and field duties. The men drilled often and sometimes even engaged in physical fitness exercises that were beginning to come into vogue in the late-Victorian era. They stood inspection, did their turn at guard mount and similar martial duties, and paraded. They also went to the target range. The soldiers were assigned many nonmilitary physical tasks known as fatigues–cutting ice (where possible), securing wood for lumber and fuel, working as teamsters or day laborers for the quartermaster, serving as janitors in the post exchange, and picking wild berries near the fort to supplement the issue ration. From time to time, the soldiers chased after military prisoners, chiefly deserters from white regiments, although they sometimes went in pursuit of black comrades. Field maneuvers increasingly became part of their routine, with emphasis being placed on war games.

When called upon, black infantrymen also responded to disturbances that sometimes flared up in the final days of war between the American Indians and the people who came to displace them. While the cavalry performed daring deeds recorded by newspaper reporters and artists, black infantry units faithfully played their part, too. Infantrymen, blacks and whites, were called ‘walk-a-heaps’ by some Indians because these soldiers had to travel on foot rather than on horseback like the cavalry.

That is not to say that the walk-a-heaps never took advantage of mounts available to them they did, and when this happened they temporarily became mounted infantry. In Texas in the early 1870s, Captain F.M. Crandal and some of the rank and file from his Company A, 24th Infantry, were using mules and horses to pull wagons when a raiding party attacked them between Fort Stockton and Fort Davis. Another time an officer and his patrol were surprised and 200 of their mules were run off by Indians who could strike swiftly on horseback against the slower foot soldiers.

Years later, and far to the north, during the spring of 1890, Company H of the 25th responded to the killing of three prospectors near Montana’s Flathead Lake, and the subsequent shooting of one Kutenai and the lynching of two others, by moving into the area as a deterrent to further mayhem. Later in the year, black soldiers were called out as reinforcements during the Ghost Dance of 1890-91, with several companies gathering at Fort Keogh, Mont., as a ready reserve.

Besides forays against native peoples, African-American foot soldiers were sometimes even dispatched to quell strikes, such as those that broke out in the mines of Idaho during 1892. In 1894 came the threat posed by Coxey’s band of jobless anti-railroad men (known as Coxey’s Army), who were organized by social reformer Jacob Sachlee Coxey after the panic of 1893. Two companies of the 25th Infantry at Fort Missoula, Mont., set up a temporary camp near the railroad depot in Missoula while another company went out to guard trestles that might be targeted by dissidents for destruction. The soldiers had orders to ‘be prudent and cool in the discharge’ of their assignment to protect railway property and maintain peace. Despite that admonition, a minor incident occurred when some local civilians heckled two railroad employees who were continuing to work during the strike. A sentry from the 25th stepped in, and after one of the civilians reportedly ‘refused to budge’ despite twice being warned to move on, the sentry decided to prod him with a bayonet. The civilian withdrew. The sentry was to be served with a warrant for arrest on a charge of assault. According to one account, ‘there was some difficulty in serving the warrant and for a moment a ruction seemed imminent.’ Matters did not come to a head, however, and calm returned.

Another less dramatic but more unusual duty came when some of the men of the 25th Infantry took part in an 1896-97 bicycle experiment, an early effort to mechanize the American military. A group of adventurous volunteers in Montana peddled their way from Fort Missoula to Fort Harrison, north of Helena, then moved on to Fort Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, where they tested their equipment and stamina traveling across the rugged terrain there before coming home–a grueling 800-mile journey. The next year, this hardy team wheeled off from Fort Missoula toward St. Louis. They completed the grueling 1,900-mile trek, averaging 52 miles a day in the process.

For the most part, brave and determined black infantrymen did everything they could to do their duty well. As one officer observed during an ‘excessively hot’ march, the white infantry arrived in camp very tired, but the black infantry showed they still were ready to give something extra. After reaching their destination at the end of the long day, these black soldiers threw off their equipment and began to practice their military drill. They carried on for an hour, ‘largely at the double time, completing the maneuvers by a grand charge on a neighboring hill which was taken with a rush amid great cheers.’ The following day, when the temperature soared to ‘over 100 degrees in the shade,’ the black infantrymen ‘tramped along with a springy step, joshing each other,’ their bursts of laughter contrasting sharply with their white counterparts, who, ‘bowed under their heavy packs, seemed half-dead with fatigue.’ Similar praise came from a white cavalry sergeant who had seen some of the black infantry troops at work in the summer of 1869. He said these men ‘were well adapted to the life and the duties of a soldier’ and that ‘many of them were exceedingly clean and neat soldiers.’

