Elaine Cynthia Wheeler (nee Hassett), 1923-1981

Elaine Cynthia Wheeler. Nana. The sole inspiration for this Anglo-Indian Project – as mentioned in previous posts. After months of searching for records, information, stories, anecdotes and anything I can get my hands on – and i’m still going – I have accumulated masses. Along with Stanley Wheeler – Elaine’s late husband, my grandfather – I feel that I have not done justice to either of them yet. This will now change. There are still plenty of other avenues to explore, but this post will focus on Elaine.

I never got to meet Nana. She died, tragically young, aged 57 in February 1981. I was born in October 1981. Less than eight months after her death – so I can take some solace in the fact I was technically ‘around’ for the final month of her life – and maybe influenced at the time by her without realising.

My intention with this project was to not only discover my ancestry and build a ‘family tree’, but more importantly to build up a sense of what the life of Elaine was like, what type of person she was, what she liked / disliked, what were her aspirations. I have collected a lot of information thus far and as I mine through it i’m building a broad picture to answer some of these questions and much more.

The primary intention of this post is to detail Elaine’s official records. Future posts will delve deeper into the context of her life.

Elaine Cynthia Hassett was born on 20 November 1923:

Elaine Cynthia Hassett_bap_c

Her baptism record reveals:

  1. Place of baptism: the Church of St Mary, Parel, Bombay
  2. Date of baptism: 24 February 1924
  3. Parents names: David Vincent Hassett and Edith Aileen Hassett
  4. Parents abode: Sion
  5. Fathers profession: Preventative Officer of Customs, Bombay

Elaine’s parents David Vincent Hassett and Edith Aileen Hassett have been documented in many previous posts. The abode of David and Edith at the time of Elaine’s baptism, Sion, was a neighbourhood in Bombay (and remains in contemporary Mumbai). David Hassett worked as a customs officer in Bombay – more on this in later posts. Almost two years after the birth of Elaine, David and Edith welcomed a second child on September 6th 1925, Leonard Havelock Hassett.

19 years after her birth, Elaine married – dare I say, a fine young gentleman from Darlington, UK – Stanley Wheeler (more to come about Stan in a future post). Their marriage took place on 27 June 1943:

Stanley and Elaine_mar_c

This revealed:

  1. Marriage location: St Mary’s Church, Parel
  2. Marriage date: 27 June 1943
  3. Names: Stanley Wheeler and Elaine Cynthia Hassett
  4. Registered age at marriage: Stanley: 25, Elaine: 19
  5. Condition (marital status): Stanley: Bachelor, Elaine: Spinster
  6. Rank or profession of Stanley Wheeler: Sergeant in R.A.
  7. Residence at time of marriage: Stanley: Ahmednagar, Elaine: Dadar
  8. Father’s name: Stanley: John William Wheeler, Elaine: David Vincent Hassett
  9. Banns (public announcement in a Christian parish church of an impending marriage)
  10. Witness signatures: C. Bedford and B. Bedford

Pictures of St Mary’s Church can be seen here and some brief footage from within the church – the St. Mary The Virgin Mumbai Choir – can be seen here:

Elaine’s place of residence at the time of the marriage, Dadar, was a neighbourhood in Bombay (and remains in contemporary Mumbai). Ahmednagar, Stanley’s residence at the time of their marriage, was within the Bombay presidency, but approximately 160 miles East of Bombay City (likewise, Ahmednagar remains in contemporary India).

Previously, I commented that witnesses may be insightful for many reasons. One of the witnesses has been, in part identified. Mrs B. Bedford is listed in an address book of Elaine’s sometime during the late-1970s as living in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire, UK. A small breakthrough which may lead to further information and insight.

In addition to the marriage record, Stanley and Elaine’s marriage licence revealed the following:

Stanley and Elaine_mar cert orig2

  1. Place of Marriage: Church of St Mary the Virgin, Parel, Bombay
  2. Date of Marriage: 27 June 1943
  3. Names and Nationality: Stanley Wheeler (English) and Elaine Cynthia Hassett (Anglo Indian)
  4. Registered age at marriage: Stanley: 25, Elaine: 19
  5. Condition (marital status): Stanley: Bachelor, Elaine: Spinster
  6. Rank or profession of Stanley Wheeler: Sergeant army
  7. Residence at time of marriage: Stanley: Ahmednagar, Elaine: Parel, Bombay
  8. Father’s name: Stanley: John William Wheeler, Elaine: David Vincent Hassett
  9. Rank or profession of father: Stanley, Electrician; Elaine, Deceased
  10. License/Banns: Licence
  11. In the presence of: C. Bedford and B. Bedford

Confirmation of many of the marriage record details, however, some additional / differing details. The licence lists the nationality of both parties: Stanley, English; Elaine, Anglo Indian. Confirmation of Elaine’s Anglo Indian status. Another piece of interesting information is the differing residence of Elaine on the licence (Parel, Bombay) compared with the record (Dadar). These were two separate neighbourhoods in Bombay (and remain in contemporary Mumbai). Dadar is North of Parel and shares a boundary. There are many explanations for this, possibly: (1) one of the records could be wrong (2) looking at the dates of each record (i) the banns record: 2 July 1943, and (ii) the marriage licence: 13 July 1943, stamped by the central registry 27 August 1943, it could be that Elaine had moved house in this time period – perhaps to shared accommodation with her new husband, perhaps with her parents.

We know that Elaine and Stanley moved to England with first born child, David around Nov/Dec 1945. Living in Darlington they went on to have four more children (more about them later).

On 24 February 1981, Elaine sadly passed away of heart failure.


Survived initially by her husband, Stan, five children and eight grandchildren, her memory now lives on through three generations: her five children, thirteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren.


Hopefully through this blog we can do justice to the life she led and those who went before her.

Cover Picture Credit: Vivien Marshall

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40 thoughts on “Elaine Cynthia Wheeler (nee Hassett), 1923-1981

  1. hi dan–
    the ship was the cameronia –shipping line anchor line–arrived in Glasgow 14th December 1945—mam Elaine and david William wheeler – departure from bombay–dad was not on the passenger list
    presume he came on a military ship as he was still in service–doug

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