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Martin Leake: Double VC (ePub)

Military > Biographies > Military Biographies WWI

By Ann Clayton
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 15.6 MB (.epub)
Pages: 250
ISBN: 9781473816244
Published: 15th July 1995


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Only three men have ever won a bar to the Victoria Cross; but only two lived to wear the medal and bar, the other, Noel Chavasse, being awarded his bar posthumously. Of the three, the third being Charles Upham of the New Zealand Military Forces, Arthur Martin-Leake was the first to achieve this extraordinary distinction. And it is worth bearing in mind that both Martin-Leake and Chavasse were non-combatants, being members of the RAMC.

Born in 1874 and brought up in comfortable circumstances in rural Hertfordshire, Martin-Leake trained as a doctor and spent much of his life working for an Indian railway company; but the urge to be where he felt he was most needed, coupled presumably with a thirst for adventure, though he himself would have been too modest to admit to either, took him first to South Africa during the Boer War, where he won his first VC, then to Albania during the Balkan War of 1912-13, where his presence must surely be classified as 'outside the call of duty', and finally to Flanders, where he won the bar to his VC.

Surprisingly, this is the first biography of this most remarkable man, now printed in paperback format, for which Ann Clayton has been given access to all the family papers. These include hundreds of his letters, but she has also unearthed eye-witness accounts of his bravery which, typically, he was at pains to gloss over. This is indeed a thrilling story of a life lived to the full by a man who sought little for himself, but having been blessed with a fortunate birthright, only wanted to repay the debt.

Amazingly this is the first book to be written about Arthur Martin-Leake even though his life is most interesting and the double VC such a very rare award. This book is important and every reader who has followed military history and the bravery exhibited during WWI should read this inspiring and fascinating account of an exceptional warrior. It is a great tale that is simply not to be missed...

... This is the story of a full life and an exciting life. It will appeal to a range of readers. Naturally, it will be of great interest to military history enthusiasts and offer fresh insight into the wars of the period. It will also appeal as a human story of modesty and bravery and a love of adventure. It is a story that shows the attitudes of the time.

FIRE Project

First published in 1994, this is the story of Arthur Martin-Leake VC and Bar of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Reissued for the 100th anniversary, this work makes a welcome return to the ranks of Great War biographies which are worth adding to your collection.

Highly commended.


The Great War Magazine

As featured in

Hertfordshire Life

'The true-life story of the first man to win Britain's top honour for bravery twice challenges the most exciting film or novel.'

Hertfordshire Mercury
 Ann Clayton
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