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John Francis Young: Wikis


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John Francis Young VC (January 14, 1893, Kidderminster, England - November 7, 1929, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec), was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Young was one of seven Canadians to be awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on September 2, 1918. The other six Victoria Cross recipients were Claude Joseph Patrick Nunney, William Metcalf, Cyrus Wesley Peck, Walter Leigh Rayfield, Bellenden Hutcheson and Arthur George Knight.


Young's bravery in battle

John Francis Young was 25 years old, and a private in the 87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.


Victoria Cross Medal Ribbon & Bar.jpg

On 2 September 1918 in the Dury-Arras Sector, France, when his company had suffered heavy casualties, Private Young, a stretcher-bearer, went forward to dress the wounded in open ground swept by machine-gun and rifle fire. He did this for over an hour displaying absolute fearlessness, and on more than one occasion, having used up all his stock of dressings, he made his way to company headquarters for a further supply before returning to the battlefield. Later in the day he organised and led stretcher-bearers to bring in the wounded whom he had dressed. He spent a full hour rescuing well over a dozen men.

Mustard gas was present in the battle which damaged one of Young's lungs. This later led to him catching tuberculosis.

Pre- and Post-war

John Francis Young was born in Kidderminster, England, January 14, 1893. He emigrated to Canada prior to World War I and worked as a packer for a Montreal tobacco company named Imperial Tobacco.

He received his Victoria Cross from King George V at Buckingham Palace on April 30, 1919.

After the war, having attained the rank of Sergeant, Young returned to his old job in Montreal. Some years later he developed tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanatorium in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, where he died November 7, 1929. He was buried in Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal. His grave, marked with a somewhat weather-worn headstone, is in Section L/2, plot 2019.

The medal

The medal is not on public display. It is said to be locked in a vault, in the possession of one of Young's grandsons.

Special Honours

The Canadian Grenadier Guards' Junior Ranks mess has been re-named the "John Francis Young Club" in his honour and still bears his name. Also in Young's honour, members are required to briefly come to attention or execute a proper halt upon entering the Club.

After the war, Young continued to serve in the Regiment, rising to the rank of Sergeant. There is a memorial plaque in his memory permanently on display the Sergeants' mess, as well. He is remembered still and honoured as one of the outstanding heroes of the Regiment's history.

External links



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