Victoria Cross hero to be commemorated with Hitchin memorial

Lieutenant Frank Young, from Hitchin, was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918.

Lieutenant Frank Young, from Hitchin, was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918. - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin hero who died in the First World War will be commemorated in the town after county police stumped up the money for a memorial – because the government refused to pick up the tab.

Frank Young died amid fierce fighting at the battle at Havrincourt after receiving a head wound caused by shell fire on September 18, 1918.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery and, under a new government scheme to remember recipients of the VC, he should have qualified to have a paving stone laid in the town in his memory.

But because he was born in India, which was part of the British Empire, in the late 1890s and not in the UK he was left off of the list.

Now the Herts Constabulary Great War Society has stepped in and donated £480 to pay for the stone.

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Speaking on behalf of the society Terry Cox said: “We are delighted to be able to help recognise Frank Young’s incredible courage and sacrifice.

“Although he was born abroad we feel strongly that he should be commemorated in the town that he called home.”

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Frank left for France at the end of 1914 was soon promoted to sergeant and then made a bombing instructor.

He was wounded in a training accident but after recovering was selected for officer training and commissioned as a lieutenant in April 1917.

He was declared missing in action after fighting on the Western Front in September 1918.

A report of the battle said: “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.

“Throughout four hours of intense hand-to-hand fighting he displayed the utmost valour and devotion to duty, and set an example to which the company gallantly responded.

“He was last seen fighting hand to hand against a considerable number of the enemy”

Dan Hill, project co-ordinator of the Herts at War project, said: “Thanks to the generosity of the Great War Society the sacrifice made by one of Hitchin, and Hertfordshire’s, most famous sons can be acknowledged 100 years to the day that both his death and heroism in action occurred.”

It is not yet known where the stone will be laid or when.

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