b. 08/1820 Orwell, Kinross, Scotland. d. 06/12/1892 Fulham, London.
Peter Leitch (1820-1892) was born in August 1820 in Orwell, Kinross, Scotland. Little is known about his early life prior to his enlistment with the Corps of Royal Engineers sometime prior to the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854.
Prior to his arrival in the Crimean Peninsula, Leitch had been involved in action at Bomarsund, where his actions were noticed for their gallantry. Colour Sergeant Leitch then proceeded to the Crimea, where he was mostly involved in the trenches at the Siege of Sebastopol. The incident which would lead to his award of the Victoria Cross occurred on 18th June 1855 during the assault on the Redan.
Leitch approached the Redan with the leading ladder party, and he formed a caponniere across the ditch, as well as a ramp, by fearlessly ripping down gabions from the parapet, and placing and filling them until he was disabled from his wounds. Leitch’s award of the VC was announced on 2nd June 1858.
Leitch was also awarded the Crimean Medal with clasps and the Legion of Honour by the French. Leitch’s life following the service in the Crimea is largely unknown, though his retirement was spent in London, where on the 6th December 1892, he died in Fulham, aged 72. He was buried in Margarvine Cemetery, Hammersmith in an unmarked grave. In 2016, the Victoria Cross Trust placed a new headstone on the site of Leitch’s grave. His medals are held and displayed at the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham, Kent.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL ENGINEERS MUSEUM, CHATHAM, KENT.
BURIAL PLACE: MARGARVINE CEMETERY, HAMMERSMITH, LONDON.
GRAVE 7 - H - 18
Peter Leitch's medals including VC on display at the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham, Kent (April 2014).
Leitch Row, Chatham, Kent
Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham, Kent
New headstone installed by the Victoria Cross Trust in May 2016 (Gary Stapleton)