Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 28, 1897
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Jane Young (mother), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingStudent
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number151360
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion1st Canadian Mounted Rifles
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentBrandon, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 21, 1952
Age at Death55

Young, Isaac

Lance Corporal Isaac Young enlisted in the fall of 1915 and served in France with an infantry unit. He was seriously wounded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and returned to Canada eight months later.

Isaac was the son of Isaac Young Sr. and Jane Johnston of Kenora, Ontario. Isaac Sr., a farmer, was born in England and Jane in Huron County, Ontario. They were married in Wingham, Huron County in 1889. A daughter Mary Jane was born the following year and a son Robert John in 1895. Not long after Robert’s birth they moved to northwestern Ontario and settled in Rat Portage (now known as Kenora), where Isaac Sr. worked as a blacksmith. Two more children were born in Rat Portage, Isaac (28 July 1897) and Sarah Elizabeth (1901). Isaac’s birth was registered as Isaac Young but he later used the name Isaac Johnston (or Johnstone) Young.

Isaac and his family were still living in Kenora when the war started. He enlisted in Brandon, Manitoba on 21 September 1915, joining the 79th Battalion. He was 18 years old, a student and he was found fit for overseas service. His unit trained in Brandon over the winter and in mid-April 1916 Isaac had a short leave in Kenora. The 79th Battalion left Brandon aboard two large trains on 19 April and early the next morning they stopped on their way through Kenora to pick up the local volunteers. A large crowd gathered at the train station to see the lads off on the first leg of their journey overseas. Just four days later they were on their way to England, embarking from Halifax on 24 April on the SS Lapland. After arriving the battalion was broken up and used as reinforcements for other units.

On 6 June Isaac was drafted to a front line battalion, the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, and sent to France. The Mounted Rifles were actually infantry units and Isaac joined them in the field a few days later. In August he was out of action for a week because of inflamation in his knee. In November he spent a week at No. 1 General Hospital in Etaples due to abrasions of his feet. He rejoined his unit on 2 December and he was appointed Lance Corporal on 10 January 1917. Not long after that the Canadians began intensive training for the assault on Vimy Ridge.

The 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles took part on the opening day of the operation, 9 April, suffering about 260 casualties. Isaac was one of the wounded, hit in the right shoulder and back by an artillery shell. He was admitted to No. 3 General Hospital in Boulogne on 14 April. He had a compound fracture of the left scapula and he needed skin grafts on his shoulder and back. He was evacuated to England and sent to the Kitchener Military Hospital in Brighton. On 15 September he was moved to the Epsom convalescent center, where he recovered for two months. He was transferred to No. 5 General Hospital in Liverpool on 17 November, to await his return to Canada.

Isaac was invalided to Canada on 16 December on the hospital ship Braemar Castle, arriving in St. John, New Brunswick about twelve days later. His family had moved west during the war but he still had a sister in Kenora. After visiting her he went to Winnipeg where he received treatment at the Manitoba Military Convalescent Hospital in Tuxedo Park. He was discharged from the army on 18 August 1918, due to being medically unfit for further service. He was entitled to wear one gold (casualty) stripe. His brother Robert John Young served with the Imperial Motor Transport Service in the British army from 1915 to 1919 and spent time in France.

Isaac was married in Kenora on 17 August 1920. His residence at the time was Brandon, Manitoba and he was working as an accountant for the Maple Leaf Milling Company. His wife, Annie Victoria Kathleen Dowsett, was born in Rat Portage a week after Isaac, on 4 August 1897. Her parents were Russell Eli Dowsett and Annie Laura Heath of Kenora. Her brother Charles Phillip Dowsett had served for more than four years during the war, returning home in December 1919 with a war bride. Their father Russell Dowsett was a contractor, owner of a brick company and owner of a line of steamboats. He was active in community affairs and served on the Kenora town council for several years.

Isaac had a long career with the Maple Leaf Milling Company and he and his wife lived in Brandon for a short while. Isaac’s father passed away in June 1923 at his home near Teulon, Manitoba. Isaac and Kathleen were living in Peterborough, Ontario at the time. When his mother died two years later they were living in Montreal. His parents are both buried in Windsor Cemetery near Teulon.

Isaac and Kathleen had a son Ronald and a daughter Laurie. Isaac was listed as an accountant in Montreal city directories in the late 1920s. According to his obituary he passed away in Toronto, Ontario. His veteran death card lists the date of death as 21 November 1952 but no burial location is given. He was survived by his three siblings, his wife Kathleen of Swansea, Toronto, their two children and three grandchildren. His brother Robert died in Kenora in 1981 and his sister Sarah Elizabeth (Mrs. Daniel John Cain) in Seattle, Washington in 1996.


By Becky Johnson

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