Letter: A harsh childhood

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The Independent Online
Sir: Regarding the correspondence on children being sent abroad (Letters, 17 and 20 July), my father was a child in Father Hudson's Homes at Coleshill in about 1904. He had three sisters at Nazareth House in Harborne, Birmingham, as boys and girls were segregated, and he was not allowed to see his sisters.

One day, a nun asked the boys if they would like a trip to Canada. They thought it was a day out. A week later, a shipload of them were sent to Canada. After disembarking, they were put on a train, and in ones and twos were put off at different stations.

My father was seven. There was no one to meet him. The snow was about 4ft deep. After about an hour, a farmer came to pick him up.

He slept in a barn, on straw and hay, and had to take his boots in bed to prevent them from freezing. The war came and he enlisted in the Canadian Army, where he was gassed. After being discharged in England, he traced his sisters.

He did not mention cruelty, but he lived in harsh and severe conditions. He had no love or family life, which affected him. He was not able to show any affection to my mother, my sister or I.

Sincerely,

HELENA F. MORRIS

Pershore, Worcestershire

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