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New Memorial Honours Private Thomas Young

The heroic actions of Victoria Cross hero Private Thomas Young were celebrated today (27 March) with the unveiling of a new commemorative stone.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Olive Punchion was joined by civic dignitaries and members of the armed forces community to unveil the stone during a special ceremony in Boldon Colliery, the area where Pte Young was born.

The event marked the 100th anniversary of Private Young's act of gallantry that saw him receive the prestigious Victoria Cross - the highest award in the UK's honours system.

In March 1918 during the final year of the First World War, Pte Young saved the lives of nine men at Bucquoy, France. On that day in broad daylight, he left his trench under heavy fire to bring wounded men from the front line and into cover.

The Mayor said: "It was a great honour to unveil this commemorative stone marking the 100th anniversary of Pte Young's act of incredible courage and in the area where he was born.

"Pte Young saved the lives of nine of his comrades that terrible day and was recognised with the Victoria Cross. His story is one of inspiration and this new memorial will act as a symbol of remembrance for generations to come."

During the ceremony, wreaths were laid by the Mayor, Major Chris Lawton on behalf of Pte Young's old regiment Durham Light Infantry (DLI) and John Milner of behalf of the family.

The event also included prayers of dedication and remembrance and ended with the 'Last Post', a minute's silence, then 'Reveille', played by DLI buglers.

John Milner, the eldest of Pte Young's eight grandchildren, said: "Seeing the stone unveiled was a very proud moment for our family. The ceremony was lovely and it was wonderful to see my grandfather's old regiment there. We'd like to thank the support of local people in helping us to commemorate his brave actions."

Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chairman of South Tyneside's Armed Forces Forum, said: "This new memorial is a fitting tribute to the centenary of the war and will help to keep Pte Young's memory alive for 100 more years to come. It is important that we make sure his selfless actions are never forgotten."

Pte Thomas Young was born Thomas Morrell in Boldon Colliery in January 1895. He worked as a miner at High Spen Colliery in Durham, but served as a stretcher bearer with DLI during the First World War.

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

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.

Pte Young is one of three South Tyneside men, who were awarded the medal during the First World War. A commemorative stone was unveiled in December 2014 in commemoration of Pte Henry Robson. Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin, of Jarrow, will be honoured next month.


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