Main content

S.A. Wheeler World War II photograph albums from India


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

S.A. Wheeler may have been a Scottish member of the British Air Force posted in India during World War II. Wheeler was probably a lieutenant in No. 221 Group of the Royal Air Force which supported the IV Corps. Throughout World War II, No. 221 Group was reformed on several occasions, but Wheeler probably began his service in February, 1942. He traveled to India aboard the Duchess, and with the exception of at least one trip home to Scotland in late 1942, he appears to have spent the remainder of the War in India. The group was disbanded in September, 1945. It is unclear from the photograph albums if Wheeler saw any combat.

This collection is composed of two volumes of photos taken in India between 1942 and 1945, likely by S.A. Wheeler. A majority of the photographs capture local scenes of the market, the landscape and the people, mostly in Lahore and Dehli but also on trips he took in the region. The volumes also contain some newspaper clippings, stamps, paper money and other mementos. Both volumes contain photographs of "the girl he left behind," but this woman is not named in any captions.

The first volume documents Wheeler's journey to India aboard the Duchess in February, 1942. Once in India, Wheeler appears to have been stationed in Lahore; but during the two years that this volume documents, Wheeler took photographs in Gulmarg, Multan, Rawalpindi, Poona, and Delhi. Wheeler's photographs are frequently of scenic areas, but also show the people of India and fellow soldiers, as well as what appears to be British civilians in India. In late 1942, Wheeler appears to have returned to Scotland on leave; but he was in Rawalpindi for Christmas of 1942 where he enjoyed parties and the Rawalpindi Races. Researchers will find a few photographs of military building including a soldier's room, the Sapper's mess in Lahore, and bomb testing ground. In December 1943, Wheeler was in Delhi. For the most part, the photographs are captioned.

The second volume dates from 1944 to 1945, and is very similar to the first volume in subjects photographed. During this two year period, Wheeler took photographs in Delhi, the Khyber Pass (while on holiday with David), and Ceylon. Of particular interest may be the photographs of Perahera, the procession of Buddha's Sacred Tooth. This volume includes more memorabilia amongst the photographs, including several covers from Victory, a weekly publication for India Command, paper money, stamps, and newspaper clippings. Researchers will also find a photograph of V-E Day celebrations and official documents including the cease-fire command from August 15, 1945 and information about the Japanese surrender. By September 1945, Wheeler was "homeward bound." While many of these photographs are captioned, there are some with no captions or identifying information.

Sold by Kevin Jackson, 2010.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Clémence Scouten
Finding Aid Date
2015 November 6
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
Box 1 Volume 1
Box 1 Volume 2

Print, Suggest