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. 

George Beardshaw

Jennifer Layne & Lori Oschefski unveil the BHC Honour Roll Plaque

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

Our First World War Casualty remembrance site

Speaking about the service of the BHC at the Barrie Legion, 2016

Encouraging members to lay wreaths in their own communities

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. 

2014 Door's Open military event at the Orillia Public Library

Our First World War Commemoration Service
held on July 28th 2014 included:

Don Cherry
 Co-host for the “Coaches Corner” CBC Television

George Beardshaw
Surviving British Home Child (BHC) and Second World War veteran serving with the Queen’s Own Rifles.

Jim Brownell
 Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders 

Marjorie Kohli
 Author of “The Golden Bridge: Young Immigrants to Canada, 1833-1939

Opening remarks by
Lori Oschefski

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 

Jim Brownell and George Beardshaw

Lori Oschefski delivers the opening address

The First World War Honour Roll unveiled - bearing the names of the British Home Children who perished in the War.

In November of 2015 a record number or wreaths were laid by BHCARA members across the country! 


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.
Alfred Sewell 

Visit the blogs of Historian and Author Andrew Simpson, who writes about our BHC in Service

BHC service is included in our exhibits

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. 

Don Cherry

Marjorie Kohli

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

With BHC George Beardshaw and his wife Emma at the Remembrance Gardens, London, Ontario 2016

2015 Barrie Legion Event

Ontario students from Nantyr Shores school in Innisfil will be commemorating the BHC during their trip to France, April 2017, carrying a wreath for the BHC to be laid in France.