Archibald Young GC (EM exchanger)

b. 29/02/1892 Scotland. d. 07/11/1976 ?

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 20/06/1916 Roslin, Scotland.

Archibald Young (1892-1976) was born on 29th February 1892 in England. Little is known about his father though by the 1901 Scotland Census, it is clear he was deceased, as Archibald was living with his mother Mary, and a 16 year-old servant Margaret Ferguson in Kelton, Kirkcudbrightshire. His mother seems to have moved to Castle Douglas following being widowed. Archibald was educated at Castle Douglas School and Dumfries Academy. He then went on to train as a chartered accountant, qualifying in 1915.

Archibald Young GC

In 1917, Archibald enlisted with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers but after only a few weeks, he was released to work at the Roslin Explosives Factory in Midlothian, Scotland. It was whilst at the Factory that the incident occurred which led to the award of the Edward Medal.

On the 20th June 1916, there was a small explosion in a building full of explosives. The building caught fire. William Morrison and George Sang, aware that four girls were inside, at once ran towards it. As they approached, two girls came out and fell unconscious on the grass. The building was now burning fiercely but Morrison and Sang,who knew the location of the explosives within, used buckets of water to keep the fire back. Morrison then went in, and found one of the girls and passed her out to Archibald Young, who had just arrived. Morrison then went back in for the last girl and brought her out, while Young placed the other girl into safety. Sang continued to keep the fire down enough for the other two to work.

During the whole time small explosions were continually taking place within the building, and immediately after the second rescue a heavy explosion occurred, which flattened down part of it. Twelve minutes after the original explosion the whole building blew up.

On 1st January 1917, the London Gazette published the announcement of the award of an Edward Medal First Class to William Alexander Morrison, and Edward Medals Second Class to Archibald Young and George Sang. Archibald also received the Certificate of the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust.

After the war, he returned to work as a chartered accountant, was married and had a daughter. In 1971, following a change in the Royal Warrant, the offer was made to exchange either Albert Medals or Edward Medals for a George Cross. Sadly of the three recipients at Roslin, only Archibald was still alive, and indeed, was the oldest surviving holder of the Edward Medal. He chose to exchange his medal. Archibald died on 7th November 1976, aged 84, though the final resting place is not known. His George Cross is held and displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle.





Marion Hebblethwaite – Image of Archibald Young GC.