Heroe’s Portraits: Surgeon Captain Arthur Martin-Leake

Double VC holder: Surgeon Captain Arthur Martin-Leake

Surgeon Captain Arthur Martin-Leake is a two-time winner of the Victoria Cross.   He is one of only three men who have won the VC twice, and two of the double winners were medical men.   He won his first VC in 1902 during the Boer War in South Africa when he treated 8 wounded men in full view of the enemy and remained at his position providing them treatment despite being shot three times himself.   He recieved his second award in World War I during First Ypres for continually exposing himself to enemy fire to retrieve wounded men forward of the British trenches.   He survived the First World War and died in 1953.   He is buried at High Cross in Hertfordshire, England.

 His two citations are below:

First Award:  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 every one else had been served.[1]

Second Award:  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.[2]

[1] London Gazette: no. 27433, p. 3176, 13 May 1902.

[2] London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29074, p. 1700, 16 February 1916

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