Preston turns out to honour a hero

Photo: David Hurst
The extended family of war hero, Private William Young and the plaque that was unveiled on Preston War Memorial, 100 years after he was awarded the VC
Photo: David Hurst The extended family of war hero, Private William Young and the plaque that was unveiled on Preston War Memorial, 100 years after he was awarded the VC
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One hundred years after Private Wiliam Young returned home a war hero his bravery has been commemorated in Preston.

In 1916, Private William Young arrived home in Preston to a hero’s welcome after risking his life to save his army sergeant in France a year before.

Death notice for Private William Young VC, of Preston, from Preston Guardian, January 15, 1916.

Death notice for Private William Young VC, of Preston, from Preston Guardian, January 15, 1916.

The father-of-nine had bravely climbed out of his trench under heavy gunfire and carried his fellow soldier to safety, despite being shot twice in the chest and jaw.

He did not recover from his injuries, and died four months later in hospital at the age of 40.

Now, a paving stone commemorating his heroic sacrifice was unveiled at a special event at the war memorial in Preston on Saturday.

Mayor of Preston Margaret McManus attended the event along with more than 50 members of Private Young’s family.

Photo: David Hurst
The Mayor of Preston, Counc Margaret McManus unveils the plaque, during the commemorative event and plaque unveiling for war hero, William Young at Preston War Memorial, 100 years after he was awarded the VC

Photo: David Hurst The Mayor of Preston, Counc Margaret McManus unveils the plaque, during the commemorative event and plaque unveiling for war hero, William Young at Preston War Memorial, 100 years after he was awarded the VC

She said: “Private Young’s bravery is an example to us all and I am honoured to welcome his family back to Preston. By unveiling this commemorative plaque, his actions and sacrifice will be remembered by generations to come. We are able to live our lives freely today because of the courage of those involved in this and many other conflicts.”

Mayor McManus honoured Private Young with the speech that was read aloud to his widow, Mary Young, in 1916 when she received the Victoria Cross on his behalf.

She said: “It was a wonderful event. His family was extremely proud. Every one of them thought it was marvellous. How many people would have the courage to put their own life at risk to save a comrade? Though Private William Young was born in Scotland, he came to Preston at a young age and married a Preston girl. His true story is just one more thing for the people of Preston to be proud of.”