Edward Pemberton Leach

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Sir Edward Pemberton Leach
Gen. Sir Edward Leach
Born 2 April 1847
County Londonderry, Ireland
Died 27 April 1913 (aged 66)
Cadenabbia, Lake Como, Italy
Buried at Griante Cemetery, via Independezia, Griante
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1866–1912
Rank General
Unit Royal Engineers
Commands held 9th (Scottish) Division
Scottish Command
Battles/wars Lushai Expedition
Second Anglo-Afghan War
Mahdist War
Awards Victoria Cross
Order of the Bath
Royal Victorian Order

General Sir Edward Pemberton Leach VC KCB KCVO (2 April 1847 – 27 April 1913) was an Irish 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.

Early life[edit]

Leach was born in County Londonderry, Ireland on 2 April 1847. He was educated at Highgate School in England.

Military career[edit]

Leach was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1866.[1]

He was 31 years old, and a captain in the Corps of Royal Engineers, British Army and with Bengal Sappers and Miners (British Indian Army) during the Second Anglo-Afghan War when the following deed took place on 17 March 1879 near Maidanah, Afghanistan for which he was awarded the VC.[2]

For having, in action with the Shinwarris near Maidanah, Afghanistan, on 17 March 1879, when covering the retirement of the Survey Escort who were carrying Lieutenant Barclay, 45th Sikhs, mortally wounded, behaved with the utmost gallantry in charging, with some men of the 45th Sikhs, a very much larger number of the enemy. In this encounter Captain Leach killed two or three of the enemy himself, and he received a severe wound from an Afghan knife in the left arm. Captain Leach's determination and gallantry in this affair, in attacking and driving back the enemy from the last position, saved the whole party from annihilation.[3]

Later life[edit]

After this incident promotion followed and he was made Commander of 24 Field Company during the Suakin Expedition in 1885.[1] He was promoted to Major-General on 1 October 1897. By 1899 he was General Officer Commanding Belfast in which capacity he founded the Ballykinlar training camp.[1] He was appointed General Officer Commanding the 9th Division within Third Army Corps in Ireland on 1 April 1902,[4] and served until 1905.[5] Later that year, he was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for Scottish Command where he served from 1905 to 1909 before he retired in 1912.[1]

Leach died in Cadenabbia, Lake Como, Italy on 27 April 1913.[6] His younger daughter Elsie Leach became a distinguished ornithologist.

The medal[edit]

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham, England.


  1. ^ a b c d Royal Engineers Museum
  2. ^ The Royal Engineers Museum - Victoria Crosses held by the Royal Engineers Museum Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "no. 24790". The London Gazette. 9 December 1879. p. 7265. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "no. 27434". The London Gazette. 16 May 1902. p. 3254. 
  5. ^ Army Commands Archived 5 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Who's Who 1914 has his date of death as 26 April


Listed in order of publication year

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
General Officer Commanding the 9th Division
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sir Charles Tucker
GOC-in-C Scottish Command
Succeeded by
Sir Bruce Hamilton