Lieutenant James Leith VC


On 1 April 1858 Lieutenant James Leith rescued a fellow officer from mutineers. Captain Need of the 14th LD was surrounded by Mahratta infantrymen at the River Betwa. His horse refused to move and he was slashed at from all sides. Lieut Leith rode in alone and fought beside him until they were able to extricate themselves.

James Leith was born on 26 may 1826 at Glenkindie, Aberdeenshire. He went to Cambridge and excelled at cricket, winning a blue in 1848. He first appeared on the Army List in 1850 as a cornet in the 14th Light Dragoons and by 1854 was a lieutenant. He was the senior lieutenant in 1858 but left the regiment in that year or early 1859. He reached the rank of major and died in London on 13 May 1869.


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by Stephen Luscombe