Such indications of professionalism remained very much a part of the story of black infantrymen, as was the case with their comrades in the cavalry. Although their diligence and dedication to duty were seldom rewarded, African-American soldiers received some recognition for their higher re-enlistment rates and fewer incidents of alcoholism. Desertion ranked as an even worse personnel problem for the U.S. Army in the 19th century, but was rare in the black regiments. The 24th Infantry boasted the lowest desertion rate in the entire Army from 1880 through 1886, and it shared this honor with the 25th Infantry in 1888. At that time, the secretary of war paid tribute to the black troops: ‘There are two regiments of infantry and two of cavalry of colored men, and their record for good service is excellent. They are neat, orderly, and obedient, are seldom brought before court martial, and rarely desert.’

One more manifestation of unit pride could be found in the excellent bands that formed part of the black regiments. The 25th Infantry’s band was very highly regarded. During the summer of 1883 an invitation came from Minneapolis’ Shattuck Military School for the musicians of the 25th to perform at the school. The commandant of the school later commented, ‘The band proved to be all that we had expected from the reports which had reached us before we heard them.’ The same observer pronounced them,’skilled in the use of their instruments, and orderly in their deportment.’ On September 13, 1883, the bandsmen from the 25th pleased crowds at the Minnesota State Fair. Some five years later, on Memorial Day, they ‘discoursed the sweetest music ever heard in Missoula,’ according to one account. In 1895, the musicians, along with seven companies from the regiment, performed’smart maneuvers’ and offered stirring marches when writer Mark Twain came to visit Fort Missoula.

The popularity of these music-makers even prompted the regiment to erect a bandstand in front of the Missoula court-house right after the 25th reported to the area. The band offered regular concerts at the courthouse on Thursday evenings, thereby cementing good relations between the civilian population and the personnel of the regiment. One time, the entire band played at the funeral of a prominent Missoula citizen, C.P. Higgins, whose passing brought an estimated 600 mourners to pay their respects. Bands also provided accompaniment for ‘hops,’ or dances. The string players among the bandsmen at Fort Missoula entertained at an ‘Old Folks’ program attended by the town’s ‘best people.’ Proceeds from this event went to benefit the local Episcopal church. The strings additionally provided music until midnight at a domino-mask dance held in Missoula.

In Texas, a similar use of black infantry musicians was recalled by Elijah Cox, an old-timer and fiddle player of the 25th Infantry, when he reminisced in a 1924 newspaper interview: ‘There wasn’t none of them turkey trots in that day. Folks danced the schottische, the polka, the square dance, and the quadrille. We had real music in them days, too. I’ll bet I can play 300 waltzes, all of them different, without stopping.’

Locals in many Western communities also could watch some of the athletic competitions that were held by troops at the forts located near towns. Sometimes there were baseball games that pitted soldiers against civilians. Occasionally soldiers from one fort would travel to another post to compete, which no doubt drew local spectators from town. And there were other occasions for black soldiers to mingle with townspeople and others outside their circle. Civilians might even go to a nearby post for such offerings as open-air Sunday services, where they heard gospel songs accompanied by the band and the post chaplain’s daughter at the organ, as was the case at Fort Keogh.

Sometimes white clergymen were assigned to black regiments, but by the 1880s African-American chaplains began to be assigned to the black infantry regiments, beginning with Reverend Allen Allensworth of the 24th and Reverend Theophilus Steward of the 25th. Both these remarkable men of the cloth helped many soldiers in their congregation to understand that they played an important role in the opening up of the region. These ministers not only taught lessons about right and wrong but also provided educational fundamentals so that black infantry troops could learn to read and write, and gain other knowledge that would help them both in and out of the Army.

