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Wheeler, Percy Roy (1912–1938)

Struck by lightning at Nangus stock reserve on Friday afternoon, two Wagga men were killed, but their fate was not discovered until Saturday morning.

The victims were:-

Edward Raymond Alexander Laney, aged 26 years, drover, of Crampton-lane, Wagga.

Percival Roy Wheatley, better known as Wheeler, aged 26 years, of Albury-street, Wagga.

On January 7 the two men set out from Wagga with a mob of sheep for Mr Alexander Nicholls, of South Gundagai. They arrived at Nangus stock reserve, 12 miles south of Gundagai, on the Hume Highway, on Friday afternoon.

A vivid storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning, passed over that area about 4 o’clock on Friday afternoon, and it is presumed that the men stayed there under a tree to escape its effects.

Mr Nicholls was to meet the men and take delivery of the sheep at Minter’s reserve, a few miles south of Gundagai, on Saturday morning, and when they did not arrive, he continued along the road to meet them. At Nangus reserve he found the bodies of the two men, lying face upwards under a tree which had obviously been struck by lightning.

Returning to Gundagai, he informed Sergeant Pyne, and these two, together with the district coroner (Mr C.G.D. Allman), the Government Medical Officer (Dr Wood), Ambulance Officer R.S. Osmond, and Constable Quinn went to the scene of the tragedy.

The faces of the men had been disfigured by the lightning, the bodies had been scorched and their hair singed. They were taken to the Gundagai morgue where they were identified. The coroner later gave an order for burial.

Wheeler had lived all his life in Wagga and Pullitop districts and was a son of Mrs Sahib Dad, of Pullitop. He is survived by his mother and one brother, Mr Charles Wheeler, of Wagga. His funeral will leave Mr J.C. McDonald’s funeral parlor, Wagga, at 11.30 o’clock this morning for the Wagga cemetery.

VICTIM’S FUNERAL

Laney is survived by his widow and one child, Catherine Mary Laney, also his parents, Mr and Mrs William Laney, of Urana-road, Wagga, and three brothers, Messrs Thomas, of Newcastle, William, of Malebo, and Albert Laney of Adelong, and one sister, Mrs F. Beck, of Adelong. The body was brought from Gundagai to Wagga yesterday, his funeral taking place in the afternoon. The cortege, which was very large and representative, moved from Mr J.C. McDonald’s funeral parlor, Wagga, after a service had been conducted by the Rev. A.J. Gould, of Wagga, interment taking place in the family portion of the Methodist cemetery. Mr Gould, at the graveside, made reference to the tragic circumstances in which Mr Laney had met his death and said that the respect and esteem in which he was held was shown by the large gathering of friends at the obsequies.

The casket, which was laden with floral tributes, was carried to the grave by Messrs Charles and Albert Laney (brothers), and four fellow drovers, Messrs W. Rudd, Thomas Gardner, W.J. Walden, and Albert Dunn. The chief mourners at the graveside were the bereaved widow (Mrs E.R.A. Laney), Mr and Mrs William Laney (parents), Messrs Charles and Albert Laney (brothers), Mrs Charles Laney and Mrs Albert Laney (sisters-in-law), and Messrs Thomas Coates and James Knight (uncles). One brother, Mr Thomas Laney, and sister, Mrs F. Beck, were unable to be present.

Noticed among the friends at the graveside were Messrs G. Bowen, of the A.M.L. and F. Co., Ltd, Wagga, W. Churche, Jack Hargreaves, Mr and Mrs George Birmingham, Mrs H. Price, Messrs Alfred Dunn, and W.H. Price, Mrs R. McFarlane, Mr and Mrs T. Lawson, Mr and Mrs Arthur McFarlane, Messrs Leslie Peacock and L. Miles, Mrs J. Price, Mrs J. McDonald, Mr and Mrs F. Taylor, Mr Henry Rudd, Mr and Mrs F. Taylor, Mrs Learmonth, Mrs Leighton, Messrs H. Dunn and K. Beer, Mr and Mrs Albert Snowden, Mrs G. Elphick, Mr T. Cusack, Mrs Herrington, Mesdames Singh, Rowe, Hill, Steiner, Messrs William Knight, Roy Castles, Gordon Castles, Mrs Sahib Dad, Messrs Wheeler, William Hartley, Clegg, Fred Kelly, Louis Collins, Herbert Drought, Edge, Len Hastie, Mr and Mrs J. Hudson, Mrs Reinecker, Mrs Ricardo, Mr and Mrs John Parsons, Mrs A. McFarlane, Messrs V. Davis, Boyton, Banfield, Mr and Mrs Smith, Messrs Jonah Quinn, William Smith, and many others who were present from Pullitop, Moorong, Malebo, Urana, Adelong and Wagga and district. Among the many beautiful wreaths was one from the Wagga drovers. The funeral arrangements were conducted by Mr J.C. McDonald of Wagga.

Obituary text not yet available.

Original publication

Citation details

'Wheeler, Percy Roy (1912–1938)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/wheeler-percy-roy-16161/text28109, accessed 1 December 2021.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2021

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Wheatley, Percy Roy
Birth

1912

Death

14 January 1938
Gundagai, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

lightning strike