Frederick Wale

A Little Shelford soldier who died during the Indian mutiny is now worshipped as a ‘saint’ and his grave has become a shrine where pilgrims offer up beer and cigarettes.

Captain Frederick Wale died during the uprising of 1857 in Lucknow, India. His grave is now a shrine and locals have started worshipping him hoping he will answer their prayers.

The officer was the eighth son of General Charles Wale and the family comes from Little Shelford and his memorial stone is in All Saints Church where most of his family members are buried.

But now the officer has become a ‘saint’. Worshippers pray to him to help with marital, business problems, diseases and offer beer, cigarettes and bidis made of unprocessed tobacco wrapped in leaves.

Picture: Cambridge News

They say India is a country of several shrines but that Captain Wale’s stands out, not just because of the offering devotees present to him, 

Wale’s tomb fame has travelled far and wide, with devotees from nearby towns pouring in with packs of cigarettes and liquor bottles.

Captain Wale took command of the 1st Sikh irregular cavalry and he served in the siege and capture of Lucknow.

His brigadier reported: “Wale showed great zeal in command and led most successfully in pursuit of the enemy until he was shot.”

Joseph Altham, a descendant of Captain Frederick Wale, wrote a short piece based in his memoir which is still in the possession of the family. This tells the story of Captain Wale and the Battle of Ferozeshah.
These words are included on the back of this painting (left):
"This picture, is of Minna Wale (right) , who married Col George Marshall, Royal Artillery, and of Adelaide Wale known as Aida. She is the smaller little girl. She married Charles Bruce Willis. Their children were Frederick, Hilary, Fiorella, Isabel and Doris. In 1857 the Indian Mutiny occurred. Capt Frederick Wale, father of the two little girls, was killed but they and their mother escaped to safety hidden in a cart drawn by bullocks.
"This picture was painted in Peshawar in 1853. Capt Frederick Wale, my Great Grandfather, at the instigation of Sir John Lawrence, Chief of the Punjab, took the 11th Bengal Cavalry down to the relief of Delhi during the Indian Mutiny in 1857. This regiment became known as Wale's Horse and remained so until Wale was kiled by a sniper in March 1857.During a follow up of the mutineers during the relief of Lucknow from where my grandmother (known as Aida) and her sister Minna (later married Col Marshall) were smuggled out by a bearer (servant) hidden in a bullock cart. Aida is the little girl on the right. (Information given to me by Lt Col Robbie Barcrcoft) . John Altham."

A fascinating article is attached below with Joseph's permission.

David Martin,
24 May 2014, 04:00