Leakey’s Luck : A Tank Commander with Nine Lives

Major General Rea Leakey was one of the Royal Tank Regiment’s greatest heroes of the Second World War. As a young tank commander, he fought Rommel’s Afrika Korps in the Western Desert of Egypt, before becoming trapped for six months in the siege of Tobruk and temporarily joining the Australian infantry as an honorary Lance Corporal. He later returned to the European theatre in 1944 and served as a Churchill tank commander in Normandy, the Rhine and Germany. Despite it being strictly forbidden, Leakey kept a diary throughout his soldiering career. Based on this valuable account, Leakey’s Luck documents Leakey’s wartime service in its entirety, and offers a view of the war through the eyes of a man who was there at the ‘sharp end’. Many of his exploits were hair-raising, some even too fantastic to believe. Incredibly, Leakey’s luck held out throughout the war, and he remained in the British Army until retirement in 1968.