|CAPTAIN AND ADJUTANT JAMES YOUNG
1ST Administrative Battalion Stirlingshire Rifle Volunteers
Late 79th (Cameron Highlanders) Regiment
James Young, the son of George Young, a
blacksmith, and his wife Isabel, was born
at Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, (a small
village now part of Glasgow) on the 22nd
of November, 1815. James enlisted into
the 79th (Cameron Highlanders)
Regiment on the 27th May, 1831.
He was promoted to Corporal on the 27th
of July, 1840, to Sergeant on the 31st of
December, 1841, to Colour Sergeant on
the 14th August, 1845 and
Sergeant-Major on the 12th of May,
1854. He was granted a commission as an
Ensign and appointed Adjutant of the
79th Highlanders on the 2nd of October,
1854. James was promoted Lieutenant
and Adjutant without purchase on the
9th of February, 1855. Lieutenant Young
resigned his appointment as Adjutant on
the 17th of June, 1858 and was promoted
Captain, again without purchase, on the
11th of May, 1860.
James’ overseas service included Gibraltar from the 2nd of June, 1840 to June 1848;
service in Canada from August 1848 to August 1851; service in the Crimea from
August 1854 to June 1856; and service in the East Indies from July 1857 to May
James Young took part in the Eastern Campaign in the Crimea with his Regiment in
1854 and 1855, including the Battle of the Alma on the 20th of September, 1854.
Kinglake, in his seminal history of the Crimean War, "The Invasion of the Crimea,"
described the arrival on the field and the advance of the 79th at the Alma as: “...yet
another array of the tall, bending plumes began to rise up in a long, ceaseless line,
stretching far into the east, and presently, with all the grace and beauty that marks
a Highland regiment when it springs up the side of a hill, the 79th came bounding
Without a halt, or with only the halt that was needed for dressing the ranks, it sprang
at the flank of the right Sousdal Column, and caught it in its sin—caught it daring to
march across the front of a battalion advancing in line. Wrapped in the fire thus
poured upon its flank, the hapless column could not march, could not live; it broke and
began to fall back in great confusion…” The 79th Highlanders lost two men killed and
seven wounded at the Battle of the Alma.
James Young was present with his Regiment during the abortive assault on the Redan
at Sebastopol on the 18th of June. The Regiment remained under arms in reserve
for 16 hours, but was never called upon for the attack.
The 79th Highlanders were part of the expedition to Kertch and Yenikale at the
entrance to the Sea of Azof in May, 1855. These positions were captured with little
resistance from the Russians. The 79th Highlanders occupied the Russian barracks,
setting fire to them before returning to Sebastopol.
During the second assault on the Sebastopol defenses of September 8th and 9th, in
preparation for the attack, the soldiers of the Regiment were relieved of their
knapsacks and feather bonnets, only to find that the enemy had evacuated their
positions and were in full retreat across the harbor. During the siege of Sebastopol,
although never in the thick of it, the 79th Highlanders lost 17 men killed and 45
wounded including Lieutenant M’Barnet and Assistant-Surgeon Lundy.
According to the Regimental history, Lieutenant James Young was one of only 8
officers of his Regiment and only 222 officers of the entire British Army to have
had the distinction of remaining in the Crimea from the first day of the war to the
For his service during the Crimean War, James Young was granted a commission as
Ensign and appointed Adjutant of the Regiment, was promoted Lieutenant without
purchase, appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour by the French government
(one of five awarded to the Regiment) and was awarded the Crimean medal with
three clasps and the Turkish Crimea medal.
The reason why Sergeant-Major Young was granted a commission is unknown; however,
the award of his commission predated the special ensigncy granted by the Queen in
January of 1855 to one NCO in every cavalry and infantry regiment in the Crimea as a
mark of her recognition of the meritorious service of the NCOs of the Army. Nor is
the date correct for Young’s commission to have been one of the emergency
commissions granted following the battle of Alma.
In June of 1856, the 79th Regiment returned to England following their service in the
Crimea. In August of 1857, with Lieutenant Young still serving as Adjutant, the
Regiment set sail for India having been order out for active service in the
suppression of the Indian Mutiny. The Regiment arrived at Fort William on the
28th of November and then proceeded up country.
The Regiment was victorious in its first action with the mutineers at Secundragunge
on the 5th of January, 1858, where the mutineers fled with the first rounds of
gunfire. On January 18th, the Regiment left Allahabad for Lucknow, joining Sir
Colin Campbell’s column on the 28th of February at Camp Bunterah. After passing
the Goomtee, the Regiment joined the force under Sir James Outram. The 79th
took part in the siege and capture of Lucknow from the 2nd of March until the
16th. The Regiment took a prominent part in the actions on the Goomtee, at the
Badshahbagh and in the capture of the Great Imambara. Its losses were 7 other
ranks and 2 officers killed and 21 other ranks wounded.
After the fall of Lucknow, the Regiment was ordered to join a force which was to
advance up the left bank of the Ganges, penetrate into Rochilcund, and to disperse
the scattered bodies of mutineers present there. On the 15th of April, the force
reached the fort at Rooyah where a victory was obtained, but with a cost of 130 men
killed and wounded, including Brigadier Adrian Hope.
According to the Regimental History, on the 20th of April, “Lieutenant Young, the
adjutant of the 79th, an old soldier’ finding himself completely knocked up, was
obliged to go on the sick-list…” Lieutenant Young along with 34 other men were
sent to Futtyghur on the 24th of April. James Young resigned his appointment as
Adjutant of the 79th Regiment on the 17th of June, 1858 and was invalided home.
