|Photo credit: Victoria Cross awarded to John Francis Young, VC|
Tilston Memorial Collection of Canadian Military Medals
© Canadian War Museum
The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa has acquired the Victoria Cross that was awarded to Pte. John Francis Young for his service in the First World War.
Pte. Young was 22 years old when he enlisted in 1915. He became a stretcher-bearer with the 87th Infantry Battalion.
On Sept. 2, 1918, Pte. Young was part of a Canadian Corps attack on the German defensive line that ran between the cities of Drocourt and Quéant in northern France.
The Canadians came under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire and suffered heavy casualties. Pte. Young tended to the wounded and several times during the fighting he was forced to leave the battlefield to resupply his medical kit, always returning to continue aiding his comrades. He directed the evacuation of over a dozen men. Unfortunately, Pte. Young was himself injured as a result of inhaling mustard gas on the battlefield.
Pte. Young received his Victoria Cross from King George V on April 30, 1919, at Buckingham Palace.
After the war Pte. Young returned to civilian life in Montréal where he worked for a tobacco company.
He died on Nov. 7, 1929, in a sanatorium in Québec. He was suffering from tuberculosis.
Pte. Young's Victoria Cross was acquired through private purchase from the Young family, according to a spokesperson with the Canadian War Museum, in an email interview. The medal was purchased through the National Collection Fund, which receives contributions from many Canadians who support the acquisition of important artifacts.
According to the museum's spokesperson, it is the Canadian War Museum’s mandate to acquire significant artifacts that illustrate and demonstrate personal stories relating to wartime experiences on the battlefield and on the home front. The Victoria Cross is the highest award for military bravery.