Hitchin's only VC winner to be honoured with memorial stone

PUBLISHED: 07:03 09 January 2019

Second Lieutenant Frank Young. Picture: Herts at War

Second Lieutenant Frank Young. Picture: Herts at War

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Hitchin's only Victoria Cross winner is set to be honoured with a memorial stone this Sunday.

Second Lieutenant Frank Young. Picture: Herts at WarSecond Lieutenant Frank Young. Picture: Herts at War

First World War Second Lieutenant Frank Edward Young won the VC in September 1918, and will be remembered with a service at St Mary’s Church and stone being unveiled by the war memorial in Churchyard.

The stone has been put in place as part of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s scheme to honour all VC recipients.

Herts at War project co-ordinator Dan Hill will tell the story of 2Lt Young’s life at the unveiling and is glad he is being remembered.

“It’s incredibly important that his story is told,” said Dan.

The grave of Hitchin's Second Lieutenant Frank Young VC. Picture: Herts at WarThe grave of Hitchin's Second Lieutenant Frank Young VC. Picture: Herts at War

“Frank is Hitchin’s only VC winner, one of only two men from the Hertfordshire regiment to receive one, and the only one to be killed in doing so.

“He never lived to find out that he had won the VC so it’s very important we honour him.”

Herts at War have been fighting to have the stone installed since 2014 after the government refused to pay for it, before Herts Constabulary Great War Society stepped in and donated £480.

The actions that saw 2Lt Young win the British Armed Force’s highest award for gallantry were outlined in the London Gazette on December 13, 1918.

“For most conspicuous bravery, determination and exceptional devotion to duty on 18th September, 1918, south-east of Havrincourt, when during an enemy counter-attack and throughout an extremely intense enemy barrage he visited all posts, warned the garrisons and encouraged the men.

“In the early stages of the attack he rescued two of his men who had been captured and bombed and silenced an enemy machine gun. Although surrounded by the enemy, 2nd Lt. Young fought his way back to the main barricade and drove out a party of the enemy who were assembling there.”

He was last seen fighting hand-to-hand with enemy soldiers and, despite being initially listed as missing, a British patrol found his body on September 27 and he was buried at the Hermies Hill British Cemetery in Hermies, France.

Herts at War project officer Jonty Wild said: “The awarding of a VC is rare and exceptional. Hitchin has one such hero, Frank Young, and he deserves his recognition.

“Much of the war was terrible, but the heroism and devotion to duty of 2Lt Young represents the best of what men could do.”

The service starts at 12 noon at Hitchin War Memorial, with people wishing to attend asked to arrive at 11.45am. It continues in St Mary’s Church afterwards.

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