Alan Leek launches book: Frederick Whirlpool VC Australia’s Hidden Victoria Cross
Throughout his life as a detective and an author Alan Leek has always had a passion for finding answers.
The Camden Head resident has just released his second book titled ‘Frederick Whirlpool VC – Australia’s Hidden Victoria Cross’.
The book explores the true story behind the false name of the first man in an Australian uniform to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
It was a topic which Alan came across accidentally, while he was writing another novel.
“I thought it was terrible for a Victoria Cross recipient to lie in an unmarked grave,” he said.
Alan discovered the real name of Australia’s first Victoria Cross recipient was Humphrey James.
Humphrey was born in Ireland and purposely hid his true identity when he joined the East India Company’s 3rd Bombay European Regiment.
Alan said the name mystery has puzzled historians for over 150 years and he believed the man’s true story is one which deserved to be heard.
“It is one of heroism, suffering and failure but the forgotten man triumphs in its telling,” Alan said.
Alan started his research journey with a ‘clean slate’.
Before he became an author, Alan was a former detective and superintendent of police. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in USA, Charles Sturt and Macquarie Universities.
“Unlike other historians, I didn’t make any assumptions about the man I was researching,” he said.
“I think I have my career background to thank for that.”
The book took six years to write but during that time Alan didn’t hit any real brick walls when it came to unraveling the mystery.
“I found it absolutely compulsive,” he said.
“I never got tired of it, as I enjoyed constantly learning.”
Alan is currently working on his third book which delves into past murders of police officers.