CAGE, Philip (M.M.)

No.4724, Private, Philip CAGE M.M.
Aged 22

8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Killed in Action on Sunday, 1st September 1918

Military Medal and bar

Philip Cage was born in Chevington on 7th September 1895 ( Thingoe Q4-1895 4A:745), baptised in All Saints, Chevington on 29th September 1895, son of Alfred and Julia CAGE (née SMITH).

1901 census...Aged 5, he was "by New Road", Chevington with his father Grandfather John SMITH [57] married, horsekeeper born Chevington; his uncle Joseph W.SMITH [21] horseman born Chevington; father Alfred CAGE [35] soldier.S. private, born Thurston; mother Julia CAGE [24] born Chevington; brothers Alfred [3] born Earls Colne, Essex and Redvers [5 months] born Chevington. His grandmother has not been found.

1911 census...Aged 16, farm labourer, he was at Hill House, Sapiston with his parents (father stock man); brothers Alfred (farm labourer), Redvers, William [9] and Herbert [5] both born in Chevington; sister Winifred [3] born Chevington.

Enlisted in Honington.
The war diary is very comprehensive see here but in summary:
The battalion were in the attack on PRIEZ FARM and ST.PIERRE VAAST WOOD and assembled at B.4.b and d about 11 pm. 31st August with zero hour at 5:30 am on 1st. September. There had been no prior reconnaissance and in the dark but they reached their objective, "A" Coy entering PRIEZ FARM. "C" Coy completed the capture of their area,enabling the other two companies to go through at the scheduled time. They met with resistance at RANCOURT but pressed on and reached their objective. All told around 300 prisoners were taken and 1 77mm gun, 10 machine guns and a motor ambulance. Against this were 2 officers dead, 3 wounded, 12 OR killed, 4 died of wounds and 75 wounded.

Military Medal citations are very scarce and it was not known when or where Philip gained his, until the following appeared in the press after his death..

The Bury Free Press of 28th September 1918 reported:-

A feeling of gloom prevaded in Sapiston when the news became known that Prvt.Percy (sic) Cage, of the East Surrey Regiment had fallen in in action in France on September 1st. The young soldier was one of Britain's heroes. He enlisted in the East Surreys in July,1915, and after brief training was drafted overseas. For devotion to duty and heroic conduct whilst acting as a stretcher bearer on October 12, 1917, he received the Military Medal and was recently awarded a bar to the medal for good work on the battlefield on April 4th. The deceased lad was greatly beloved by the parishioners of Sapiston,and as an efficient and trustworthy solider, and a true friend, was warmly regarded by his officers and comrades. He was daily expecting leave. His father, who has been dead for about three years, served through the whole of the South African campaign, and to his widowed mother, who resides at Hill House, Sapiston, true and sincere sympathy is extended. Soldiers such as Prvt Cage can ill be spared and are hard to replace, but some small measure of consolation may perhaps be afforded the bereaved mother in having certain knowledge that her son died doing his duty nobly and well and dying as a brave British soldier.Mrs. Cage has one other son serving with the R.G.A. in France.

approximately the start point for the East Surrey attack

photo: Rodney Gibson

Philip Cage M.M. is commemorated on the Vis-en Artois memorial, panel 6

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details