Biography

Birth date: 1892
Birth place: United Kingdom: England, Hampshire, Portsmouth
Death date: 20 October 1972
Death place: Australia: South Australia, Adelaide, Redwood Park
Final rank: Private
Service number: 2053 - First World War, 1914-1918
2055 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 9th Australian Infantry Battalion

English-born John Leak (1892-1972) came to Australia as a boy and in January 1915 enlisted in the AIF. He served on Gallipoli and next year accompanied his unit to France, in time to be thrown into the bloody fighting at Pozières. In a battle notorious for its scale and intensity, Leak's solo attack with bombs and bayonet on a German post stood out. In a further action on 21 August he was wounded.

Few came out of Pozières without physical or mental scars and this brave soldier was no exception, yet he served on only to be severely gassed in March 1918. After a few jobs, Leak became a garage proprietor in Western Australia, before retiring to South Australia, where he died.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 16 April 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Brisbane
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 9th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 9th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Timeline

Date of birth 1892
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1915-01-28 9 Battalion
Date of embarkation 1915-04-16
Date wounded 1915-08-21 Wounded at Mouquet Farm.
Date of honour or award 1916-07-23 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Pozieres, France whilst serving with 9 Battalion, 3 Brigade, 1 Division as a Private
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-07-31
Date wounded 1918-03-07 Gassed.
Date of discharge 1919-05-31
Date of death 1972-10-20