No.3724 Private John Young
According to his enlistment details, John Young was born at Sandford near Casterton in Victoria, in c.1881. There is no match in the Victorian Birth Indexes to confirm this.
Prior to his enlisting in the A.I.F., he was employed as a labourer, and was living at Branxton, Fern Hill, New South Wales.
John Young enlisted in the A.I.F. at the Holsworthy Base near Sydney on 26 October 1915. He completed his initial training at Casula, New South Wales, and was appointed to the 8th Reinforcements for the 20th Battalion.
At the age of 34 years, Private John Young embarked at Sydney on 17 December 1915 per HMAT Berrima A35, as a member of the 8th Reinforcements for the 20th Infantry Battalion. Their ship took them to Egypt, and after arriving there, he was taken on strength with the 20th Battalion at Moascar, on 15 March 1916.
After just a few days in Egypt, his unit embarked at Alexandria per H.M.T. Ingoma, on 18 March 1916, and sailed to France.
After disembarking at Marseilles, the 20th Battalion moved to positions near Pozieres. In July and August 1916, the Battalion took part in the Battle of Pozieres, spending two terms in the front line. Then in November 1916, they launched an attack on Flers, in the muddiest conditions ever experienced by the A.I.F.
The Allies in the crowded trenches on the western front were subjected to several influenza epidemics, and the disease caused many deaths. Typical symptoms of this ‘flu’ were a sore throat, headaches and a loss of appetite. On 21 October 1916, Private John Young was admitted to hospital – sick with influenza. He was treated by 10th Stationary Hospital, the 4th Stationary Hospital, the 6th Australian Field Ambulance and the 11th Stationary Hospital.
On 27 November 1916, he was released from hospital, and was able to re-join the 20th Battalion at Ribemont. They were resting there after being relieved on the front line, and several days later, they relocated to Coisy.
The 20th Battalion were relieved from duty on the front line at Needle Trench, Montauban, on 27 December 1916, and they moved to Delville Wood to rest. On the following day, Private John Young was treated by the Field Ambulance, and was diagnosed as being sick, with Debility (Shell shock). He was treated by the 38th Casualty Clearing Station, the Ambulance train, and the 5th General Hospital at Rouen.
On 15 January 1917, Private John Young was evacuated to England. He embarked per H.S. Glenart Castle, and on the following day, he was admitted to the Colchester Military Hospital, to receive treatment for his Debility. On 27 February 1917, he was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, and was finally discharged from care on 2 March 1917, and granted leave.
After completing his furlough on 17 March 1917, Private John Young marched in to the No. 2 Com Depot Weymouth from A.H.Q. The authorities then made a decision, that he would not return to France, and that he would be invalided back to Australia, due to his being “Overage”.
On 14 May 1917, Private John Young embarked at Devonport per H.T. Runic, and disembarked at Melbourne on 5 July 1917. Once ashore, he was sent by train to Sydney. He subsequently returned to Melbourne, where he was discharged from the A.I.F., on 21 August 1917. The reason for discharge being that he was over age.
A presentation of gold medals to 14 local returned soldiers was held at the Werribee Mechanic's Hall on 29 August 1918. One of those receiving a gold medal was "Private John Young, 20th Battalion, who fought at Pozieres." [This is the only link to the Werribee district that has been found].
Werribee Shire Banner, 5 September 1918, p.3.
In February 1937, John Young was living at Naringal, via Allans Flat, in Victoria, when he wrote to the Repatriation Department, seeking a statement of his prior military service. A reply to him from Base Records was returned to sender on 17 March 1937, marked "Left the country".
Because this name is fairly common, and because there are no relatives recorded in his service file, it has not been possible to follow his story past this time.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal No.30361
- Victory Medal No.30157
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: "Young, J."
The name “Young, J., Mount Cotterell” first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 12 February 1919, p.3.
[This was after the war was over.]
Unit War Diary
Pioneer Index 1837-1888 CD
Federation Index 1889-1901 CD
Edwardian Index 1902-1913 CD
Great War Index 1914-1920 CD