The two chaplains hoped many of these soldiers would have successes that were similar to their own. For instance, Allensworth hailed from Kentucky, where he had been enslaved before the Civil War. When the fighting broke out, he escaped from his bondage and fled north. For a time he served with the Illinois volunteers, assisting with hospital work. He eventually joined the U.S. Navy and ended the war as a petty officer.

Allensworth, whose quest for learning caused him to acquire the then illegal arts of reading and writing while ‘playing school’ with a slave owner’s child, continued on the path of education. After the war’s end, he explored new roads to advancement in civilian life, beginning with a brief stint with the Freedman’s Bureau. Eventually he returned to school to complete a degree in divinity.

After writing President Grover Cleveland that he relished the ‘opportunity to show, in behalf of the race, that a Negro can be an officer and a gentleman,’ Reverend Allensworth secured his appointment as chaplain of the 24th Infantry in 1886. Conscious of the color line that existed, he continually had to balance his own vision of the future for African Americans with the harsh political and social realities of his time.

In spite of the narrow path he was forced to walk, Allensworth dedicated himself to spreading the gospel and providing education for his soldiers. While at Fort Bayard in New Mexico Territory, for example, he wrote one of the first army manuals on education for enlisted personnel. Innovative and diligent, he served the black soldiers and the Army well for two decades. As partial reward for his devotion, when he retired in 1906, Allensworth was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and thus became the highest-ranking black officer in the U.S. Army to that date.

But for most of the men who served in the ranks, Allensworth’s story seemed like a fairy tale. For the most part, their own life in the Army usually brought meager rewards, while their daily experiences at military posts were boring and on the thankless, thorny side.

Detached service was a welcome break from the routine drudgeries of the fort, but could be dangerous. This was the case when on May 11, 1889, Major Joseph Washington Wham took charge of more than $28,000 in gold and silver. This hefty sum was being transported to pay troops at various posts in Arizona Territory. The paymaster had an escort of several men from the 10th Cavalry and 24th Infantry along to protect the money. Since a private was paid only $13 per month, their cargo must have seemed like a king’s ransom to the detail, as the officer, his white clerk and 11 black enlisted men rolled along in two mule-drawn vehicles.

Near Cedar Spring, Ariz., the small convoy halted. A large boulder blocked the road ahead. The ranking NCO (noncommissioned officer), Sergeant William Brown of Company C, 24th Infantry, called to several of the men to leave their vehicles and help remove the obstruction. Almost as soon as he gave the order, a shout came from the nearby rocks not to disturb the blockade then a volley rang out from concealed assailants who had improvised barricades to flank the roadway and offer protection for the ambush. The driver of the lead wagon toppled first with a shot in the stomach. His mules bolted, and in the ensuing exchange of fire, one of the animals was killed, bringing the first vehicle to a halt.

The outlaws raked the escort with a hail of lead. Sergeant Brown was hit in the stomach, but he grabbed a rifle from one of the other men who had been struck, and continued to blaze away until a second round ripped into his arm. The other NCO in the detachment, Corporal Isaiah Mays, also of the 24th, kept up a return fire until driven to seek shelter underneath a wagon. As the barrage continued, Mays crawled out of range. He then went off for help to a ranch some two miles away from the ambush site. When he returned, he found nine men in the contingent wounded. The entire escort was cited for bravery, while Brown and Mays were presented the Medal of Honor for their valor. Their assailants, however, made off with the money and were never brought to justice.

This devotion to duty exhibited by Brown, Mays and their comrades came in part from pride in the uniform and loyalty to comrades. And such outstanding examples of bravery were one reason why black infantrymen assumed the nickname ‘buffalo soldiers’ (which originated with the Plains Indians as a term of respect). As one writer said, ‘So proudly was the name carried, that the infantrymen adopted what the horse soldiers had won.’ (See ‘Buffalo Soldiers Won Their Spurs,’ Wild West February 1995 for additional details.) Indeed, given their fine record, it seems that the black walk-a-heaps more than deserved to share this name with black cavalrymen as these ‘common’ soldiers helped change the face of the West in the late 1800s.

This article was written by John P. Langellier and originally published in the February 1997 issue of Wild West Magazine.

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