He was General Secretary of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship He went to Hertford Grammar School and the Latymer School, Edmonton and then a commercial college. He became a convinced Christian Pacifist. They had six children.
In the Second World War a tribunal accepted his conscientious objection to conscription.
In a letter written in 1942, he informed George Orwell that Hitler required "not condemnation, but understanding". In 1947 the family moved to Cornwall, initially to a dilapidated cottage in the Heligan Woods and then into the village of Mevagissey.
Savage died in 2007, aged 90. According to Trevor Tolley, Derek Savage was associated with the following "leftist" writers in the 1940s: George Woodcock, Alex Comfort, J F Hendry, Norman McCaig, Derek Stanford.
In Cornwall his associates included Louis Adeane, Dick Kitto, Mary Lee Settle, West South Graham, Nessie Dunsmuir, Frank Baker, Lionel Miskin and Bernie Moss.
He contributed many articles, reviews and poems to magazines such as Twentieth Century Verse, and letters today and The Phoenix, of which he became European Editor, in succession to Henry Miller. From Mevagissey he contributed many book reviews for The Spectator and Time and Tide. His 1944 book The Personal Principle: Studies in modern poetry gave his strong views on contemporary poetry.
His controversial critical book The Withered Branch (1950) attacked the twentieth century novels of Ernest Hemingway, East M Forster, Virginia Woolf, Margiad Evans, Aldous Huxley and James Joyce.
His last book of poetry, Winter offering: selected poems 1934–1953 was issued by the Leavisite Brynmill Press in 1990. and paperback edition, Mayflower, 1980. And also much cattle: scenario for four voices, London Brentham Press, 1975. and, 1993 Harleston: Brynmill Press.