Grattan, Mrs Henry (Née Helen Randal Trench).


4 leaves written on 9 sides, on the headed note paper of ‘Imperial Hotel, Maritzburg, Natal.’ South Africa 1900
Jan 2nd 1900. ‘My Dear Albert I was glad indeed to get your kind letter of the 6th Dec. last night & it was good of you writing. First of all let me say how grieved I was you and Eva, to hear of your Father’s death & you have all my sympathy. Tess I am sure, will have given you all our news. Our hearts are aching with anxiety for those shut up in Ladysmith, & if General Buller fails in his next attack God help them all for they can not hold out much longer. His defeat on the 15th was a crushing blow to all & I fear he is not hopeful of his next battle succeeding-they will do their best, & no officers or men could behave more splendidly then our own are doing however the heads may blunder-but the Boers position at Colenso, which is the ?? node to Natal is an almost impossible position to retake, & they say themselves they can hold it against 70,000 men for any length of time. We hope & trust for the best-but things are very very serious; we have over 900 wounded officers & men here- & their one cry is, that at the battle of Colenso on the 15th they never even saw a Boer, & were shot down like sheep. They are all so good & patiente, & though most of the wounds heal well & quickly, some of them suffer terribly, & their one idea is to be up & help others again. I had a heliograph message from Don [Col. O’Donnel Colley Grattan] on the 18th just saying ‘all right’ but you can guess what comfort those two words were to me. It is so hard getting no personal news ... you know we had to leave at an hours notice, & only allowed the smallest possible quantity of luggage-so everything we possess in the world is in Ladysmith & one is thankful to have a roof over ones head in these days ... The heat here is very great just now-110 on Xmas day & I fear in Ladysmith it must be very bad ... I thank you so much for your kind thought of us, believe me my dear Albert I appreciate it very very much ... I hope this will find you well again thanking you- & with love from myself & the girls, & very good wish for 1900. Believe me yr affec. cousin Helen R Grattan. My love to Eva please, I hope she is keeping free of from influenza this winter. Jan 5th Col. Lion an old friend of ours on Sir Charles Warren’s staff at Estcourt, managed to get a heliograph message through to Don for me for the new year saying girls & self were quite well-& to send back message if possible-& yesterday I got an answer. ‘Grattan well sends messages for 1900’- ... Yrs Hilly. Colonel O’Donnel Colley (1855-1929) He served in the South African war, 1899-1900; operations in Natal in 1899, including actions at Rietfontein and Lombard’s Kop; Defence of Ladysmith. He was mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 10 September 1901); received the Queen’s Medal with clasp, and for services rendered at Ladysmith was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (Lonfon Gazette, 27 September 1901); ‘O’Donnel Colley Grattan, Lieutenant Colonel, Liverpool Regiment. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa.’ The insignia was presented by the King 29th October 1901.
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