Leith, James VC

(26 May 1826 – 13 May 1869)

Local Connection:
Attended Blackheath Proprietary School

War Service:
Major James Leith VC was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, Leith was 31 years old, and a lieutenant in the 14th Light Dragoons (later 14th Hussars (The King's)), British Army during the Indian Mutiny when, on 1 April 1858 at Betwa, India, the following deed led to his being awarded the Victoria Cross:
For conspicuous bravery at Betwah, on the 1st of April, 1858, in having, charged alone, and rescued Captain Need, of the same Regiment, when surrounded by a large number of rebel Infantry. Despatch from Major-General Sir Hugh Henry
Rose, G.C.B., dated 28th April, 1858.

The medal is currently displayed at the 14th/20th King's Hussars gallery of the Museum of Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire.
He was appointed to the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms in 1868.


James Leith was educated at Blackheath Proprietary School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He played cricket for Cambridge University from 1846 to 1849.

His local connection has been discovered since the Victoria Cross Memorial was unveiled in 2015, so he is not named on the memorial


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