WB “Bill” Young: Scotland’s oldest rugby star dies
Young was also Scotland’s oldest internationalist until he died last Thursday in a Kent nursing home, having suffered a stroke the previous week, and had the rare distinction of also having been capped by East Africa.
The Scottish Rugby Union keeps a record of all former internationalists but had lost track of William Brewitt Young after he left the UK with his wife in 1948 to work as a missionary in Kenya. When Allan Roy died in 2011, the SRU believed they had lost the final link to the famous 1938 squad.
However, The Scotsman discovered Young returned to the UK in the 1950s when his wife’s health deteriorated, worked as a GP in Kent and, long after his wife passed away, re-married in 1993. He married a fellow Ayrshire native, Flora, who had been a missionary in Zimbabwe.
Young made his debut in 1937 and played in nine Tests on the trot before the Second World War, including the famous 1938 win over England that clinched the Triple Crown. Over 70,000 packed into Twickenham for the first rugby match to be televised live and both teams were introduced to King George VI, with Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother) also in attendance to witness Scotland’s 21-16 victory.
After the Second World War, Young finished on ten caps over 11 years before he left the UK to work as a missionary in Africa, and duly won three caps for East Africa in 1949 and 1950.
He would have celebrated his 97th birthday next week. His funeral will take place in Sevenoaks on Thursday with a Service of Thanksgiving in the Vine Street Hall in Sevenoaks.