From Dover in England to Fauquier in BC

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.

Fstone
Modern Folkestone in Kent – Photo Credit: wikepedia.org

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.

dickswedding
Dick’s Father with Second Wife Edith – Wedding Picture 1946

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.

SS Montcalm

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.

MainSteetWhitchurch-Stouffville2
Today’s Main Street of Stouffville, Ontario

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.

Thehomeheleft
Home that the young boy Dick Hall left to go to Canada

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.

Vancouver Shipyards during WW2
Vancouver Shipyards during WWII – Photo Credit: North Vancouver Museum and Archives

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.

A332
Needles across from Fauquier after Flood 1948

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.

IMG_9659
Dick Hall’s house that had been moved  by barge to Fauquier

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 pal@loseby.co.uk
Paul Loseby

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.

Fauquier BC Kootenays Local History Photography Submissions Writing

17 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Such a moving, heart-rending story and I wish these folk every success in obtaining information and pictures. Such a harrowing tale of hardship and heartbreak. I lived and worked in Kent for many years. It is only when you read accounts like this that you become aware of what went on all those years ago……sigh…. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much everyone, for all of your help. It is really appreciated. Actually since Peter put my message on the Guest page, I have been doing some more research and whilst I don’t think it was as bad for Dick, it was an absolutely horrendous time for many. These were the Home Children and it seems that 11% of Canadians are descendants of these children.

    I came across an absolutely riveting video on YouTube yesterday and we watched it last night. This is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-aDoWnK2Ic&feature=youtu.be

    It seems that children as young as 6 were taken from their parents; frequently without their parents’ knowledge or consent, and shipped over to work as domestics or farm workers in Canada. The authorities would only let them know by sending a card after they were in their new country.

    Between 1869 and 1939, over 100,000 children were taken from their homes and sent to Canada. More than that were sent to Australia and the British government didn’t stop doing that until the 1970’s. The children were considered waifs, orphans and strays. Many had parents who could no longer afford to feed them or take care of them.

    Usually when the children reached Canada, they had a train ride of several days and eventually most were sent to help farm families with all of the work – even those as young as 6. Some children were accepted into the family and treated well, but many were treated very badly and some were treated like slaves.

    If you watch the 46 minute video, you at times have tears in your eyes – at the young lad whose home was a small wooden garden shed that he shared with the dog. He only got food if the dog left some. He was beaten daily as many were – often just because they were Home Children.

    We think now that Dick Hall was one of the lucky ones. He stayed at William Hewlett’s farm in Stouffville for three years and then returned to the UK to spend Christmas with his parents. He then travelled back to Canada and Mr. Hewlett but when he moved on to Winnipeg, he was there but a matter of months – was he treated badly there.

    These children were given food and accommodation and a small amount of pay – but this money was not paid until they had finished their term on the farm or other place of work, when they were 18. So, it was just food, accommodation, hard work, possibly many beatings and they lost their childhood. You will see if you watch the film that when they children grew up, they had no emotions to show love to their own children.

    I really am grateful to all of you for the help that you have been giving me – particularly Peter. I have discovered things that I would never have known but some of those things, (not to do with Peter as he obviously moved to a Country and town where most would love to be including me) have shown us a great deal of sadness too.

    I only found this YouTube video yesterday and it is a part of British and Canadian history. If you get a chance, it really is a ‘Must Watch’. The link again is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-aDoWnK2Ic&feature=youtu.be

    Kindest regards

    Paul

    Like

  3. Many thanks for trying Terryl. I have just added another rather long piece and I’m sure that Carol and her siblings will want to watch the video and see what their Dad went through. Kindest regards Paul

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol is away for awhile on holidays…. I will inform her when she returns… I will try Lois . she only answers phone when available. this is so interesting. most of your information is correct. I can see alot of thought went into this..what a wonderful memory this will be for them..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An update – thank you all so much for your help. Both Lois and Carol have been in touch and we have been exchanging information and I think it is being passed on to Gordon too. It looks like things were far better for Dick than for many others who came over with him. What started off with good intentions by the likes of Dr. Barnardo caused a great deal of heartache for many. I just can’t imagine children as young as 6 being taken from their parents and even at that age, put ‘into service’ or to work on a farm from dawn to dusk.

    Too late in the day for us to move but you can’t blame anyone for wanting to come to a country like yours. Many years ago I was in the police and quite a few transferred to the RCMP. I always enjoyed horse riding but could never sing so that was probably out for me.

    Again, thank you all so much for your help. Penny and I really do appreciate it.

    Kindest regards

    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Paul,
      I am absolutely delighted how your story brought you family members together. In the meantime valuable info is being exchanged between Gordon, Carol and Lois and you. I am sure that there could be a follow-up post at a later time. Let me know, if you would like to write another post some time in the future.

      Like

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