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: 2055 - First World War, 1914-1918
2053 - 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.

Rolls and Awards

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 16 April 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Brisbane

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 9th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 9th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

A03589

Private John Leak VC, of the 9th Battalion surrounded by friends and well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace on the occasion of being awarded the Victoria Cross. Pte Leak is holding the hand of most likely Beatrice May Chapman, whom he later married in December 1918. Pte Leak was awarded the...

A03589

H06716A

PORTRAIT OF 2053, PRIVATE JOHN LEAK, 9TH BATTALION, WHO WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR HIS BRAVERY AT POZIERES.

H06716A

P02939.009

c. 1916. Studio portrait of Private John Leak VC, 9th Battalion. Pte Leak was awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery" on 23 July 1916 at Pozieres. During an enemy attack, Pte Leak ran forward out of a trench under heavy machine gun fire and threw three bombs into the enemy trench....

P02939.009

H06716

PORTRAIT OF 2053, PRIVATE JOHN LEAK, 9TH BATTALION, WHO WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR HIS BRAVERY AT POZIERES.

H06716

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