Personal info

  • Name: Arthur MARTIN-LEAKE
  • D.O.B: 3rd April, 1874
  • D.O.A: 8th February, 1902
  • D.O.D: 21st June, 1953
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Surgeon Captain, C Division, South African Constabulary.
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Vlakfontein Farm, Transvaal, South Africa 8 February 1902

8 February 1902

More details about:
The Second Boer War 1899 - 1902 

At the beginning of February 1902, the commander of the South African Constabulary around Heidelberg, south-east of Johannesburg in the Transvaal, was ordered to move forward a line of posts held by his men south-east of Heidelberg. On 8 February Captain A Essex-Capell was sent with 130 men to reconnoitre the area east of the Waterval river. Twelve miles north of Holmdene station (then known as Vlaklaagte) on the Johannesburg-Natal railway, Essex- Capell found and attacked a Boer commando, four-hundred-men strong, at Van Tondershoek farm. The Boers counter-attacked as Essex-Capell and his men withdrew along the Boesmanspruit through Vlakfontein Farm (not to be confused with Vlakfontein, a station twelve miles south-east of Heidelberg). Surgeon Captain A Martin-Leake went to the aid of Sergeant W H Waller, who was shot in the leg, and others in need of help. While he was tending Lieutenant D O P Abrahams, who was mortally wounded, Martin-Leake was himself shot three times. Together with the other wounded he was captured by the Boers, who expressed regret that they had failed to identify him as a medical man and had fired at him. Essex-Capell managed to hold off the Boers and withdrew after dark.

Citation

 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. 

The London Gazette of 13 May 1902, Numb. 27433, p. 3176

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