YOUNG, William Edward

  1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Awards and Honours
  5. Notes
  6. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
World War II
Date of Enlistment
Date of Discharge
Place of Enlistment
New South Wales

Personal Details

Other Name(s)
Known as 'Ted'
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Leeton NSW
Address (at enlistment)
Anzac Park, Reid ACT
School(s) Attended
Leeton Public School, Yanco Agricultural High School
Public servant
Next of Kin
Jean Young (wife), Anzac Park, Reid ACT

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
Final Rank
Final Unit
3 Battalion

Awards and Honours

Military Cross awarded for his actions at Gona, Papua on 24-25 November 1942.


Ted Young arrived in Canberra in 1936 to work at the Patents Office and lived at Gorman House. He joined the 3rd Battalion militia (the Werriwa Regiment) later that year. He also played rugby union with Northern Suburbs before enlisting and was a highly regarded five-eighth or centre, playing in trials for NSW Country.

Young was commissioned in July 1941 and commanded a mortar platoon in HQ Company, 3 Battalion. He arrived in Papua in May 1942 where 3 Battalion were to garrison Port Moresby. On 13 June, Young and Lt. Alex Palmer began a reconnaissance mission over the Kokoda Track to identify possible defensive positions and to report on the possibility of constructing a road to Kokoda from Sogeri. They were the first two officers of the Australian army to make the trek.

In July 1942 the Japanese landed at Gona on the north coast of Papua and by mid September they had advanced over the Kokoda Track to Ioribaiwa Ridge. On 5 September 1942, the 3rd Battalion entered the Kokoda Track and took part in the Australian defence at Imita Ridge and Ioribaiwa. Thereafter they patrolled forward through Menari, Efogi and Templeton's Crossing where particularly bitter fighting took place. Their final battle in the Kokoda campaign was at Oivi in November 1942.

The Japanese retreated to their strongholds at Gona, Buna and Sanananda on the north coast of Papua. 3 Battalion were part of the campaign at Gona during November 1942 and it was at Gona where Young was wounded by artillery fire on 25 November 1942 as well as earning the Military Cross for "sustained coolness and bravery". The citation states: "At Gona on 24 and 25 November 1942, Lieut. Young led a patrol into the right flank of the enemy position, guided another patrol and finally guided his Company in an assault against prepared enemy positions. During the first patrol, Lieut. Young shot two of the enemy, in the second patrol of the following day he courageously moved forward with the leading scout to draw fire and thus locate the enemy weapons and the assault on the same day continued to give direction to his Company Commander after receiving wounds in both legs. Lieut. Young exhibited the same quality of leadership in action at Templeton's Crossing on 18 October 1942 and at Oivi from the 5-11 November 1942".

Due to his injuries, one leg was amputated at Soputa and the other after he was evacuated to Brisbane. However, shortly after his operation at Soputa the hospital was bombed and the surgeons were killed. Young, barely conscious, was carried out by Allan Johnstone and another man. He made it home but had a horrendous train trip after his second operation at Brisbane, firstly to Sydney, where the hospital at Concord had no beds, and then on an ambulance train to Tamworth - known by locals as the 'Death Train' - where facilities were primitive.

After convalescing Young returned to Canberra to live with his wife and family. His neighbours raised money to buy him a wheelchair and in 1944 the Red Cross presented him with a car especially fitted for hand driving. A ramp was also constructed at East Block so that he could return to work with the Tariff Branch of the Department of Trade and Customs. In 1954 Young met the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. He later lived in Kempsey and Dolphin Point. Ted Young died on 17 March 2003 at Temora Hospital. He and his wife were reinterred at Gungahlin Cemetery on 24 October 2004.

Description - height 5 feet 11 inches, weight 140 pounds, chest 32-36.5 inches, Presbyterian.


Stand-to: Journal of the Australian Capital Territory Branch, RSSAILA. vol.1, March 1950 (p.27-28)
ACT Electoral Rolls 1916 to 1967
WWII Nominal Roll
Canberra Public Cemeteries
A.F. Duffell, 'Norths: The First Fifty Years', 1988
Alan Fewster (ed.), 'Capital Correspondent: The Canberra Letters of Edwin Charles 1936-37', 2002
Gavin Young, 'A Kokoda survivor's harrowing war ordeal', The Canberra Times - 25 April 2003
The Canberra Times - 10 May 1938, 20 May 1939, 24 June 1939, 15 January 1943, 29 November 1944, 18 February 1954
Ken Laycock, 'Memories of a Militiaman', 1995 (typescript in ACT Heritage Library)
AWM Honours & Awards
NAA RecordSearch - Series B884 (Citizen's Military Forces Personnel Dossiers, 1939-1947)
Images and information provided by Gavin Young

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Ted Young with his mother, Rene (right) and sister, Berenice (left) at Manly, 1942 shortly before leaving for Port Moresby. Image courtesy of Gavin Young.

Ted Young with his mother, Rene (right) and sister, Berenice (left) at Manly, 1942 shortly before leaving for Port Moresby. Image courtesy of Gavin Young.

Ted Young at hospital in Baulkham Hills, Sydney, 1943. Image courtesy of Gavin Young.

Ted Young at hospital in Baulkham Hills, Sydney, 1943. Image courtesy of Gavin Young.

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