Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.
The July issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Captain James Edgar Leach, who was awarded the VC for bravery during the First World War.
Leach, who was born in Lancaster, Lancashire, enlisted in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, the Northamptonshire Regiment, in 1910.
He was serving in France as a second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, near Festubert when he showed such outstanding bravery on October 29 1914 that he was later awarded the VC.
After two attempts to capture a key trench from the Germans had failed, Leach, then 22, and Sergeant John Hogan proceeded skilfully up the trench, with fixed bayonets, going from side to side.
They gradually succeeded in regaining possession of the trench, killing eight of the enemy, wounding two, and taking 16 prisoners. Both men were awarded the VC on December 22 1914.
Leach, who had concussion and other medical issues from his VC action, survived the First World War. He eventually died at his home in west London on August 15, 1958, aged 66.
Lord Ashcroft’s articles for Britain at War over the past seven years have been largely based on excerpts from his six books on gallantry: Victoria Cross Heroes, Special Forces Heroes, George Cross Heroes, Heroes of the Skies, Special Ops Heroes and Victoria Cross Heroes Volume II.
Lord Ashcroft is a military historian who has lectured extensively on courage and his various medal collections
• Lord Ashcroft’s latest article appears in the July issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.