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Geoffrey Winthrop Young

John Simkin

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Geoffrey Winthrop Young was a very interesting character. On the outbreak of the First World War Young became a journalist with The Daily News. Young was a pacifist and was a strong opponent of the conflict. However, when faced with the tragic consequences of the war, he resigned as a war correspondent and joined the Friends' Ambulance Unit at Ypres. This involved transporting both casualties and refugees away from the Western Front.

In 1917 Young went to Italy to establish an ambulance service in the mountains of the Italian-Austrian front. On 31st August he was hit by an Austrian shell. His left leg was so badly wounded that it had to be amputated at the knee. He then had to walk sixteen miles in two days to avoid being captured by the Austrian Army.

On 16th September 1917, Young wrote to George Mallory that he was already planning to climb with an artificial leg: "Now I shall have the immense stimulus of a new start, with every little inch of progress a joy instead of a commonplace. I count on my great-hearts, like you, to share in the fun of that game with me."

After the war he continued to climb with an artificial leg and over the next few years reached the summits of the Matterhorn and Zinal Rothorn.


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