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  • Christina Drummond

Major George Godfrey Massy Wheeler VC, 7th Hariana Lancers, British Indian Army

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Major George Godfrey Massy Wheeler VC, 7th Hariana Lancers, British Indian Army, was killed in action at Shaiba, Mesopotamia.

The grandson of Sir Hugh Massy Wheeler (a central figure of the Indian Mutiny of 1857), he was commissioned in the Wiltshire Regiment in 1893, and promoted to Lieutenant two years later. He then transferred to the Indian Staff Corps where he was attached to the 7th Bengal Lancers, stationed at Faizabad. In 1901 he was appointed Adjutant of the regiment, and promoted to Captain a year later. During the Great War he held the rank of Major in the 7th Hariana Lancers.

For his actions on the day of his death, and the day before, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The citation tells the story: "For most conspicuous bravery at Shaiba, Mesopotamia. On the 12th April, 1915, Major Wheeler asked permission to take out his Squadron and attempt to capture a flag, which was the centre point of a group of the enemy who were firing on one of our picquets. He advanced and attacked the enemy's infantry with the Lance, doing considerable execution among them. He then retired while the enemy swarmed out of hidden ground and formed an excellent target to our Royal Horse Artillery guns. On the 13th April, 1915, Major Wheeler led his Squadron to the attack of the North Mound. He was seen far ahead of his men riding single-handed straight for the enemy's standards. This gallant Officer was killed on the Mound." The drawing illustrates his courage that day. He is buried in the Basra War Cemetery.

George, from Bedford, was 42 years old and married.

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