Service Details
Given Name:
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South African Infantry
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4th Regt.
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Date of Death:
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Date of Birth:
Cause of Death:
Killed in action, during attack on Snag Trench
An extract taken from the London Gazette dated 8th November, 1901 records the following; "Towards the close of the action at Ruiter's Kraal (South African War). on the 13th August, 1901, Sergeant-Major Young, with a handful of men, rushed some kopjes which were being held by the Boers. Sergeant Major Young then galloped on some 50 yards ahead of his party and closing with the enemy shot one of them and captured Commandant Erasmus, the latter firing at him three times at point blank range before being taken prisoner."
Son of William and Annie Young, of Ballinamana, Co. Galway. Born Ballinona, Galway, Ireland, 27.1.1873. Educated at the Model School in Galway, Young showed great prowess as a horse rider in his youth and when he was only seventeen he joined the Queen's Bays at Renmore. He soon gained the attention of his superiors, was sent to India as a riding instructor, and then served as a sergeant major with Lord Kitchener* in Egypt. He became recognized as the best horseman in the British Army and as a rough rider was unexcelled. It was after he had been injured by a horse that he retired from the British Army and came to the Cape (August 1899), where he joined the Cape Mounted Police and was soon picked to form one of a mounted bodyguard for Lord Milner* who was on an official visit to the Transkei. When the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) broke out he was stationed at King William's Town and eagerly joined the British forces. He served in the routed force of General W. F. Gatacre* at Stormberg Junction (December 1899) but escaped from the Boers, and was mentioned in dispatches for his coolness in saving Bethulie bridge (March 1900). On 31.8.1901 he took part in the engagement at Ruiterskraal and then led a small body of men against a hill held by Commandant J. L. P. Erasmus. When the Boers tried to escape he closed with them, succeeded in taking prisoner Erasmus (who had fired at him point-blank three times) and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroic deed. He remained with the Cape Mounted Police until 1906, when he joined the German forces in German South-West Africa and saw service during the Herero uprising (January 1904-31.3.1907). For this he was decorated by Kaiser Wilhelm II. During the last phase of the Bambatha Rebellion (February-June 1906) he served in Natal and Zululand, after which he turned to farming. In the First World War (1914-18) he took up his old position of regimental sergeant-major in the Cape Mounted Police, and, serving with General Louis Botha in German South-West Africa, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Subsequently he was active in East Africa under General J. C. Smuts, to whose call for volunteers to serve in France Young was among the first to respond. Commissioned in the 4th South African Infantry (the South African Scottish), he fought first against the Senussi in Egypt, and was later wounded in the allied big push against the German troops in France at Delville Wood in July 1916. On his return to duty he served under Captain T. H. Ross and was involved in the later stages of the Somme offensive, in which he was killed just before the battle of Warlencourt by German bombs and flame-throwers. Young., who was often Mentioned in Despatches, was also awarded the following medals: Queen's South Africa; King's South Africa, Zulu Rebellion; 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.
Other Casualties commemorated in France
Other Casualties commemorated in Somme
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Grave Reference:
Pier and Face 4 C.

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