I really don’t have any choice of subject for H – the plight of the British Home Children is pretty much embedded in my soul.
Those of you who know me will be well aware how much I go on about this subject, so I’m going to try and keep this brief.
Between 1869 and about 1940 over 100,000 children were emigrated from the UK to Canada. Many thousands more were sent to Australia and other countries.
Though widely believed to have been orphans, in fact only about 2% were actually orphans when they were sent away. Many were from families just too poor to cope, some had been abandoned. The children were usually sent in groups from Children’s Homes in the UK, and would usually be sent to a receiving/distributing home before going on to live with a family as cheap farm labour or domestic help.
Some parents gave permission for their child/children to travel, others were given no choice.
The fortunate ones were not badly treated.
Not all were fortunate.
Many thousands of the boys served in the Canadian armed forces to fight for King and Country in World War 1 or World War 2. At least 1,000 of them died in this service.
The stories are well documented in many places, particularly by a wonderful group, The British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association, headed up by the most amazing lady, Lori Oschevski. If you have any interest in this subject at all, that is the place to go. There are some great Facebook groups associated with the group, where research help is very freely given to anyone who needs it.
If you are researching your family history and have children who ‘disappear’ between census returns, and there is no death registration, this is definitely an avenue worth pursuing.
There will be news about my BHC projects in a future post, but I close this post in proud and loving memory of Ernest and William Haden – ‘my’ British Home Children who both died in service of the country that took them from their family and sent them to the other side of the world.