Touching appeal for Uncle Tom to be remembered

editorial image

A man whose “uncle” was Wetherby’s first casualty of World War One has asked that residents remember him.

In a touching tribute David Whithorn, of Kempshott, Basingstoke, appealed for someone to place a poppy cross for Pte Thomas Young of the 2nd West Yorkshire Regt on Remembrance Sunday.

Mr Whithorn, who is committed to attend a service in Basingstoke on November 9, said: “Hopefully, in this special centenary year the people of Wetherby will come to realise the names on their war memorial are not just names of long-dead soldiers, they still mean something to many people 100 years on and to people who live quite a distance away.

“I wish I could be in Wetherby and place a poppy cross there for my ‘Uncle Tom’ (I do not count the ‘greats’ for the generations between he and I) at the Remembrance service.”

He said Pte Young was a soldier before the outbreak of the Great war and had been due to leave the army in September 1914 but was retained and killed in action on December 12, 1914.

Mr Whithorn added: “His death is not recorded in the battalion war diary, but the battalion were in the line before the village of Neuve Chapelle close to a German fortification known as the ‘Moated Grange’.

“This was home to many German snipers, and we believe he was indeed killed by one of these that morning.”

The nephew made a visit to Wetherby a few years ago and added: “My wife and I were kindly shown around the town to see the War Memorial on the bridge where he is named and on two others in local churches.

“One of these is in the Methodist chapel right next door to where his family lived in Fox’s Yard in the town.”

“If on this very special anniversary, someone could place a poppy cross simply inscribed ‘for Uncle Tom’ there at the service, I would be very grateful.”