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Private C. Greely/Greeley, Royal Scots Fusiliers - wounded at Colenso 1 month 3 weeks ago #71913

  • BereniceUK
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Initially reported as killed (perhaps it was assumed from his wounds that he wouldn't survive), he was later invalided back to England.


Glasgow Herald, Friday 22nd December 1899
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Private William Watson, B Company Royal Scots Fusiliers gave an account to the Aberdeen Journal, 4.4.1900, of his experiences at Colenso on 15th December 1899, where he was part of the escort of the guns of Field Batteries Nos. 14 and 66, and also witnessed Lieutenant Roberts's attempt to rescue the guns. Watson was one of the Royal Scots who was made prisoner by the Boers, following the retirement of the British troops, but was released owing to his being sick.

...."Private Watson had several narrow escapes during the engagement. A Mauser bullet knocked the steel tip off his bayonet scabbard, and a spent bullet struck and severely bruised his shoulder. His comrades were falling beside him right and left, including the colour-sergeant of his company, who was badly wounded. When the Fusiliers mustered next day about 80 men were missing out of the two companies in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Amongst those severely wounded was Private Greeley, of B Company, whose case is perhaps unparalleled in the history of the campaign. Private Greeley was shot in the head no fewer than four times, and all four bullets remained. He was afterwards removed to Maritzburg Hospital, where one of the bullets was extracted. The others, however, defied the skill of the surgeons, and the unfortunate man still retains the three lumps of lead in his cranium as a memento of the fight. One is not surprised to know that Private Greeley is almost unable to move, his left side being paralysed. He is expected home shortly, and it is understood his people reside at Birmingham."

Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 4th April 1900
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Victims of the War.
....No less than thirty convalescents back from the war have enjoyed the benefit of a stay in the Convalescent Home on the Promenade [at Southport, Lancashire]. At present there are seven in the institution, the regiments represented being the Scotch Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Rifles, the 3rd Welsh, the Royal Lancaster, the York and Lancaster, and the West Riding, the latter of which has supplied two of the number. Most of the inmates have been invalided home on account of enteric. The case of Private Greeley, the Scotch Fusiliers man, is somewhat singular. He was shot in the head, and a portion of his brain has had to be removed. He is affected, consequent on his injury, with paralysis of the left side, which makes him drag his leg, but he manages to get about, and may often have been seen in our streets in his uniform of red tunic, tartan trousers, and Glengarry cap.

Southport Visiter, Tuesday 29th May 1900
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I can't find any further reports of Private Greeley's convalescence, or whether he survived, and can't find a birth record for a C. Greely/Greeley/Grealy/Grealey in England, Wales or Scotland, between 1860-1880, and the only possible death with the first-name initial of C. that I could find was Charles Greeley, died in 1945, aged 82, in the Dudley area. If that was him, he would have been aged around 37 at the time he was wounded.

However, birth records for Greely/Greeley in the Manchester area show
Joseph Greely, Ashton under Lyne, 1862
John Greeley, Ashton under Lyne, 1866
Patrick Greeley, Ashton under Lyne, 1869
Edward Greeley, Chorlton, 1872
Joseph Greely, Salford, 1882
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Private C. Greely/Greeley, Royal Scots Fusiliers - wounded at Colenso 1 month 3 weeks ago #71946

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He was born Charles Grealey, in the fourth quarter of 1872, at Chorlton. The Chorlton registration district at that time included Ardwick, Burnage, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Chorlton-upon-Medlock, Didsbury, Gorton, Hulme, Levenshulme, Moss Side, Openshaw, Rushulme, and Withington - most of south Manchester.

The 1881 census has John and Marcel Grealey, his parents, born County Mayo, Ireland, with Charles being the second of five children, all living at 13, Ashworth Street, Salford.

In 1901 Charles was living with his mother and had been discharged from the Army.

He died in the first quarter of 1914, aged 41, at Salford. I've sent off for a copy of his death certificate for the date of death.

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