VC & BAR
Since its introduction in 1857, 1,355 individuals have been awarded the Victoria Cross but only three men have been awarded it twice.
Arthur Martin-Leake was born in Hertfordshire in 1874. He served in the Boer war in South Africa firstly with the Hertfordshire Yeomanry and later with the South African Constabulary.
“During the action at Vlakfontein, on the 8th February, 1902, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake went up to a wounded man, and attended to him under a heavy fire from about 40 Boers at 100 yards range. He then went to the assistance of a wounded Officer, and, whilst trying to place him in a comfortable position, was shot three times, but would not give in till he rolled over thoroughly exhausted. All the eight men at this point were wounded, and while they were lying on the Veldt, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake refused water till everyone else had been served”.
In 1914 when war was declared against Germany, Arthur volunteered for service and joined the 5th Field Ambulance, 2nd Division with the rank of Lieutenant.
His unit was involved in the First Battle of Ypres and it was for his actions at this time that he was awarded a bar to his Victoria Cross.
The citation read:-
“Lieutenant Arthur Martin-Leake, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 13th May, 1902, is granted, a Clasp for conspicuous bravery in the present campaign: — For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty throughout the campaign, especially during the period 29th October to 8th November, 1914, near Zonnebeke, in rescuing, whilst exposed to constant fire, a large number of the wounded who were lying close to the enemy’s trenches”.
Arthur finished his wartime service in 1918 as Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel in commanded a Casualty Clearing Station.
He returned to India and worked there until his retirement in 1937 when he brought his wife and family back to England.
Arthur Martin-Leake died in 1953 aged 79.
Lest we forget