Hitchin’s only Victoria Cross winner honoured with commemorative stone
PUBLISHED: 13:50 15 January 2019
People gathered at Hitchin’s war memorial on Sunday to remember the town’s only Victoria Cross winner – as a commemorative paving stone honouring him was unveiled.
First World War Second Lieutenant Frank Edward Young won the VC in September 1918 for his actions at the Battle of Havrincourt.
And now, just over a century on, there is a permanent memorial to him at the town’s war memorial – which members of his family could admire for the first time on Sunday.
The team at Herts at War have been fighting to have the stone installed since 2014, with project officer Jonty Wild among those to attend the service.
“It was pleasing to see so many people at the memorial and in St Mary’s Church afterwards,” he said.
“It was especially good to see so many members of his family in attendance. I am sure they were very proud of Frank and of how Hitchin came together to remember him.
“We should all be proud of this Hitchin man’s heroism.”
The actions that saw him 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.”
The stone was provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as part of a national programme to commemorate First World War VC winners.
North Herts District Council organised the event, with the executive member for community engagement, Councillor Tony Hunter, saying: “It was a great honour for me to commemorate the remarkable heroism of 2nd Lt Frank Young. His story is one of great bravery and loyalty to his men in the face of peril. Let us celebrate his valour and remember all those who fought for their country.”