Captain German Wheatcroft

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2 Responses

  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Captain German Wheatcroft
    The following is one of the earliest accounts which appeared in The Scientific Aspect of the Supernatural by Alfred Russel Wallace (1866), which dates from within a decade of the actual event.

    On the night between the 14th and 15th of November, 1857, the wife of Captain G. Wheatcroft, residing in Cambridge, dreamed that she saw her husband (then in India.) She immediately awoke, and, looking up, she perceived the same figure standing by her bedside. He appeared in his uniform, the hands pressed across the breast, the hair dishevelled, the face very pale. His large dark eyes were fixed full upon her; their expression was that of great excitement and there was a peculiar contraction of the mouth, habitual to him when agitated. She saw him even to each minute particular of his dress, as distinctly as she had ever done in her life. The figure seemed to bend forward as if in pain, and to make an effort to speak, but there was no sound. It remained visible, the wife thinks, as long as a minute, and then disappeared. She did not sleep again that night. Next morning she related all this to her mother, expressing her belief that Captain W. was either killed or wounded. In due course a telegram was received to the effect that Captain W. had been killed before Lucknow on the 15th of November. The widow informed the Captain’s solicitor, Mr. Wilkinson, that she had been quite prepared for the fatal news, but she felt sure there was a mistake of a day in the date of his death. Mr. Wilkinson then obtained a certificate from the War Office, which was as follows:–

    9579. No.___, War Office, 30th January, 1858.

    "These are to certify that it appears, by the records in this office that Captain G. Wheatcroft, of the 6th Dragoon Guards, was killed in action on the 15th of Nov.," 1857.

    (Signed) "B. Hawes."

    A remarkable incident now occurred. Mr. Wilkinson was visiting a friend in London, whose wife has all her life had perception of apparitions, while her husband is a "medium." He related to them the vision of the Captain’s widow, and described the figure as it appeared to her, when Mrs. N. instantly said, "That must be the very person I saw on the evening we were talking of India." In answer to Mr. Wilkinson’s questions, she said they had obtained a communication from him through her husband, and he had said, that he had been killed in India that afternoon by a wound in the breast. It was about nine o’clock in the evening; she did not recollect the date. On further enquiry, she remembered that she had been interrupted by a tradesman, and had paid a bill that evening; and on bringing it for Mr. Wilkinson’s inspection, the receipt bore date the Fourteenth of November. In March, 1858, the family of Captain Wheatcroft received a letter from Captain G___ C___, dated Lucknow, 19th of December, 1857, in which he said he had been close to Captain W. when he fell, and that it was on the fourteenth in the afternoon, and not on the 15th as reported in Sir Colin Campbell’s despatches. He was struck by a fragment of a shell in the breast. He was buried at Dilkoosha, and on a wooden cross at the head of his grave are cut the initials G. W., and the date of his death, 14th of November. The War Office corrected their mistake. Mr. Wilkinson obtained another copy of the certificate in April 1859, and found it in the same words as that already given, only that the 14th of November had been substituted for the 15th.

    Mr. Owen obtained the whole of these facts, directly from the parties themselves. The widow of Captain Wheatcroft examined and corrected his MSS. and showed him a copy of Captain C.’s letter. Mr. Wilkinson did the same, and Mrs. N___ herself related to him the facts which occurred to her. Mrs. N___ had also related the circumstances to Mr. Howitt before Mr. Owen’s (Robert Dale Owen) investigations, as he certifies in his "History of the Supernatural," vol. 2., p. 225. Mr. Owen also states that he has in his possession both the War Office certificates, the first showing the erroneous and the second the corrected date.

    Here we have the same apparition appearing to two ladies unknown to and remote from each other, on the same night; the communication obtained through a third person, declaring the time and mode of death; and all coinciding exactly with the events happening many thousand miles away. We presume the facts thus attested will not be disputed; and to attribute the whole to "coincidence," must surely be too great a stretch of credulity, even for the most incredulous.

  2. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Captain German Wheatcroft
    The Memorial at Sedbergh School, Sedbergh, Cumbria, reads "To the memory of Captain German Wheatcroft of the Inniskilling Dragoons and the 6th Dragoon Guards who charged with the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava and, having offered his services during the Indian Mutiny, was killed at Lucknow on the 14th November 1857 while gallantly leading a squadron of the 9th Lancers."