Gerard Leachman Collection

Scope and Content

Diaries written by Lt-Colonel Gerard Evelyn Leachman from 1900-1910. Three diaries document his first military post with the Royal Sussex Regiment in South Africa during the Boar War. Leachman describes the landscape and places he travels through, the people he meets and the regiment's encounters with the Boar right through to when peace is declared and he is re-posted to India. Two further diaries document Leachman's journey from Iraq (Baghdad) to Syria (Aleppo) and from India to England while on military leave and his first expedition to the Arab Peninsula through Baghdad, for which he was awarded the Gill Medal by the Royal Geographical Society. The final diary consists of newspaper clippings reporting on Leachman's death by English and Arab newspapers, documenting his career and giving details of his murder and burial.

Administrative / Biographical History

Leachman, Gerard Evelyn (1880-1920) Soldier.

Born 27 Jul 1880 in Petersfield, Hampshire. Leachman attended Charterhouse school from Oct 1893 to Dec 1897 and from there he joined the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He began his military service with the Royal Sussex Regiment on 10 Feb 1900 as Second Lieutenant in 'C' company, commanded by Captain Robinson in the South African War. Leachman returned to England on 15 Sept 1900 after being shot while on duty, he later returned to South Africa at the end of 1900 to begin his second year's service where he witnessed the end of the war on 1 Jun 1902. Leachman was then posted to India with his regiment having earned the Queen's Medal 4 clasps and the Kings Medal 2 clasps. In 1905 Leachman travelled into Tibet on one of his first expeditions, journeying through Kashmir, Persia, Iraq and Turkey. Leachman took military leave and travelled from India to England on 31 Jan 1907, travelling through Persia, Dubai, Baghdad and Aleppo before arriving in England on 18 Apr 1907. When Leachman returned to India, he began working for Military Intelligence; here he learnt Arabic and German and studied intelligence reports from around Arabia. In 1910 Leachman took part in his first expedition to the Arabian Peninsula travelling through Baghdad with his regiment, he documented his journey in great detail and was awarded the Macgregor Medal for Exploration in 1910 and in Mar 1911 was awarded by the Royal Geographical Society the Gill Memorial medal. As the Mesopotamia Campaign advanced northward towards Baghdad in 1915, Leachman was sent to Basra to work with tribes from Southern Iraq. In Mar 1917 Leachman was sent to Cairo to be briefed on London's plans for a post war Arabia, he returned to Mesopotamia as Lieutenant Colonel and was posted to Karbala and in Nov 1918 Leachman was awarded the DSO. A revolt in Iraq in Jun 1920 led to Leachman being murdered on 12 Aug 1920 by Khamis, son of Dhari al-Mahmud of the Zuba' tribe. Leachman's body was placed in the British Cemetery in Baghdad on 1 Mar 1921, he never married.



Access Information


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Acquisition Information

Received before 1978

Archivist's Note

Fonds and file and item level description created by Kate Rose, Feb 2012. Biographical history based on entry from Leachman's diaries, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on Leachman, Who's Who published by A & C Black and from the TS from 'The Legend of Lijman', an unpublished biographical history of Leachman by Harry St John Bridger Philby.

Conditions Governing Use

No restrictions on copying or quotation other than statutory regulations and preservation concerns

Related Material

In Middle East Centre Archive

  • GB165-0229 Philby Collection - 4/1/4 Legend of Lijman, unpublished biographical history of Leachman by Harry St John Bridger Philby.

In Other Repositories:

  • Royal Sussex Regiment Archives held at the West Sussex Record Office Archon Code : 182. RSR/PH/11/23 Photographs of Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard E. Leachman c.1909-1920. RSR/MSS/13/44 The Baghdad Times. Article on the funeral of Lieutenant-Colonel G. E. Leachman of The Royal Sussex Regiment 4 March 1921


Biographies written of Lt-Colonel Gerard Evelyn Leachman:

  • Bray, Major N. N. E., A paladin of Arabia; the biography of Brevet Lieut.-Colonel G. E. Leachman, C.I.E., D.S.O., of the Royal Sussex regiment (London: J. Heritage, The Unicorn press Ltd, 1936)
  • instone, H.V.F., Leachman : "OC Desert" : the life of Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard Leachman D.S.O.London (New York : Quartet Books, 1982)