The AIF Project


Regimental number2053
Date of birth1892
Place of birthPortsmouth, England
ReligionChurch of England
AddressGPO, Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 6"
Weight133 lbs
Next of kinBrother, James Leak, Saskatchewan, Canada
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date28 January 1915
Place of enlistmentRockhampton, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name9th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/26/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on 16 April 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2053A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll9th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Victoria Cross

'Conspicuous bravery at Pozieres, 25 July 1916.'
Recommendation date: 31 July 1916

FateReturned to Australia 9 February 1919
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Plaque in South Australian Garden of Remembrance

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery. He was one of a party which finally captured an enemy strong point. At one assault, when the enemy's bombs were outranging ours, Private Leak jumped out of the trench, ran forward under heavy machine gun fire at close range, and threw three bombs into the enemy's bombing post. He then jumped into the post and bayoneted three unwounded enemy bombers. Later, when the enemy in overwhelming numbers was driving his party back he was always the last to withdaw at each stage, and kept on throwing bombs. His courage and enery had such an effect on the enemy that, on the arrival of reinforcements, the whole trench was recaptured.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 184
Date: 14 December 1916

Discharge date31 May 1919
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Brisbane, 16 April 1915.

Joined 9th Bn, Gallipoli, 22 June 1915. Admitted to 1st Field Ambulance, 2 September 1915; transferred to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station; to Malta and admitted to St David's Hospital, 8 September 1915 (colitis); transferred to England and admitted to 5th Southern General Hospital, Portsmouth, 8 October 1915. Disembarked Alexandria from England, 4 March 1916 (no further details available).

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 27 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 3 April 1916.

Wounded in action, 21 August 1916 (gun shot wound, back); admitted to No 1 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, 23 August 1916; transferred to England, 13 September 1916, and admitted to Wharncliffe Hospital; discharged from hospital, 9 October 1916. Marched in to No 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 25 October 1916; to No 4 Command Depot, Wareham, 7 January 1917.

Found guilty, Wareham, 6 January 1917, of (1) entering Staff Sergeants' Mess and demanding drink; (2) neglecting to obey the RSM in that he refused to leave the Staff Sgts' Mess when ordered by the RSM: awarded 14 days' detention.

Found guilty, Wareham, 6 March 1917, of being absent without leave, 3 om, 23 February, to 2 pm. 2 March 1917: awarded 96 hours' detention; forfeited total of 15 days' pay.

Transferred to 69th Bn, 23 March 1917.

Found guilty, Hurdcott, 29 July 1917, of being absent without leave, noon to 11.50 pm, 30 July 1917: admonoished and forfeited 2 days' pay.

Found guilty, Perham Downs, 27 August 1917, of being absent without leave, 6.30 am, 20 August, to 11.30 pm, 24 August 1917: awarded forfeiture of 7 days' pay; total forfeiture: 12 days' pay.

Proceeded overseas to France, 10 October 1917; rejoined 9th Bn, Belgium, 15 October 1917.

Found guilty by Field General Court Martial, 25 November 1917, of when on Active Service deserting His Majesty's Service in that he absented himself from the line from 1-11-17 till 1900 on 6-11-17: sentenced to penal servitude for life; sentence confirmed by GOC, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 26 November 1917. Sentence commuted to 2 years' imprisonment with hard labour and suspended, 15 December 1917

Rejoined Bn from prison, 23 December 1917.

Wounded in action, 7 March 1918 (gassed); admitted to No 1 Field Ambulance, 9 March 1918; transferred to No 2 Casualty Clearing Station, 9 March 1918; to Ambulance Train No 26, 10 March 1918, and admitted to 55th General Hospital, Boulogne, 11 March 1918; to England, 14 March 1918, and admitted to Cosham Military Hospital, Hampshire, 15 March 1018 (gas poisoning); to 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 26 March 1918; discharged to No 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, 26 March 1918.

Found guilty, Hurdcott, 2 May 1918, of at Bath being absent without leave from midnight, 25 April 1918, to 5 pm, 29 April 1918: awarded forfeiture of 7 days' pay; total forfeiture 11 days' pay.

Marched out to Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge Deverill, 23 May 1918.

Found guilty, 5 June 1918, of insolence to an NCO: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Proceeded overseas to France, 19 June 1918; rejoined Bn, 26 June 1918.

Admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, 30 August 1918 (bronchitis), and transferred same day to 41st Casualty Clearing Station; to 11th Stationary Hospital, Rouen, 31 August 1918; discharged to No 2 Convalescent Depot, 4 September 1918; to No 1 Australian General Hospital, 5 September 1918 (fractured right arm); to No 2 Convalescent Depot, 12 September 1918; to No 11 Convalescent Depot, Buchy, 13 September 1918; rejoined Bn, 14 October 1918.

On leave to United Kingdom, 8 December 1918. Marched in for duty to AIF Headquarters, London, 10 December 1918.

Suspended sentence of 2 years imprisonment with hard labour suspended, 25 December 1918

Maried Beatrice May CHAPMAN, spinster, aged 21, St John Baptist Church, Cardiff, 30 December 1918.

Commenced return to Australia on board HT 'Ascanius', 9 February 1919; arrived Melbourne, 26 May 1919, for onward travel by boat to Brisbane; discharged, Brisbane, 31 May 1919.

Medals: Victoria Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Date of death20 October 1972
Age at death80
Place of burialStirling Cemetery, South Australia

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