Richard (Dick) Horace Andrew Hall
A Call for Help by Guest Contributor Paul Loseby
My name is Paul Loseby and I live with my wife here in the middle of England. My wife Penny’s heritage takes her through Kent and her she came across something which really saddened her until she heard about Fauquier, BC.
Penny’s grandmother married for a second time in 1946. Her new husband was a Richard Hall who had a son by a previous marriage. That son’s name was Richard (Dick) Horace Andrew Hall and he was born in 1914 in Folkestone in Kent. Throughout the early 1900’s, the Canadian government had been trying to get young men and women to migrate to work on farms or as domestic servants. Many youngsters went willingly but a great many, under the excuse of being unruly children or where their parents were suspected of being unable to bring them up properly, were just taken from their parents and put on a ship. This was contrary to the apparent aims of the people running the scheme – the British Immigration and Colonization Association. There were also many stores of the children being poorly treated and cared for in the new country. An uncertain future indeed.
We don’t know whether Dick went willingly or not but on the 18th October 1928 with the equivalent of a couple of Canadian dollars in his pocket and the clothes he stood up in, he boarded the SS Montcalm in Liverpool. How could this be – a 14 year old child taken from his parents to start a new life alone? Dick was with a group of other minors under a scheme by the BICA whose headquarters were at 87, Osborne Street in Montreal. These premises were also a hostel for the boys where they waited to be distributed throughout Canada. They landed in Quebec on the 20th October.
Sadly not everyone fared well – some boys had committed suicide; not all were found homes and there had been a high failure rate. This led to the BICA being temporarily closed in 1925 so that their affairs could be put in shape.
Dick it seems was one of the lucky ones who not only survived but thrived in his new country. Shortly after arriving, Dick was sent to Stouffville in Ontario. Here he began his work as a farmer’s hand. He was obviously paid well as within three years, he had earned enough money to return to England to see his parents and spend the 1931 Christmas with them. It was obviously his wish to return though as at the beginning of April 1932, he set sail, again on the SS Montcalm, for Halifax.
Dick went straight back to Stouffville and then went to work on another farm owned by a William Hewlett. The following year, still working on the farms, he moved up to Winnipeg in Manitoba. There he worked for a Mr. Lindsay and was earning what would have been a lot of money in those days, $25 CA with his food and accommodation thrown in.
He then had the opportunity to move across to Lander, initially staying with relatives but within a few months, had moved up to the Bralorne mine where he worked for a couple of years. When Canada entered the war, Dick tried to enlist but was rejected on medical grounds. Not deterred and still wanting to help the war effort, Dick moved to the Vancouver Shipyards where he worked during the war.
In 1943, he met and married Alice Gledhill of Aldergrove. He eventually left the shipyards and went to work for BC Electric for eight years before moving to Summerland. In 1951, he was in partnership with his brother in law Morely Austin, running a garage and grocery store in Needles. He stayed running the garage until just before Needles was flooded. In 1966, he moved to Trout Creek where he owned Trout Creek Shell but in September the following year, he died during heart surgery in Vancouver.
My wife and I met and married in 1968 and Penny’s granddad, Dick’s father used to tell us of how proud he was of his son and that he was living in Canada. He obviously never knew that Dick had died the previous year. We wouldn’t normally have pursued the family history of someone who was not a direct blood relative but we did know Dick’s father well and have many memories and photographs of him in his later years. As soon as Penny realized what had happened to ‘Canadian’ Dick, she was heartbroken and in tears. At that time, all we knew was that he had been put on a ship with just the clothes he stood up in and enough money for a drink on the way. How could they do that to him? We just didn’t know. Since then we have tried to find out more about Dick, not just for ourselves but in the hope that we could find Dick’s children, Gordon, Lois or Carol and give them some insight into their grandfather who they would have never known.
Canadian family history can be difficult with no records of births and marriages being readily available online so we have no idea whether ‘the children’ got married and had children of their own. It would appear that after Dick’s passing, Mary his wife, married someone called Jackson as Dick is buried with her in the beautiful Peach Orchard Cemetery.
Now, looking on the internet at the absolutely beautiful place you live in, perhaps we should have moved too. If anyone does have any information or photographs of Dick and his family, we would really love to hear from them. We can be contacted on our email email@example.com
Note by Peter Klopp: An alternative way of sending information via Paul’s email would be the comment section of this post. Thank you, Paul, for writing this touching story on a former resident of Needles, BC. I am confident that the Arrow Lakes Historical Society will add your report to their archives.