THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY” MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E. “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”

THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”
















THE MAGNIFICENT & UNIQUE
(Double V.C. First D.C.M. 23rd August 1914, Mons-Conde Canal)
“TRIPLE GALLANTRY” COMBINATION
of
“MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”

with 1914 Star & Bar Trio,

THIS IS
“THE VERY FIRST”
MILITARY MEDAL OF THE GREAT WAR


Twice Mentioned in Despatches
& Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.

To:
THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” 15394 L.Cpl-Act Sgt W.W. LEACH.
57th Field Company, Royal Engineers.


From Cheriton, near Folkestone, Kent.






THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”[BIOGRAPHY]
Willie Leach was born in Cheriton, near Folkestone, Kent in 1890 and before enlisting had been a painter. He joined the army in January 1906 at age 19 as 15394, Private W.W. LEACH 57th Coy Royal Engineers. Five years later he’s seen on the 1911 army national census form serving as a Sapper, a single man of 24 years in Pretoria, South Africa.



THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” As a specialist construction (and demolition) unit he and his 57th Coy R.E. fellows were among the earliest entrants into France with an arrival on 16th August 1914 just 12 days after the declaration.

[THE THREE MILITARY MEDALS & TWO MENTIONS]
“in chronological order”

THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” 1st Mention in Despatches.
L.G. 17th February 1915

(Mons-Conde Canal 23rd August 1914)



THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” 2nd Mention In Despatches.
L.G. 1st January 1916

(a deed in 1915)



THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” 1st MILITARY MEDAL.
L.G. 3rd June 1916

(A Retrospective Mons-Conde Canal Award from 23rd August 1914)
“THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”

2nd MILITARY MEDAL.(1st Clasp)
L.G. 6th January 1917

(Battle of the Somme, August-November 1916)

3rd MILITARY MEDAL. (2nd Clasp)
L.G. 22nd February 1918.

(Passchendaele, Ypres)


THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”


THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” In common with all the other awards of the Military Medal in the Great War, the individual citation records perished in the London Blitz during WW2. However, we know from the unit war dairy, The London Gazette MID & MM publication dates and other researched factors where the awards were won, and in the case of the first mention in despatches & first Military Medal, how they were won.

As Willie Leach served in an R.E. construction & demolition unit he and his fellows were immediately under enemy attack as soon as the shooting war started on 22/23 August 1914 at Mons. While carrying out his duties and like many others decorated while serving in this unit he clearly “stuck his neck out” on a number of occasions in the course of his dangerously exposed work.

THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” [THE BACKGROUND TO THE 1st GALLANTRY AWARDS OF WW1]
On 23rd August 1914, at 7.15am, Lieutenant Boulnois of 57th Coy RE was given eight men, a cart load of explosives and one exploder to deal with the five bridges from Jemappes Station to Mariette. Boulnois allotted men to each bridge as they passed and arranged to return to set off all charges with the one available exploder. Lance Corporal WILLIE LEACH was one of those men. THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” The Lock 2 Bridge near Jemappes was allotted to Lance Corporal Charles Jarvis and Sapper Neary. Jarvis enlisted the help of two men from the B Company 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers defending the bridge. Using a small boat, which the infantrymen held in position, the two sappers fixed 22 gun cotton slabs to the three main girder supports. As they worked, the enemy fire intensified and Jarvis sent the infantrymen back into cover. He then sent Neary to find Corporal Wiltshire whom he thought had the exploder at the Jemappes station bridge. Although under heavy fire, Jarvis completed the work alone, making occasional dashes back to the infantry barricade to fetch extra explosives and run out the leads. Jarvis then kept himself down in the boat pulling himself along the bank, and then crawled over it to safety.

[UNIT HISTORY]
THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” The 57th Field Company R.E. being a specialist Construction & Demolition unit, produced some exceptional results from very early in the war. Indeed, on *23rd August 1914 (*the second day of the Great War on which shots were fired) one of Willie Leach’s fellow corporals, Charles Alfred Jarvis, who he must have known, and their officer Captain Theodore Wright both won very well earned Victoria Crosses for placing explosive charges on and destroying bridges while in full view of the enemy and under withering machine gun & rifle fire.

THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” Jarvis was wounded during the action but survived. Captain Wright was also wounded in the head but was killed in action just a few days later on the 14th September, this time while repairing a similar canal pontoon bridge.

Willie Leach’s 1st M.I.D. which was made in a despatch of November 1914 and Gazetted on 17th February 1915 was made in relation to his part with 57th Coy R.E. in the attempted demolition of the five bridges on the Mons-Conde canal on 23rd August 1914 during which the awards of two Victoria Crosses to fellow Cpl Charles Jarvis and Captain Wright were made.

And, as Willie’s 1st Military Medal was published in the first MM awards “catch up” London Gazette of 3rd June 1916 for deeds done from the 1914 period, it’s clear that having first been mentioned in despatches for this now famous event at Mons that he was also retrospectively decorated with his first Military Medal for his bravery in the field during the Mons-Conde Canal, Jarvis & Wright V.C. action of 23rd August 1914.

The Military Medal (GV) which was then a newly authorised award was first promulgated on 26th March 1916, with the names of the early recipients from the period 1914-1915 being listed in the first MM Gazette of 3rd June 1916.

THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” Thus, Willie’s first Military Medal stands as a greatly important award as being won on 23rd August 1914 it was also the very first Military Medal earned by any soldier in the Great War.

He alone is mentioned by name as receiving his MM during the unit’s church parade on Sunday 25th June 1916 at CONTAY.


No other men of the 57th Coy R.E. were similarly mentioned or decorated that day & Private S.Heron of 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers similarly received the first DCM of the Great War for the part he played during this famous action on the Mons-Conde Canal.

Private Samuel Heron of 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers was awarded what was the first DCM of the Great War for his great bravery in assisting the 57th Coy R.E. during this double VC action. Private Heron’s DCM was Gazette on 18th February 1915 which was the day after Willie Leach’s 1st MID on 17th February which was quite clearly the initial acknowledgement for Willie’s part in the same action.

THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”[CITATION]
The Scotsman, Edinburgh, 09 June, 1915
“D.C.M. FOR A KIRKINTILLOCH MAN”.
Official intimation has been received that the D.C.M. has been awarded to Private Samuel Heron, 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers, who belongs to Kirkintilloch, for “Conspicuous courage and coolness on 23rd August at Jenappes, when he rendered great assistance to the Royal Engineers, who were preparing to destroy the canal bridge, whilst under a heavy fire.”


[SUMMARY]
THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” This totally exceptional and historically important “Triple MM, Double MID” group is one of the most important WW1 “multiple gallantry” groups ever to come to market.

It is comprised of a unique combination of awards. There were 115,577 single awards of the MM, but only 184 men earned a Military Medal with Two Clasps during The Great War, (and only one three clasp award) Very few triple MM’s have ever come to market and there were only 14 such two clasp medals awarded to the Royal Engineers. We have only been able to trace a total of about ten such groups being sold at auction during the last 15 years.

Combined with its 1914 Star & Bar Trio, the Two MID’s and an LSGC, this is a totally “one only” item.

A completely new offering from a very old private collection.
The group has never previously been on the open market.


THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR” The group is in overall VF+ condition on original ribbons with a few non-distracting edge bumps.
The group was clearly and most proudly worn by Willie Leach who had a sadly short life after he left us in 1931 at the young age of only 41.




”PROBABLY THE MOST HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT MILITARY MEDAL GROUP EVER OFFERED FOR SALE ”

Serious telephone enquiries only
(01342-870926)
With “Quality” Part-Exchanges Welcome

THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY”  MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E.  “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”

THE UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY” MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS”, 1914 Star & Bar Trio, M.I.D.x2 & LSGC. L.Cpl W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, R.E. “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”
£TELEPHONE ENQUIRIES WELCOME. 01342-870926

THE MAGNIFICENT & UNIQUE (Double V.C. Mons-Conde Canal Action) “TRIPLE GALLANTRY” COMBINATION of “MILITARY MEDAL & TWO BARS” with 1914 Star & Bar Trio, Twice M.I.D. & LSGC. 15394 Cpl-Act Sgt W.W. LEACH. 57th Fd Coy, Royal Engineers. “THE FIRST M.M. OF THE GREAT WAR”