No.6318, Sergeant, John WALLAGE
Aged 29

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday 4th March 1915

John Wallage was born in Woodditton in 1886 (Newmarket Q2-1886 3B:656) son of Thomas and Elizabeth WALLAGE (née CATES).

1891 census...Aged 5, he was at Ditton Green, Woodditton, with his father Thomas WALLAGE [35] labourer; his mother Elizabeth [30]; sisters Nellie [3] and Hester [1] and grandmother Ann WALLAGE [70]. All born in Woodditton except grandmother Ann, who was born in Kirtling.

1901 census...Aged 15, he was a farm labourer, living in Ditton Green, Woodditton with his parents and sisters Nellie, Hester, Kathleen [9], and Lilian [4] both born in Woodditton, and his grandmother Mary Ann WALLAGE.

. 1911 census...Aged 25, he was a police constable, lodging with Police Constable William and Jessie SANDERS at 48 Hemingford Road, Cambridge. His Army number indicates that he was enlisted into the Suffolk Regiment around January 1903 (6319 was on 6th January 1903). Possibly this was for 6 years in the colours and 6 in the Reserves. His parents were still in Woodditton.

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds.
His medal roll index card has his name spelled WALLACE and transcriptions have erroneously recorded his number as 60318. He was certainly a previously served soldier recalled from the Reserves to have been in France before the end of 1914.

The 2nd battalion, Suffolk Regiment had a quiet spell in the Ypres salient, around Vierstraat, in March 1915, not sent over the top, nor having to repel any attacks. Normal attrition though accounted for over 140 casualties during the month, five, including John Wallage, on 4th March.

The Newmarket Journal of 20th March 1915 stated:-
"We learn with much regret that Sgt John Wallage, 6318, 2nd Suffolk Regt., was killed in action on March 4th. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs Thos.Wallage, much respected inhabitants of Woodditton, and entered the Army in 1903, being transferred after eight years service, to the Reserves, and then joining the Cambridge Borough Police in 1911. When war broke out he was called up to rejoin his Regiment, and was among the first to be sent to the Front.
Second Lieutenant F.T.Schroder, in a very sympathetic letter to Mrs Wallage, says:-"Your son was my platoon sergent, which is really my right hand man. It was in that capacity he acquitted himself so well that he was recognised as one of the most promising sergeants of the Battalion. He was firm but just to those under him. They all thought well of him and they desire me to offer to you their sincere regrets and condolence.
He died at his post. He was hit in the head by a bullet at 2:10 p.m. on the 4th inst, and died at 6:10 p.m. I was with him to the end and can assure you that he did not suffer, as he did not regain consciousness. The Officers, N.C.O's and men of the Company fell that it is their loss, as well as that of those to whom he was dear". Lt.Schroder adds:-"When I can do so without infringing King's Regulations, I will let you know where he was killed and where buried."
Lieut Oakes, commanding C Company of the 2nd Suffolks, in conveying the sad news, says :-"I can assure you everyone in his Company and those who knew him deeply sympathise with you in his loss. He died in action, doing his duty as a soldier".
Mr. C.E.Holland, Chief Constable of Cambridge, says, in a letter to Mr. Thos.Wallage, dated 12th march: "I deeply regret to hear that our son (and our respected comrade) John Wallage has been killed at he war and assure you that his comrades here heartily sympathise with you in your loss. Your late son was much esteemed, and showed promise of a successful career".
A memorial service was held in the Congregational Mission Church, Woodditton on Sunday last and was attended by a large number of villagers, eager to show their respect for one who was much esteemed.........."

photo; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

John Wallage is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial - panel 21

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