Private Thomas Young

28 January 1895 – 15 October 1966:-

Thomas Young was born as Thomas Morrell on 28 January 1895 in Boldon, County Durham. His father died in a mining accident when he was young, and when he enlisted in the 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, he gave the surname of his stepfather. At the time of his enlistment, he was working as a hewer at High Spen, near Blaydon.

During the period 25th – 31st March 1918 at Bucquoy, France, Private Young, a stretcher-bearer, worked unceasingly evacuating the wounded from seemingly impossible places. On nine different occasions he went out in front of British lines in broad daylight, under heavy rifle, machine-gun and shell fire and brought back wounded to safety. Those too badly wounded to be moved before dressing; he dressed under fire and then carried them back unaided. He saved nine lives in this manner. His untiring energy, coupled with an absolute disregard of personal danger and the great skill he showed in dealing with casualties is beyond praise.

When he returned home for a period of leave following his VC award, he was given a civic reception in front of 15,000 people at Saltwell Park, Gateshead and was presented with a watch by the Earl of Durham.

After the war Young went back to work in the mines, but was eventually unable to keep his job as a hewer because of ill-health. He took on a new job as a £9-a-week baths attendant at the mine where he worked. In 1939, along with many other Great War veterans, he joined the 1/13th (Home Defence) Batallion of the Durham Light Infantry, transferring to the 1st (Blaydon) Battalion Durham Home Guard, and served as Sergeant Young until it was stood down in December 1945.

Young’s health declined due to his wounds and being gassed. He died in Whickham aged 71 years and was buried with full military honours. His medal is held by the Durham Light Infantry regiment collection.

Filed under: WW1