Private John Leak won the VC for bravery on the battlefield during World War I.
Private John Leak won the VC for bravery on the battlefield during World War I. Supplied

War hero finally gets memorial

UNDER heavy machine gun fire Private John Leak ran towards an enemy machine gun post, threw bombs into the trench and then bayoneted the survivors.

For "conspicuous bravery" Mr Leak won the Victoria Cross during the battle of Pozieres, France on July 23, 1916.

After 95 years he will finally have a memorial in Rockhampton where he enlisted on January 28, 1915.

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten said this week that money had been set aside in the State Budget for the memorial on Huish Drive.

The Morning Bulletin reported on April 11, 1919 that he had arrived in Rockhampton for an official celebration at the Soldiers' Rest and Recreation Rooms to mark his achievement as the first Queenslander to win the medal.

The Bulletin said he was 27-years-old and a resident of Clermont.

It said the official record of the brigade read: "At one assault, when the enemy's bombs outranged ours, Private Leak jumped out of a trench and ran forward under heavy machine gun fire at close range and threw three bombs into the enemy's bomb post.

"He then jumped into the post and bayoneted three unwounded enemy bombers.

Later when enemy troops counter-attacked, Mr Leak was the last to withdraw at each stage and kept on throwing bombs.

"His courage and energy had such an effect on the enemy that, on the arrival of reinforcements, this whole enemy trench was captured."

Mr Leak attended the function in Rockhampton on the condition he was not asked to speak.

Lieutenant-Colonel D Dawson, on behalf of the RSL, told attendees that Mr Leak's act was part of a "systematic continuation of acts of the most conspicuous bravery".



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