By Andrew Cormack
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The elder son, Charlie, was seriously in debt, having been living well beyond his means in Lord Drogheda’s social circle. The other son, Kenneth, emigrated to Australia. One daughter, Leonora, had married, in 1874, John Townsend Trench—‘Towney’—who was Lord Lansdowne’s land agent and lived in Kenmare, county Kerry. George’s widow, Charlotte, was left with little money and two unmarried daughters: Frances (who was 30) and Cecil (17). Ardnamona was sold, and the Wrays moved to a town house in Clarinda Park, Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), not so very far from the Wilsons in Blackrock.
29). South Africa 31 Colenso anticipated some of the battles of the western front a decade-and-ahalf later. Trusting to a heavy artillery bombardment, Clery and Buller expected that the enemy would be sufﬁciently softened up to allow their forces to advance across the Tugela relatively unscathed. ²⁸ Well armed and entrenched, the Boers were able to see off their British attackers with comparative impunity. ³⁰ So it was, and one for which Buller got the blame. Colenso came at the end of ‘Black Week’, during which Sir William Gatacre, leading a small formation in north-east Cape Colony, lost nearly 700 men missing and captured in the battle of Stormberg (10 December), and Lord Methuen was repulsed at Magersfontein in front of Kimberley the following day.
After the battle Wilson wrote to his wife: ‘We never got near the river, and although I was under ﬁre for 5 hours, and sometimes brisk ﬁre, I can only swear to having seen 5 Boers. It’s quite marvellous. I doubt our having killed 100. More likely 50. ’²⁷ ²¹ ²³ ²⁴ ²⁵ ²⁷ Pakenham, Boer War, 213. ²² Wilson diary, 15 Dec. 1899. ‘Supplementary narrative, 25 Nov. 1899–18 Feb. 1900’ (Wilson papers, HHW 3/1/6). Congreve to Wilson, 18 Dec. 1899 (quoted in Pakenham, Boer War, 235). Wilson diary, 15 Dec.