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Creston Valley Goes to War

Hilton Young

Young Service

Service file of Hilton Young

Young Letter

Letter written by Hilton Young that appeared in the Creston Review

Hilton Young, a rancher from Canyon who was one of the first to enlist in the 230th Forestry Battalion at Creston, spent his service in England. A letter from him was published in the Creston Review in early August 1917, detailing the daily life of the Corps on a large estate in Surrey. He complains of the pay not being what the men had been promised, but otherwise seems to have landed in a comfortable setting - social evenings, YMCA facilities, and good food being among the advantages.

One challenge the "boys" from western Canada encountered though, as other documents suggest, was the hardwood forests of Europe - a good deal more and harder work to fell than the softwood forests they had worked in in BC!

Hilton Young transferred to the 72nd Canadian Infantry Battalion in the last months of the war but wrote, in April 1919, "I had my infantry training about complete when the Armistice was signed." Although it is unlikely he saw combat on the front lines, Young did serve in France: following the Armistice, he was assigned to war graves duty and arrived in France in mid-May, 1919.

Prior to being dispatched to France, Young waited at a camp at Seaford, East Sussex. The waiting seemed endless; in April 1919 he wrote, "It is a pity that farmers could not be returned in time for spring work, but it does not seem to matter to authorities. ...  We are well treated and have no kick coming in any way - but it would be nice to know when we were likely to leave for home. I fancy I would have been home by now had I stayed with the Forestry Corps."

In the end, it was well into September, 1919 before Private Young was shipped back to Canada.