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Home children journey more than author expected - Peterborough Examiner

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Filed under: News

It all started because B.C. writer and journalist Sean Arthur Joyce knew virtually nothing about his grandfather's past - except that Grandpa had emigrated to Canada as a teenager, solo.

Without parents or siblings, 16-year-old Cyril apparently got on a boat one day and left his native England behind forever.

That's about all Joyce, 54, ever knew about his grandfather's past.

Grandpa Cyril died in 1998 without telling his family anything further about his emigration.

Why'd he come? Why was he alone? The questions haunted Joyce.

"I thought, 'I'm going to find out. I'm a journalist - I can do research,'" Joyce said.

What happened next was "an amazing journey" for Joyce, who found out far more than he bargained for.

It turned out that Grandpa Cyril - a quiet man whose daily routine included his shift at the lead smelter, reading his newspaper and then going to bed early - had been a home child.

That is, he was one of about 100,000 children rounded up from the streets of Britain and shipped to Canada to become child labourers.

To Joyce, it explained a lot. As he researched more, he found out that lots of people who grew up as home children - often labouring on Canadian farms, sometimes under brutal conditions - never spoke of the experience.

Read the complete article at the link below...


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