Topic: George Buchannan Young (1877-1955)

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Scottish born (Uddingston 14/9/1877) George Buchanan Young (43142) (1877-1955) enlisted at the age of 39 in December 1916. He was of fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair and five foot six inches tall. He listed his occupation as "gardener" and considered himself an Anglican.

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Trooper George Buchanan Young (1877-1955)

Military Record here (please click)

He was a married man (Margaret Scott) with two children (George Buchanan Young 17/1/1906 and Isabel Agnes  Young 1/6/1908). These dates, from birth records, were actually reported incorrectly on his military record. 

He was posted overseas on Troopship 98, disembarking at Suez on December 1917 and posted to the Wellington Mounted Rifles the following month.

From "Trooper" he was promoted several times, almost immediately to Lance Corporal (February 1917), then Corporal that same month and Sergeant in May 1917. By December he was returned to Corporal and in January of 1918 at own request became simply Trooper Young again (though an Acting Corporal until April 1918). For a time in January he was a Gas Instructor in Rafa. During his time in Egypt his military record shows he was also, variously, at Moascar, Abbassia, Ismailia, Gaza, Kaulasa and Alexandria.

In November 1918 he was admitted with severe Malaria and jaundice , spent time aboard Hospital Ship Dunlace Castle before being admitted to Hornchurch Hospital in England.

He was discharged in November 1919 as "no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service" and returned to New Zealand aboard S.S. Mamari.

George died in Napier in 1955.


George Buchanan Young (1877-1955) He is remembered by Mary Parker who wrote the following:

George Buchanan Young WW1 43142
14th September 1877 - 11th June 1955

I remember feeling sad when my Grandfather “Pop” died. I was 13 and had not seen him for over a year. This was because he had had a stroke and was not “himself “and my parents decided it would be upsetting for us girls to see him. There was also the fact that he lived in Napier and we were in Te Kuiti. In those days with our old car and the poor roads it was a major expedition for us to travel there. I missed him for years and wished I had been given the opportunity to say goodbye.

He adored his three granddaughters. I was named after his sister and was said to be like the Buchanans. My great Aunt Mary who married but had no children, wrote and sent gifts, always books, to me until she became ill in her eighties and was moved to a nursing home near Glasgow.

Pop had piercing blue eyes, thick strong white hair which he kept shaved to a minimum and a strong muscular body. He had enjoyed the sport of boxing as a young man. He loved the sun and tanned easily. I remember sitting on his lap and pounding his chest with my fists while he pretended not to notice. There was a daredevil streak in him. Sometimes he would drive us to town (Napier) which involved crossing the railway lines near the Station. Midway across he stopped the car and pretended he couldn’t get it going again. We would shriek with fear and delight at his naughtiness (he always denied any such incident to our parents) The treat in town was an ice-cream, a one penny cone. Pop swallowed his with one gulp much to our amazement.

There was a bakery near his house and he walked us there so we could choose a cake or bun. I once chose an almond paste roll which was awful but I ate it and from then on he would buy me one for special occasions. I still don’t like almond paste.

Pop was interested in antiques and he often bought furniture as well as books. I have his large oak table and chairs in use today. It was always a treat for us girls to be allowed to sit in the large carver chair. He had a collection of classics and first edition books, now in my care. He encouraged my interest in books and the world through reading. I treasured a tiny pocket atlas he gave me, using it to point out places he had been.

Pop was born in Glasgow Scotland where his Father, James Young was a coal merchant, and in 1904 he married Margaret Scott, known as “Meg of the red hair”. His older brother James married Margaret’s older sister Jean. My father, George was born in 1906 and there was a daughter, Nancy who died at the age of four from rheumatic fever which Margaret also contracted and she died from a weak heart in 1914.

Pop arrived in NZ around 1910. He lived and worked on a large homestead in Marlborough where he tended the rose gardens amongst other work on the property. In late 1916 he enlisted with the NZ Mounted Rifles. Apparently he joined the cavalry because he didn’t want to be a foot soldier and although he had never ridden a horse he managed to talk his way around that. I remember him telling me that he was involved in a siege in Palestine.

In Napier he worked for Child Welfare and while on a train escorting boys to Borstal he met his second wife Florrie. She was a school teacher and after they married Pop sent her by ship back to Glasgow to bring George then aged 16 out to NZ.

In his garden in Napier Pop used his skill for growing things in an extensive garden. He grew begonias and cyclamen from seed. Beneath the shelves in the glasshouse was a water filled tray to create humidity. My sister June remembers the frogs which lived in the tray. He also grew grapes for home brewed wine. Occasionally we were given a taste of this wine. I didn’t like it but drank it anyway because it was a secret treat. June also remembers spending weeks with Pop and Florrie prior to my birth and until our Mother recovered. Pop had made a kidney shaped dressing table especially for her.

He must have enjoyed his three granddaughters and I know he was very fond of our Mother. I can remember him teasing her and her laughter. June says, Pop in a fun way tried to correct our NZ accents. His Glasgow accent was probably strong but we never had any difficulty understanding him.

The Buchanan clan was Pop’s mothers, and originated near Loch Lomond. A George Buchanan was tutor to James 6th and was Historian for Scotland in the 17th century. My Dad always claimed his and his father’s interest in history to this ancestor.


A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC

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George Buchannan Young (1877-1955)

First Names:George Buchanan
Last Name:Young
Date of Birth:14 September 1877
Place of Birth:Uddington
Country of birth:Scottland
Date of death:11 June 1955
Place of death:Napier
Occupation:Gardner, Soldier, and Juvenile Probation Officer
Spouses name:Margaret Scott and Florrie (second wife)
Fathers name:James Young
Mothers name:Agnes Young
Name of the children:George and Isabelle
Military Service:WWI
Member of Society:Church of England, Masonic Lodge
Activities involved in:Boxing, Scouting (scout leader)

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