This newspaper provided details of what happened when the Balmoral Castle docked:
“The mail steamer Balmoral Castle…arrived at London Docks on Saturday afternoon. Quite a number of people were assembled to meet the vessel, among them being friends of colonists on board, and about twenty soldiers who had acquaintances or relations on the ship…The twelve widows of the soldiers who fell at Isandula were on board, with their children…who have asked and are being sent home at Government expense. They were met by many of the late husbands’ soldier friends and comrades. The women and children were all neatly dressed in mourning, and the meeting in several instances between them and their friends was very affecting. They were met by a Government official, who inquired of each woman as to her intended destination, and provided her with ample means to reach her journey’s end. To each of them was given a stamped envelope addressed “Captain Gilder, 5, Wilton terrace, Kensington, W..” to which place they were instructed to write if they required advice or pecuniary assistance, which was to be furnished them by the Relief Committee lately formed. The women one and all expressed themselves as deeply grateful for the kind treatment which they had received at the hands of everybody on board the Balmoral Castle. The commander of the steamer, Captain Edward Jones, Royal Reserve, did all in his power to secure their comfort, and at a concert which was given on board over £32 [equivalent to £15,470 at today’s values] was collected and divided among the women.” The Monmouthshire Merlin and South Wales Advertiser, 28th March 1879.
The Belfast Morning News Saturday 1st March 1879 and the Cape Argus 28th January 1879 gave the names of the widows (with one or two errors). Among them was the widow of my own relative.