To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”



Robert Guy Young


Pilot Officer, 13390, RAF,  WW1

Flight Lieutenant, 116823, RAF, WW2


Robert Guy Young was born in Penang, Malaya, to parents Amelia Japonica and Walter Reginald Young on the 29th of May 1889.

By 1917, the ‘Great War’ still raging in Europe, Robert answered the call and travelled to England to join the Royal Flying Corps. On the 20th of April 1918, he and his observer were injured when Robert crashed his aircraft while attempting a low altitude manoeuvre, the report was as follows:

    “ 2nd  Lieutenant R G Young was flying DH 9 C6072 of No 11 Training Depot Station at Old Sarum on 20 April 1918. The aeroplane crashed when it stalled during a turn close to the ground. 2nd  Lieutenant Young and his observer, 2nd Lieutenant A F Tong, were both injured, the former seriously.”

On his WWI records, it was noted that he had driven motorcycles, cars and spoke 6 eastern languages. It was also noted that since joining he had flown DH6, BE2E, AWs and Martinsyde aircraft.

It was when Robert after being posted to East Fortune, near Edinburgh on September 1918, that he was to meet his soon-to-be bride, a Scottish girl named Margaret Ann Davidson, daughter of William and Jessie Davidson from Fordoun in Kincardineshire.

After the war, on the 20th January 1919, Robert married Margaret in Edinburgh. Lieutenant Robert Young relinquished his commission on the 29th July 1919 and following the tradition of the Young family, he took his wife back to start a rubber plantation in Malaya. They built a modest colonial bungalow and named their property ‘Karak Estate’, which was located in Bentong, Pahang.

In 1935 Robert was British Army, Private, Regimental Number 6146, H Company, M.S.V.R, Federated Malay States - Pahang (Government Officials).

Young-Robert-Guy-Coronation Medal

That year Robert was awarded King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.

George V Silver Jubilee Medal

In 1937 Robert was awarded King George VI Coronation Medal for being a member of Federated Malay States - Pahang (Government Officials).

1937 George VI and Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal

After many years of prosperity at Karak, the war rudely interrupted their lives for in December 1940, they lost their eldest son Cecil Reginald “Charlie” Young a fighter pilot in 46 Squadron.

In 1942 Robert at the age of 52 volunteered or was recalled to the R.A.F, either way, he somehow ended up in the Air H.Q RS, Singapore as a pilot officer. He was put in charge of the local 'coolies' to help repair damaged aerodromes. He was chosen for this job because of his ability to speak 6 local Malay languages.

While Robert and Margaret were in Malaya/ Singapore, their second son, Robert Alistair Young was in  Western Australia, enrolled at Scotch College, a top school in Swanbourne, near Perth.

On the 11th of February 1942, the Japanese moving ever closer to Singapore, Margaret evacuated to Western Australia to rejoin her son. Robert Guy was unable to board the same ship because of his commission in the RAF. This particular ship was a Women and Children ship only, and was one of the last of the kind to leave the harbour.

During the closing days of the battle, around the 15th of February 1942, it became clear to authorities that the city was to be abandoned. Robert Guy was one of the last to evacuate the city, turning up at Keppel Harbour in a very expensive Wolseley car (He left his car with a group of Australian soldiers who later pushed it into the sea to avoid its capture!!).

As the boat Robert was on chugged out of the harbour towards Sumatra, a Japanese dive bomber attached and the ship was badly hit and sank. An unconfirmed report stated that Robert, as a good swimmer gave his life jacket to a man struggling in the water, this was an action he was to regret as he started to swim for shore he seen the man and others, floating in the water, being strafed by a Japanese plane. Robert managed to swim ashore and went into hiding in the Sumatran jungles.

On the 6th April Robert surrendered or was turned in to the Japanese, as the locals were nervous of reprisals for hiding him.

Robert was registered a Japanese PoW and indexed.

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


Whilst in captivity Robert was promoted in November 1942 to Flying Officer and in November 1943 to Flight Lieutenant.

He spent the next 3 years of the war in a prison camp called Palembang in Sumatra.  He was transfers to Changi in June 1945 prior to his release in November 1945 as seen from extract of a letter he sent to Margaret:

    “..they moved our Camp from Sumatra to Singapore in May this year… and I am now in Hospital in the POW camp at Changi, arriving here on the 1st June 1945”

Robert was listed on the Changi Roll 5th September 1945.

General Seishiro Itagaki, Japanese Commander of Singapore, would not accept the surrender. Plus it gave him time to cover up all Japanese Atrocities in Singapore. The allied naval landing force 'Operation Tiderace' were delayed as it was still understood the Japanese would dispose of all the PoWs in Singapore if they landed. Mountbatten ordered British paratroopers into Singapore to protect the camps. To many of the PoWs in Singapore, those red berets of the paratroopers were the first signs that the war had ended. All this delayed organising the PoWs. It wasn't till the 12th September that Lord Mountbatten accepted the Japanese surrender at the Municipal Building. Hospital cases were the first to leave Singapore 1945/09/10 on the HMHS Koroa. They were soon followed by Repatriation ships which started reaching the UK about the 15th of October 1945. Why many of the liberated PoWs on these ships had November on their Japanese Index cards, I don't know as in other areas of the Far East, PoWs were marked as Liberated at their PoW camps with the correct date. Unless General Seishiro Itagaki did not make the cards available when the camps were liberated.




1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star



Charlie Young

Andrew Davidson

KEW Files:- WO 361/1946, WO 392/26, WO 345/58, WO 361/2229,


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