Memorial stone to be laid for Victoria Cross hero

Private Thomas Young VC.Private Thomas Young VC.
Private Thomas Young VC.
A commemorative stone is to be unveiled to honour the memory of a Victoria Cross winner.

Private Thomas Young will be honoured at a special ceremony on Tuesday - marking the 100th anniversary of the act of gallantry which won him the the highest of all military honours.

During the final year of the First World War, he saved nine wounded men from the front line in France.

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The new memorial will be unveiled at 11am, at the war memorial site in Cotswold Lane, Boldon Colliery - Pt Young’s birthplace.

This will be followed by the laying of wreaths by the Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Olive Punchion, Major Chris Lawton, on behalf of Pte Young’s former regiment - The Durham Light

Infantry - and a family representative.

Coun Punshion said: “Pt Thomas Young showed complete disregard for personal danger and incredible bravery in the most harrowing of circumstances. His service in the war is held up

as a magnificent example of courage and devotion to duty, and it is only right that his selfless act of valour is commemorated in his place of birth.

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“This memorial stone will provide a lasting legacy to Pte Young and a place for local people to remember him and pay their respects.”

The event will also include prayers of dedication and remembrance and end with the Last Post, a minute’s silence, then ‘Reveille’, played by DLI buglers.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Coun Ed Malcolm, chairman of South Tyneside’s Armed Forces Forum, said: “The Victoria Cross is the UK's highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy’. This will be a very poignant event, remembering the bravery of such a celebrated local hero.

“This new memorial is a fitting tribute to the centenary of the war and will help to keep Pte Young’s memory alive. It is important that we make sure his selfless actions are never forgotten.”

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Pt Thomas Young was born Thomas Morrell in Boldon Colliery in January 1895 and worked as a miner at High Spen Colliery in Durham, but served as a stretcher bearer with DLI during

the war.

He was honoured for his bravery in March 1918 when he saved the lives of nine men at Bucquoy, France, by - in broad daylight - leaving his trench under heavy fire to bring wounded men from the front line and into cover.

King George V presented him with his Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace in June 1918.

After the war, Pte Young went back down the pit. He died in October 1966, aged 71.

A statue of him Young stands in South Shields Town Hall.

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The Victoria Cross commemorative stone is part of a national scheme that will see every Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War commemorated with a paving stone in communities around the UK.

Two more South Tyneside men were awarded the medal during the First World War - Pte Henry Robson and Joseph Henry Collin.

A commemorative stone to mark the centenary of the brave actions of Pte Robson was unveiled in Robson Way, South Shields, in December 2014 and Joseph Collin, from Jarrow will be honoured next month.

Coun Malcolm added: “This year is a hugely important year for the Armed Forces, marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. It will give us all an opportunity to honour the local heroes and the sacrifices they made for their country and acknowledge the huge impact this conflict had on local communities.”