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Thomas R Greig


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  • Name Thomas R Greig 
    Born Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    • lived in Ayton

      He served for over 11 years with the 13th Hussars, Relief of Ladysmith (South African Boer War 1899-1902) etc. then went to Australia with some of their children in 1923 on the "Barrabool". During the Relief of Ladysmith he wrote a very interesting letter from the actual battle field, which was published in the Ayton newspaper

      The following is an excerpt from a letter from Trooper T. Greig, an Ayton man of the13th Hussars, now at Chievely Camp, written early in January to his brother in law Sergeant Jones of the Ayton volunteers:-
      I have been wondering how you spent Christmas and the New Year, and I will try and tell you how I spent the time within a short distance of the Boer Camp.
      To begin I may tell you we have no beds. We wrap ourselves up in our great coats
      and lie down on the ground with our saddles for pillows. We have rain, thunder and lightening every night, and during the day we can hardly endure the heat. We turned out at 2 o'clock on Christmas morning, and were on duty till 9 o'clock
      at night, and all we had was breakfast, of one hard biscuit and cold coffee.
      It was worse on Old Year's night , I was out all night till morning watching the outposts.We have been in this post now for nearly a month trying to get up to
      relieve Ladysmith. We have 25,000 troops here, and there are 40,000 Boers facing us. How we are going to get out of this I don't know. I suppose you read
      all about the big fight that took place on the 15th of last month. It was a terrible
      sight, such as I will never forget. We attacked the Boers at 4 o'clock in the
      morning and the battle lasted until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Our side had
      .....two lines worn out by crease.....hills each took us over an hour to climb.
      Behind these hills are miles of trenches filled with Boers and between us
      is a large river called the Tugela. Many of our infantry were drowned in this
      river trying to get at the Boer trenches. Our brave fellows had to cross 3miles
      of level ground ere they could reach the Boers. It was in this effort that they fell like sheep - - - they were literally dropping in the dozens. General Buller himself
      said he'd never saw such a terrific rifle fire in his life, the bullets were falling like hailstones. Some of the bullets fell only a few yards from me, but the Calvary
      were a bit too far off for them. We had however a few lucky escapes. Two
      shells dropped about ten yards from me but fortunately they did not burst,
      else I wouldn't be here to tell the tale. Our Naval guns are firing on the enemy trenches every day, but we have not been able to shift the Boers. I can
      hear the Boers firing at Ladysmith every day; we at present we can get no
      nearer it. I expect to see another big fight before this reaches you.
      I don't care how soon it is all over. I wonder if I will ever see Ayton again, but
      I am always in good spirits. It has taken me three days to write this letter,
      and I am writting it on the spot where the battle took place, that is where we
      are camped now. I may tell you that I am sadly in need in want of a pair of
      socks - I am going about bare foot at the present. I would also like a piece
      of tobacco, if some of you would be so kind as to send it to me, if I am not
      asking too much. We were told that we would get this and that from England,
      but I have seen none of the promised comforts yet. We are badly off for water.
      I would often give a shilling for a good drink of water but money is also a scarce
      commodity here. It has been a stranger to me since I left home. Things may
      get better as I get further up the country. I hope so. I just got word that I am
      going as an orderly to General Bartley, commanding the Fusilier Brigade, so if
      all goes well I will see something now.
    Person ID I6431  Houliston Family Tree
    Last Modified 8 January 2007 

    Family/Spouse Alison Patterson Craik,   b. 29 June 1884, Cocksburnpath, Berwickshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 9 April 1909 
    +1. Living
    Family ID F2256  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

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