Born: November 10, 1923;

Died: April 14, 2021.

CAPTAIN Arthur Young had a distinguished career at sea and rose to become harbour master for the Clyde Port Authority. Yet, like many men of his generation, he kept quiet about his war-time stories of bravery, heroism and, often, tragedy.

Though ultimately they were tales of the human spirit triumphing over seemingly insurmountable odds, it was only late in life that he discussed these dangerous times with his children.

Young was born November 10, 1923, and brought up in Wishaw, the son of Arthur, a marine engineer and mother Mary.

He had an older brother, Samuel (known as Knibb), and a younger sister, Elizabeth. It was a fairly frugal existence, though a good work ethic was instilled in the children.

Young left Wishaw High School aged 16, intent on a career at sea, and became an indentured apprentice with the Clan Line. He was appointed to the Clan Ferguson, a fairly new cargo liner. He first left Glasgow on his ship when it was requisitioned to assist in the evacuation of 198,000 British and 139,000 Allied personnel from Dunkirk in 1940.

When the Ferguson was in the channel of the river Loire there was an attack by a number of German bombers. Two nearby ships were heavily damaged. One of them, the liner Lancastria, sank in 20 minutes, with the loss of some 4,000 people. It was Britain’s worst maritime disaster in history.

The Ferguson eventually anchored at the port of Saint-Nazaire, taking aboard 3,000 British troops who crammed the ship decks until they reached Plymouth.

Young and his Ferguson crewmates then made a similar evacuation of 3,000 Czech and Polish troops and émigrés from Le Verdon, at the mouth of the Garonne, taking them to Liverpool. One of those saved was a newborn baby, whose grateful mother christened her child with the middle name Ferguson, a lifelong reminder of a ship and crew who had provided rescue, sanctuary and hope.

Afterwards, the ship became involved in the transport of military stores, taking guns and ammunition to Malta, which involved a circuitous route, passing through the Suez Canal and docking temporarily in Alexandria, where the Ferguson received shrapnel damage in an Italian air raid. The subsequent journey to Malta did not result in any more direct attacks on the vessel.

Another Malta expedition resulted in attacks from Italian torpedo-bombers, with one torpedo passing just under Clan Ferguson. The ship survived increasingly fearsome attacks on later dates, which included dive-bombing German Junkers.

The Ferguson was eventually lost, though thankfully Young was not serving on it at the time.

He later joined a different ship, the Halizones, which sailed from Liverpool as part of a convoy of 32 vessels travelling to South Africa and onwards to India. The Halizones made its way from Calcutta to Chittagong, in modern-day Bangladesh, carrying British and Gurkha units. The first of these trips commenced on December 24, 1942, so Christmas festivities were cancelled, though those on board received a special treat when the galley staff rustled up freshly-baked bread and butter, a rare delicacy during those austere times.

It wasn’t just enemy fire that had to be feared. The captain of the Halizones died during the voyage from cerebral malaria.

Taking leave and attending Glasgow Nautical College, Young progressed his naval career by passing his 2nd Mate’s Examination. He served on various ships before being appointed to the SS Empire Barrie, which was prepared as a military stores ship for the Normandy assault and landings in 1944. When the war finally ended, Young stayed with the Clan Line as a merchant seaman, travelling the trade routes. South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand were his main ports of call.

One of the more unusual experiences of that time was transporting racehorses to India. Slings were made on the deck of the ship to bolster the horses, as they had to stand for the duration of the journey.

Young came ashore in 1957, becoming a navigational pilot on the Clyde. From the late-1960s he was harbour master for Clyde Port Authority.

Unhappy with management decisions made by the authority in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was forced into early retirement before his 60th birthday.

Not yet ready for a quieter life, he became a maritime consultant, travelling to the United States, Africa and Australia, analysing what was required for certain ports to expand.

He eventually retired at the same time as his wife, Helen, a home economics teacher, whom he had married in 1950. In later life they enjoyed travelling, including trips to Italy, China and Hong Kong.

They had three children, David, John Allan and Susan. As a father, Young was a steady and supportive figure, taking his offspring for regular holidays to Ellary in Argyll, where the youngsters would go boating and be taught a respect for the sea.

Arthur Young also enjoyed bowling and morning strolls round his local Clarkston area with his dog. The final dog he owned, Zeta, proved to be a much-needed companion after Helen died a couple of years after the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary.

His eldest son, David, died in 2016 from liver failure.

Well into his 90s, Young retained a curiosity and connection with the modern era and its younger folk, including his grandchildren.

A proud man of the tumultuous sea, with his feet firmly secured to the solid ground of family life, Captain Arthur Young died, aged

97, at 3 Bridges Care Home in Glasgow.

He is survived by his sister Elizabeth, children John Allan and Susan, and grandchildren Euan and Eilidh.