For his services during the Indian Mutiny, James Young was awarded the Indian
Mutiny medal with clasp for Lucknow.
James was promoted Captain in the 79th Regiment, again without purchase, on the 11th of May, 1860. He was “obliged”
to retire from the Regiment on the 30th of November, 1860, presumably due to health reasons. At the time of his
retirement, he had served approximately 29 years with the 79th Regiment.
The Regimental History remembers James Young as “an outstanding figure in his day.” It further states that “As
Adjutant, he was still known in the Regiment by his nickname of “The Nailer” - that being his trade as originally
entered in his small-book on enlistment.”
James was appointed Captain and Adjutant upon the formation of the 1st Administrative Battalion Stirlingshire Rifle
Volunteers on the 9th of June, 1860. He remained active with the Battalion over the next 13 years. Captain Young took
part in the Great Review of 1860, when Queen Victoria reviewed all Scottish Volunteer Corps at Queen's Park,
Captain Young was frequently mentioned in unit histories concerning routine duties, including training, battalion
inspections and regimental dinners. He substituted on one occasion as Inspection Officer when the Lord-Lieutenant
(Duke of Montrose), failed to show. On another occasion, he was "heartily cheered" by the Battalion when that was
proposed by their Commanding Officer for the excellent progress he had made with their training and drill.
James married his third wife, Margaret Burr, on the 4th of December, 1872. Margaret was approximately 44 years
old at the time of their marriage and James was 57 years old.
Captain James Young died at East Wemyss on the 14th of August, 1873. At the time of his death, between his service
with the 79th Regiment and with the Stirlingshire Rifle Volunteers, James Young had served 42 years in the military.
The following article appeared in the August 20th edition of the Scotsman newspaper regarding the death of Captain
“Stirling—Funeral of Captain and Adjutant Young. Yesterday, the remains of Captain Young, Adjutant of the
Stirlingshire Rifle Volunteers, whose death occurred at East Wemyss, Fifeshire, on Thursday, were interred, with
military honours, in Stirling Cemetery. The cortege left the residence of the deceased officer shortly after half-past
two o’clock in the following order:-- Firing party of 100 men, under command of Captain Galbraith, 1st S.R.V.; pipers; the
band of the battalion; the coffin, borne by six men, and covered with the Union Jack; Captain Nimmo, 3rd S.R.V.;
Captain Wilson, 9th S.R.V.; Captain Wilson, 9th S.R.V.; Captain Turnbull, 11th S.R.V.; and Captain and Adjutant
Chalmers, Clackmannanshire R.V.—officiating as pall-bearers; the relatives and friends; Volunteers, of whom there
were upwards of 300; the drill instructors of the battalion; the officers of the battalion; staff sergeants of the
Highland Borderer’s Militia; detachments of the 21st, 72nd, and 91st Regiments, Stirling Castle. Great numbers of
spectators lined the way taken by the procession, and the cemetery was quite filled. On arriving at the grave, a short
service was engaged in by Rev. Mr. Stephen, assistant to Rev. Dr. Alexander, of whose church the deceased was a
member. After the coffin had been lowered into the grave, three volleys were fired, the band playing between the
volleys the “Old Hundred”. The volunteers were then reformed, and proceeded to the High School square, where they
were dismissed. Among those who attended to pay a last tribute of respect to the deceased were Sir C.R.G. Maitland,
M.P. for Mid-Lothian; Sheriff-Substitute Sconce; Colonel Hope, C.B., 58th Brigade Depot, Stirling; the officers of
the regiment in Stirling Castle, &c.”
Captain Young, in addition to his widow Margaret Burr, was survived by three of his children: James Young, Isabella
Young and Frances Leigh Young. His probate estate was valued at approximately 2,000 pounds, which did not include a
trust fund of 1,000 pounds that he had established for the benefit of his widow, Margaret Burr, pursuant to a contract
of marriage between them.
Captain James Young’s son James served as a Colour-Sergeant in his father’s old regiment, which by then had been
renamed The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. He died at Gibraltar on the 12th of March, 1898.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 1 May 1857.
Stirling Sherriff Court, 11/02/1874 Ref. SC67/36/64.
Birth, Marriage & Death Records for Edinburgh, Midlothian, 1859.
Historical Records of the 79th Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, MacVeigh, 1888.
Historical Records of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, Blackwood & Sons, 1962.
"79th News" September, 1898.
Hart's Annual Army List, 1860.
The Scotman, 20 August 1873, pg. 4.
1861 Census of Scotland.
On the 16th of February, 1859, James Young married Frances Leigh Cormack, the daughter of the late Michael Cormack,
at St. Stephens Church in Edinburgh. James was stated to be a widower (although no record of a prior marriage can be
found), was forty-two years old, and was a resident of the Barracks at Perth. Frances was twenty-seven years old, a
spinster and a resident of Edinburgh. They were to have four children together. The first, a son named they named
George, was born in January of 1860 and died the next month. Next was another son, James, born in 1861. A daughter,
Isabella, was born in 1864. Finally, another daughter was born on the 13th of October 1865, who was named Frances
Leigh after her mother. Sadly, James was widowed for a second time when Frances died on the 28th of October, 1865,
within days of having given birth to her daughter, very probably from complications from childbirth.
James was laid to rest in Section W of Marr Place
Cemetery in Stirling in a plot next to his second wife,
Frances. Their son George is buried with them.
|Special thanks to Anne Anderson for the pictures taken at Marr Place Cemetery|