James Leach (VC)
27 July 1892|
North Shields, Northumberland
|Died||15 August 1958
Shepherds Bush, London
|Buried at||Mortlake Crematorium|
|Unit||The Manchester Regiment|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
|Other work||Police officer|
James Edgar Leach VC (27 July 1892 – 15 August 1958) was a British Army officer and English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Leach was 22 years old, and a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 29 October 1914 near Festubert, France, after their trench had been taken by the enemy and two attempts to recapture it had failed, Second Lieutenant Leach and Sergeant John Hogan with a party of 10 volunteers went to recover it themselves. They took the Germans by surprise with a sudden bayonet attack and then working from traverse to traverse they gradually succeeded in regaining possession, killing eight of the enemy, wounding two and taking 16 prisoners.
He later achieved the rank of Captain. After the war, Leach served in the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary. His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.
- A D Harvey, "Who Were the Auxiliaries?" Historical Journal 35, no. 3 (1992): 665-69.
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- VCs of the First World War - 1914 (Gerald Gliddon, 1994)