Men from Childrens Homes

On the war memorial at the Methodist Church, Bolton Road, Edgworth there are 28 surnames and initials which are listed as ‘NCHO’..

On the war memorial at the Methodist Church, Bolton Road, Edgworth there are 28 surnames and initials which are listed as “NCHO”.

These are men who would have spent some time at the National Children’s Home and Orphanage at Crowthorn, just outside the village of Edgworth. The identities of these men were unknown. However, by looking through census records information began to emerge.

It was discovered that at least 17 of the names related to men who fought with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. It was common practice at the time to send both boys and girls to Canada to work as indentured domestic servants and farm labourers. Many charities were involved in this, including the Methodist Children’s Home and Barnardo’s.

The Methodists did their best to vet the homes the children were sent to and many of the children were taken into families and treated well, although inevitably there were some instances of abuse. Despite the fact that only 2% of children who emigrated to Canada were orphans, having parents and siblings in the UK, some charities discouraged contact with their old families as it was thought this would enable the children to adjust better to their new lives.

A possible motive for enlisting in the forces was that the men had the opportunity to return to the UK where they could try to find relatives. Close to 100% of men who had been sent to Canada and were eligible to fight enlisted.

More information is available from the British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association (www.britishhomechildren.com).

Other men listed on the memorial signed up with the British forces and their stories are included. It has not been possible to find information on everyone, but the search is ongoing. These pages include the biographies of 21 of the 28 names. Sadly no information has been discovered for the following names:

Davidson, H
Hornby, J
Johnson, A
Simpson, J
Tracey, H
West, C
Wood, P

"I believe that one of the comforts to us all out here is that we know we shall always be honoured in the old village."

Gerald Ainsworth, died Ypres Salient: 27th March 1918

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