Victor George Youngs

Victor was born in Postwick, Norfolk on 10 August 1897 and baptised in the local church on 12 September 1897. His parents were Emily and George Youngs. His father was a domestic gardener. He had a brother and sister;

Alice Maud born 9 October 1895

Andrew Sydney born 3 December 1899

In 1901 the family lived on Marsh Road, Postwick but by 1911 they had moved to The Bungalow, Poringland, Norwich. Victor and Andrew were both still at school but Alice had left home. She was working as a domestic servant for Charles Von Bergen at Konbijou, North Walsham Road, Norwich.

During the war Victor served initially in the Norfolk Regiment, No.1836 and then transferred to the 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment No. 43441.

This regiment was involved in the Battle of Nieuport on 10 July 1917.

 The Western Front began in the sand dunes near Nieuport in Belgium, The trenches went through the dunes towards the sea. Nearby was the river Yser and the Yser canal. In 1917 British troops had moved into the area with intention of mounting a seaborne coastal attack. However on 10 July 1917 the Germans took them by surprise and began shelling the area from 6 am and then continued throughout the day. The bridges across the canal and river were destroyed by the bombardment. At 7.15pm the German marines attacked and the men in the forward trenches were surrounded . Many men were killed and about 1,200 men became prisoners of war. A few who could swim managed to escape but it is thought that only about 70 men and 4 officers remained of the regiments. The Northamptonshire Regiment was almost destroyed.

In 1917 Victor’s parents were living at Belcombe Lodge, The Street, Saxlingham Nethergate. Victor’s father was probably working as a gardener for Major Houghton who lived at Belcombe House, as Belcombe Lodge was a tied cottage.

On 10th July 1917 Victor was reported as being missing. This was reported in the War Office Daily list 5339 on 16 August 1917. His next of kin was said to be living in Saxlingham and had been informed.

In the local paper, The Eastern Daily Press on 12 September 1917 there is the following report.

‘Mr and Mrs Youngs of Saxlingham Nethergate have received a postcard from their son Victor Youngs of the Northamptonshire Regiment, who was reported missing on July 10th to say he is a prisoner of war and well’

In the War Office Daily list 5379 on 2 October 1917 it stated that Victor Youngs ‘ previously reported missing was now a prisoner in German hands.’

The Prisoner of War Camps supplied details of their prisoners to the Red Cross. On 19 October 1917 Victor was in Dulmen Prisoner of War Camp (for more details about this camp see the entry for Charles Baker). Victor had been captured on 10 July 1917 at Nieuport and had initially been held at Termonde in Belgium. The entry listed Mrs Youngs, Belcombe Lodge, Saxlingham, Norwich as his next of kin.

On 12 January 1918 he had been transferred to the Lechfeld Prisoner of War Camp at   at Lager Lechfeld in Bavaria. This camp could accommodate 20,000 prisoners. He was still there on 22 February 1919.

Although the war had ended in November 1918 it took time for the prisoners of war to be repatriated. Reports made for the Red Cross about the camps between December 1918 and March 1919 list problems caused by the infrastructure of Germany and influenza epidemic. Thousands of prisoners of different nationalities had to be dealt with.

It is not known when Victor was repatriated or by which route. However many of the prisoners in Bavaria went back by train via Switzerland.

He was demobbed on 2 April 1919 and returned to live in Saxlingham, his address being given as The Street, Saxlingham Nethergate.

In January 1924 aged 26 years old he married Mabel Annie Dade in St. Mary’s Church, Saxlingham. She was 25 years old and came from Saxlingham. Her parents were Ephraim and Sarah Ann Dade. Her father was a carrier. Her address was given as Manor Farm. Victor was working as a groom and had the same address.

Mabel died in September 1929 aged 33 years old.

Victor remarried in the summer of 1933 in Smallburgh. His wife was Olga Doris Powley born 16 July 1901 in Woodbastwick.

In 1939 they were living in Church Cottages, Newmarket and Victor was working as a racehorse stud man.

In 1955 Olga and Victor lived on The Green, Upend, Kirtling in Cambridgeshire.

Olga died in 1958 and for the rest of his life Victor lived at 48 High Street, Silsoe, Bedfordshire with his sister Alice Maud Youngs.

 He died in 1971 in Amptill, Bedfordshire


England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death index 1837-2005

UK Census Collection

British Army Medal Roll Index cards, 1914-1920

1939 Register-

Norfolk Electoral Rolls- Southern Division, Saxlingham Nethergate and Thorpe  (Absent Voters, 1918-1920)

Norfolk, Church of England Diocesan Baptismal Records.

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar 1858-1995

Prisoner of War Records held by the Red Cross.

St Mary’s Church Saxlingham Marriage records (transcribed by Mary Muir)

Eastern Daily Press 12 September 1917

Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Electoral Rolls, 1955 to 1971

https://westernfront1917  Nieuport The Forgotten Battle

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