Commemoration of Service
"What all of these boys did was something so outrageously courageous that I stand in awe of them all the time, every day.
They strapped on Canadian uniforms and they went back to the country that had sent them away. They went home to defend the land and the freedom of the very people that used them as slaves. They gave everything when they were given nothing. They had no reason to fight, and yet they stood for us. They died for us." Jennifer Layne - Head Researcher of the BHCARA First World War Project.
How we remember our boys
The BHCARA initiated a project in 2012 to identify all the BHC who perished in the First World War. Many members stepped up to help with this research, a team headed by Jennfier Layne including Lori Oschefski, Dawn Heuston, Sharon Munro, Carol Black, Dona Crawford, Marjorie Kohli and Perry Snow Today the information has been released on this web site and the Library and Archives Canada site. Sharon Munro is continuing the efforts by researching commemorative information for each soldier and adding it to their profile pages. We continue to make efforts to ensure all BHC who perished are identified and that their service is shared at our events, presentations and displays.
The remains of BHC Albert Edward Admid are laid to rest in France, May 13, 2015. Albert's remains were found along with six others in a garden in France. They were identified as Lost Men of the 78th.
The BHCARA laid the first wreath at Queen Park in Toronto during the November 2014 Remembrance Service. Our wreath bearer was the Head Researcher for our First World War Project, Jennifer Layne.
Each boy without photos in our First World War registry will have a poppy placed until a photo is located. This ceramic poppy, purchased by the BHCARA in 2014, was one of the UK Tower of London - Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppies which marked the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively filled the Tower's famous moat between 17 July and 11 November 2014. Each poppy represented a British military fatality during the war, fatalities which included our BHC honored in this Registry.
Each day during this exhibit, in the moat at sunset, names of 180 Commonwealth troops killed during the war were read out as part of a Roll of Honour, followed by the Last Post. Members of the public nominated names for the Roll of Honour using a weekly ‘first come, first served’ nomination system. The BHCARA submitted two names to be read out:
On the 19th of September 2014 - Private Vincent Collett
On the 21th of September 2014 - Private Frederick Carter
Click here to view the Television interview with Don Cherry recorded in our exhibit at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto - during our First World War Commemoration service
Each year the BHCARA participates in the Remembrance event at the Orillia Public Library speaking to hundreds of area school children about the BHC and their service in the wars.
Our First World War Commemoration Service
held on July 28th 2014 included:
Co-host for the “Coaches Corner” CBC Television
Surviving British Home Child (BHC) and Second World War veteran serving with the Queen’s Own Rifles.
Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders
Author of “The Golden Bridge: Young Immigrants to Canada, 1833-1939
Opening remarks by
Music provided by
York Regional Police Male Chorus
White Heather Pipes and Drums
Camp Borden Cadets, Parade of Flags
The Ceremonial Unit of Commissionaires, Great Lakes
Military collector Carl Black
The First World War Honour Roll unveiled - bearing the names of the British Home Children who perished in the War.
Ceramic Poppies do not blow
As randomly placed row on row
They raise their faces to the sky,
And represent those prepared to die
Who made the ultimate sacrifice.
These are the dead of a century ago,
Who lived and breathed in sun and snow,
Who loved and were loved, and are loved still,
Held in memory of Flanders Fields.
From them we take the torch of peace,
Hard won by those who fought and fell,
And those who survived that war as well,
And later died.
We must hold faith with them
And work for war to cease,
While Ceramic Poppies
Of ‘Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red’,
Combine with those in Flanders Fields
Perennial ‘poppies’ of Portland stone.
© Bramwell Tout November 2014.
Visit the blogs of Historian and Author Andrew Simpson, who writes about our BHC in Service
BHC in the First World War Facts
10,000 enlistments – an almost 100% enlistment rate
By the 2nd of April 1917, over seven thousand boys had enlisted
On BHC attestation documents, their birth dates are more incorrect than correct and sometimes simply listed as unknown.
Vimy Ridge's last surviving infantry man was Charles Reaper, Charles was a British Home Child brought through the Quarrier Homes from Scotland. He was 12 years old when he arrived in Canada. Charles died in 2003 at 103 years old.
Claude Nunney was one of the seven Canadians to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
Claude's real name was Stephen and he was born in England and not Ireland as he noted on his attestation papers.
CBC aired a documentary recently entitled "Forgotten No More: The Lost Men of the 78th". One of these boys was BHC Albert Edward Admid
The most common death dates for our BHC are April 9th to April 12th 1917- the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which is said to have united us as a Nation.
To date, 217 BHC have been identified on the Vimy Memorial and 118 on the Menin Gate Memorial.
Alfred William Sewell is honored with a square on our BHC Memorial Quilt, made in 2016. All BHC who served had a red Tower of London Poppy placed on the quilt.
Claude Nunney - Victoria Cross recipient
BHC Claude Nunney was awarded the Victoria Cross
The Lancaster Branch 544 | Lancaster Legion - Branch 544 was named The Royal Canadian Legion Claude Nunney V.C Memorial Branch 544 Bursary in honor of Claude. A monument to the memory of Claude Nunney is located at the ‘four corners’ in North Lancaster, Ontario