Francis Wheatley VC. DCM.

Francis Wheatley (1821 – 21/05/1865) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Crimean War.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 21971, Page:662, reads:

“1st Bat. Rifle Brigade, Private F. Wheatley,

For throwing a live shell over the parapet of the trenches.”

On 12 October 1854 Wheatley and some other Riflemen were occupying a section of the trenches before Sevastopol when a live Russian shell fell amongst the men. Without hesitation Wheatley seized hold of the shell and endeavoured to knock the fuse out with the butt of his rifle. He was unsuccessful at the first attempt and so, with great presence of mind and deliberation he managed somehow to heave it over the parapet of the trench. It had scarcely fallen outside when it exploded. Had it not been for his coolness, presence of mind and supreme courage and discipline, the shell would have inevitably exploded amongst the party causing serious casualties, but instead not a man was hurt”

He died on 21 May 1865 at Westminster Hospital, London from acute myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord) and asphyxia, and is buried in Brompton Cemetery in London

Brompton Cemetery

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