The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3537) Private James Henry Young, 1st Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Pas de Calais, Bethune, Fleurbaix
Accession Number AWM2017.1.283
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 10 October 2017
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Charis May, the story for this day was on (3537) Private James Henry Young, 1st Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

3537 Private James Henry Young, 1st Battalion, AIF
DOW 10 May 1916

Story delivered 10 October 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private James Henry Young.

Jim Young was born in Coonamble, New South Wales, on 9 September 1896, to William and Catherine Young. Little is known of his early life, although it appears his mother died when he was quite young. He worked at a Gulgong store before entering the Postal Department and working as a telegraph messenger in the Mudgee Post Office.

Jim Young enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915. As he was only 18 years old at the time, he needed his father’s permission to do so. He underwent a period of training in Australia before leaving for active service overseas with the 11th reinforcements to the 1st Battalion in October 1915. Private Young was first sent to Egypt, falling ill with the mumps shortly after his arrival. He did not recover until after the evacuation from Gallipoli, joining the rest of the 1st Battalion as they returned from the peninsula. He remained in Egypt for several weeks, training in the desert, before his battalion was sent to France to fight on the Western Front.

The 1st Battalion arrived in France in late March 1916, and shortly afterwards entered the trenches in a quiet sector of the front, to gain valuable experience of trench warfare. On 9 May, the 1st battalion had been in the front line near Fleurbaix for some days. While not called on to conduct any operations against German positions, the men came
under occasional enemy fire. At some point on that day, Jim Young was hit in the head by a bullet.

He was evacuated from the front line with a seriously fractured skull, and the following morning was taken to a nearby casualty clearing station. A member of the staff there later wrote to Young’s father to say “he never regained consciousness, and passed away about two hours after admission. Everything possible was done for him, but the injuries were too severe for human aid.”

William Young received a number of letters from serving soldiers following his son’s death. Private Jim Young’s company commander wrote:
Many a good Australian lad have I seen cut down since I first entered action … but next to my own brothers, who died earlier last year, I have never felt the loss of one of our boys so keenly as I did when I heard of Jim Young’s death … I feel his loss very keenly, for a more willing, brave and steady soldier would be hard to find. In fact, he was my best lad out of 56, and I held him in the highest esteem.

At the time of Jim Young’s death, he had three brothers serving in the AIF, and another, Harold, waiting for his father’s permission to enlist at the age of 18. Harold successfully enlisted in 1917 and died of illness the following year. William Young had travelled to England by that stage, and was at his second son’s side as he died. Jim had died at the age of 20, Harold was 18.

Their names are listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private James Henry Young and his brother Private Harold Bede Young, who gave their lives for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3537) Private James Henry Young, 1st Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)