Private Henry Ernest Wheeler
Royal Fusiliers
posted to 2/2 Bn London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)

Town Memorial P10.R2.C3

Taken, Not Given, Liam Sumption, L&DLHS

Henry E Wheeler
2nd Royal Fusiliers
Oct 26 1917

The War Memorial attributes Henry Wheeler to the Royal Fusiliers and the notice of his death in the Parish magazine issue of December 1917 states that he belonged to the 2/2nd London Regiment Royal Fusiliers. (1)

The Parish magazine states that he was killed in action on 28 October 1917. However his name does not appear on the lists of either the Royal Fusiliers or the City of London Regiment dead contained in Soldiers Who Died in the Great War.

Nevertheless, the Parish magazine is precise as to unit and the War Diary of 2/2nd City of London Regiment confirms that the battalion was in action at Passechendaele on 26 October 1917 and had a dreadful time. (2)

The situation was chaotic, messages were sent by carrier pigeon by forward units and everything went wrong. The action took place along the Poelcapelle-Spriet Road. Though zero hour was 5.40 a.m. tapes for the 'start line' did not arrive until 7.30 a.m., barrage tables and situation maps did not become available to the Battalion until 8.30 p.m. the previous evening.

'Zero hour', as previously stated, was at 5.40 a.m. The heavies fell short and the battalion had received no hot drinks or food since the 23rd, nor did the survivors get any until they return to SIEGE CAMP on the 27th.

CAMERON HOUSE was reached at 7.15 a.m. and MORAY HOUSE was captured. GLOSTER HOUSE was put in a state of defence with 2/4th City of London Regt. The Germans counter-attacked MORAY HOUSE and by 11.45 as some of the positions taken had been recaptured by the enemy.

As was invariably the case in an infantry attack on the Western Front of the losses were heavy. They were:

Officers: Killed 3; Wounded 3; Wounded & Missing 2; Missing nil
ORs: Killed 33; Wounded 180; Wounded & Missing 68; Missing 104
Totals: Killed 36; Wounded 183; Wounded & Missing 70; Missing 104

A total of 393, about half the battalion at normal strength.

Notes on sources
1. Parish magazine of St Mary and St Nicholas, Leatherhead - issue of December 1917
2. File W0953001 War Diary 2/2nd London Regiment - Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond

Further research


Service Number G/67207
Died 26/10/1917
Aged 19
Royal Fusiliers
posted to 2nd/2nd Bn.
London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)
Son of George and Emily Wheeler, of 12, Poplar Avenue, Leatherhead, Surrey.
Location: West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Cemetery/memorial reference: VII. C. 3.

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 24 November 1917

Information has been received that Pte. Henry E. Wheeler of the London Regiment, was killed in action in France on October 26th. Prior to joining up deceased lived with his parents at Patsom, Leatherhead.

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 29 December 1917

The list which present has been compiled from the names that have been recorded in our Columns during the past year ...
WHEELER, Pte H.E., London Regt., whose parents lived at Leatherhead.

His life

Henry Wheeler was born on 11 July 1898 in Leatherhead, Surrey and baptised at All Saints, Leatherhead on 25 September 1898 (record 280 transferred to the Parish Church Register as entry 1081).

His father was George Norman Wheeler. A George Wheeler was born on 18 August 1864 to Elizabeth Wheeler in Epsom Workhouse. The registration of Henry Wheeler's marriage left the name of his father blank.

Other sources show different birth dates or implied birth (eg 1867) dates for George and the information provided in the 1901 and 1911 Cenuses is inconsistent.

George Norman Wheeler was a Farm Labourer at Patsom, near Leatherhead for much of his life. He was named in Henry's Pension Record.

Henry's mother was Emily Louisa Hill, baptised on 29 July 1866 at Strood near Rochester, Kent. She was a daughter of Robert and Harriet Louisa Hill.

They were married on October 2 1892:

George Wheeler - 25 - Bachelor - Labourer - Epsom Common: Father - blank
Emily Louisa Hill - 26 - Spinster - Epsom Common: Father - Robert Hill, Labourer

His siblings were Emma b abt 1892, Alice b abt 1894, Harriet Louisa b 1894, George Alfred b 1897.

His mother Elizabeth died aged 33 and was buried in Leatherhead Parish Churchyard on  29 June 1900 but no record has been found of where she was buried there.

Henry lived at:

1901 Census: Cottage at Patsom, Leatherhead
1911 Census: Pachesham, Patsome Nr Leatherhead: at school
1919 Electoral Register (father): Patsom, Leatherhead

He was single when he died aged 19.

After the war

According to the Electoral Registers Henry's father, George, was no longer at Pachesham after 1898.
A George Wheeler was living at 12 Poplar Road, Leatherhead in 1923 and 1926.

George N Wheeler's death at the age of 59 was registered at Epsom in July 1926. He is buried in Leatherhead Parish Churchyard:

E617/1 WHEELER G.N. d1926

Possibly this is where Henry's mother, who died in 1900, is also buried.

Henry Wheeler is remembered on these memorials
Leatherhead Town Memorial
Leatherhead RBL Roll of Honour, Leatherhead Parish Church
Ladies War Shrine, Leatherhead Parish Church
Church Lads Brigade Memorial Tryptich, All Saints Leatherhead
Surrey in the Great War

the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him, and of any recollections within his family

last updated 11 Aug 20: 28 Dec 20