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Fitting tribute for war hero

William Young

William Young

​The grave of a Lancashire war hero is to be restored as part of a £100,000 award from the Government.

​Victoria Cross winner Private William Young of the East Lancashire Regiment​ is buried in Preston Cemetery in New Hall Lane.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced £100,000 towards the restoration of a number of UK graves in need of repair.

Private Young’s grave is one of four Lancashire First World War heroes listed. Headstones will be cleaned or replaced so that the graves of those who received the highest military award for valour are a fitting tribute to their sacrifice.

The other three VC winners were L/Sgt Arthur Evans, buried in Park Cemetery, Lytham St Annes; Pte Thomas Whitham, buried in Inghamite Burial Ground, Nelson, and 2nd Lt Hugh Colvin, buried in County Antrim.

William Young was born in 1876 in Glasgow and joined the Army aged 15.

He settled in Preston and when war broke out he sailed for France in September 1914. Private Young was wounded and had only been back in the trenches for a very short time, serving with the 8th (Service) Battalion, when he performed the deeds for which he was awarded the VC.

Private Young was positioned east of Foncquevillers, France, on December 22 as dawn broke.

He looked out over no-man’s land and saw a wounded NCO, Sergeant Allan, lying wounded in front of the wire.

He went through the wire, dodging heavy enemy fire, and went to Sgt Allan’s aid. Private Young was hit twice – in the jaw and chest – as he rescued his comrade with another man.

Private Young spent the next four months in hospital and was well enough to attend a civic reception in his honour in Preston in April 1916 but died in August.​​

Victoria Cross Trust founder Gary Stapleton said: “It is a massive boost that will help us transform graves in this special year.”

 

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