Personal info

  • Name: John Francis YOUNG
  • D.O.B: 14th January, 1893
  • D.O.A: 4th September, 1918
  • D.O.D: 7th November, 1929
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 87th Battalion The Quebec Regiment (Canadian Grenadier Guards), 11th Brigade, 4th Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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The Drocourt-Quéant Line, France 2-4 September 1918

2-4 September 1918

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The First World War 1918 

On 2 September 1918 the Allies attacked and broke through the Drocourt-Quéant Line, the German defensive position east of Arras stretching from Drocourt, just south-east of Lens, in the north, to Quéant, north-east of Bapaume and west of Cambrai, in the south. 11th Division of XXII Corps was south of the River Scarpe and moved south-eastwards from near Hamblain-les-Prés. It was in a reconnaissance across the River Cojeul, southwest of Étaing, during which a German machine-gun post was also knocked-out, that Lance Sergeant A W Evans, 6th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment, distinguished himself. On 11th Division’s flank to the south, 4th Canadian Division advanced north of the Arras to Cambrai road and 75th Battalion 1st Central Ontario Regiment and 87th Battalion Quebec Regiment took part in the attack on German positions near Dury. Captain B S Hutcheson, Canadian Army Medical Corps, attached to 75th Battalion, and Private J F Young, 87th Battalion, a stretcher-bearer, showed conspicuous bravery under fire in this sector. 1st Canadian Division advanced south of the Arras to Cambrai road. 10th Battalion Alberta Regiment captured Villers-lès-Cagnicourt, just south of the road. Sergeant A G Knight exhibited great gallantry during this action. 16th Battalion The Manitoba Regiment met heavy machine-gun fire near Cagnicourt, just to the south, and Lieutenant Colonel C W Peck distinguished himself by his steadfastness in overcoming this resistance. Lance Corporal W H Metcalf, of the same battalion, led a tank to attack the enemy during this action. Private W L Rayfield, 7th Battalion The British Columbia Regiment, also showed conspicuous bravery in the fighting near Cagnicourt. To the south of the Canadians, XVII Corps manned the line. 1st Battalion The Royal Munster Fusiliers took part in the advance east of Riencourt-lès-Cagnicourt. It was in the fighting here that Company Sergeant Major M Doyle distinguished himself by his gallantry. South-east of Riencourt and Quéant, 63rd Royal Naval Division pushed forwards and Commander D M W Beak (see 21-25 August 1918 above) and Chief Petty Officer G Prowse were awarded the VC for their part in the fighting at Pronville.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in attack at Dury-Arras sector on the 2nd September, 1918, when acting as a stretcher-bearer attached to “D” Company of the 87th Bn., Quebec Regiment. This company in the advance over the ridge suffered heavy casualties from shell and machine-gun fire. Pte. Young, in spite of the complete absence of cover, without the least hesitation went out, and in the open fire-swept ground dressed the wounded. Having exhausted his stock of dressings, on more than one occasion he returned, under intense fire, to his company headquarters for a further supply. This work he continued for over an hour, displaying throughout the most absolute fearlessness. To his courageous conduct must be ascribed the saving of the lives of many of his comrades. Later, when the fire had somewhat slackened, he organised and led stretcher parties to bring in the wounded whom he had dressed. All through the operations of 2nd, 3rd and 4th September Pte. Young continued to show the greatest valour and devotion to duty. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 13 December 1918. 14 December 1918, Numb. 31067, p. 14779

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