Southwold Railway Trust Archive of Wenhaston

History Note #31: Wenhaston Millions

History Note #31: Wenhaston Millions
Major Crane and his plan to scam some locals

A local sensation occurred in 1934 when the ‘Wenhaston Millions’ came to light. It appears that a Major Crane persuaded a man from Blythburgh and two brothers from Wenhaston to part with £5,000 and their reward would be millions. His case was that he had a mortgage with a London bank and they had refused payment on one of his cheques and he was suing them. He claimed that the Bank of England had taken his side in the claim to a very large sum of money. Major Crane was very glib and our locals were completely taken in by his promises of riches. He claimed to have the matter in the hands of the High Court and the Official Secrets Act was quoted.

As time went by the claim, with interest, had increased to 45 million pounds! He produced a document said to be signed by King George V, no less, supporting the claim. However he overstepped the mark when he arranged to marry a Mrs Duke, who was already married but our Major insisted he could arrange a quick divorce. The local vicar was not convinced by the forged signatures on the document and when he made investigations Major Crane went missing!

On July 19th he was arrested at Hackney selling vegetables and was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to four years. It all made front page news in the National Papers. Afterwards it transpired that even his name was false. Not Major Crane but David Percy Caprice, married with three children and he even held a forged passport showing him having a balance of millions of pounds.