Tributes to local historian

Former Scotland Yard detective chief inspector and Batley News contributor Philip Wheeler has died.
Former Scotland Yard detective chief inspector and Batley News contributor Philip Wheeler has died.
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Philip Wheeler, who became known to Observer & Advertiser readers through his World War One articles, has died in hospital after a long illness.

Mr Wheeler was born in Morley in May 1952 and spent his childhood years with his parents, two older sisters and two younger brothers at Fairfax Avenue, Drighlington.

He attended Drighlington Junior and Infants School and Batley Grammar School following which he trained as a teacher at Bognor Regis College of Education.

In 1979, after four years of teaching in secondary schools, he joined the Metropolitan Police.

He rose to the rank of detective chief inspector with Scotland Yard.

Mr Wheeler gained national and international recognition for his work in the area of policing child abuse.

He was an early advocate of specialist police training and the use of specialist units in the field of child abuse policing.

Together with a team of doctors he was responsible for developing protocols for the Home Office in respect of the murder of babies.

His work covered specifically ‘shaken baby syndrome’. He was described by the daily Mail as a “true champion for abused children”.

Mr Wheeler was recently best known for his historical writings. In 2014 he co-authored the book Batley Lads, which told the story of ex-Batley Grammar School pupils who fell in the First World War.

He researched the stories behind the names on Drighlington War Memorial and he intended to extend his research into other memorials. He was a regular contributor of historical items to newspapers and journals.

Mr Wheeler is survived by his wife Mary and their three children, Louise, Claire and Jonathan.

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, February 9 at 3.30pm at the West Hertfordshire Crematorium, Watford.