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Canadian Home Child's Medal 1920-1924


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J.W.C.FEGAN FOUNDER (James William Condell)

 

Rev: ROLL OF HONOUR MR FEGAN'S HOMES

 

1920 1924 FRED HOCQUARD.

 

Bronze 54mm.

 

Fred Hocquard was a Home Child. That is, one of the Home Children (orphans, waifs and strays) sent from England to Canada, Australia etc to work on farms or if a girl to help in the house. Fred went to Canada as can be seen in the following record.

 

 

HOCQUARD

 

Given Name: Frederick John Age: 14 Sex: M

Ship: Grampian

Year of Arrival: 1920

Departure Port: London

Departure Date: 04 May 1920

Arrival Port: Quebec

Arrival Date: 15 May 1920

Party: J.W.C. Fegan Home

Destination: 295 St. George Street, Toronto

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Bibliothèque et Archives Canada.

 

Fegan Homes encouraged the children to pay back the cost of the fare, and the clothes etc supplied to them when they left England, from their wages in Canada. This money was then sent back to England to cover the cost of sending more children. Apparently a plaque was kept in the receiving home in Toronto showing the names of children who had paid back their fare etc and this was called a Roll of Honour. So this medal might have been issued to Fred for that reason.

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So basically this child labourer was encouraged to pay back his fare expenses from England to Canada, then back, solely for the purpose of being un-reimbursed labour for some Canadian family. Wow, how times have changed. If you were an orphan back then, you were viewed with not much more respect than you would have viewed some former slave.

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So basically this child labourer was encouraged to pay back his fare expenses from England to Canada, then back, solely for the purpose of being un-reimbursed labour for some Canadian family. Wow, how times have changed. If you were an orphan back then, you were viewed with not much more respect than you would have viewed some former slave.

 

Fegan's homes estimate that 85% of the children remained in Canada and became citizens. The remaining 15% either returned to England or entered the US. Times were different then, all children on farms were expected to work on the farm (hence the very long school summer holidays).

 

These children were in effect fostered by the familes, attended school & church and also paid a small wage, if they had remained in England they would have lived on the street. The homes like Barnado's and Fegan's provided food, shelter and schooling but to be able to continue to admit children needed a revolving door policy. That is, 'in the frontdoor' keep warm and feed and schooled but then sent abroad to make room for the next child to enter the homes in England or 'out the backdoor'

 

The children were not all orphans, many were placed in homes by widows or widowers who would could no longer support them. Remember people had large families, but people died young, naturally or in war or from disease and there was no social system in place or insurance etc to take care of their dependents.

 

Even children in stable homes started work at 14 years old or younger, often girls in service for little more than their keep, or boys apprenticed on the same terms ie wages were miniscule until they finished the indentured period.

 

If you google 'home children' there is a lot of info on the Net.

 

As you say "Wow, how times have changed" thankfully we live now not then!

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Very interesting and provocative write up, especially since I work with child welfare in E. Europe currently.

 

Great to hear you are involved in such important work. I am sure you will find this page very interesting LINK as it sets the scene for the phenomenon of Home Children.

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  • 3 years later...

Very happy to be able to post that Fred's medal will soon be with his descendants in England. A few weeks ago Lori Oschefski http://canadianbriti...-oschefski.html contacted me to inquire if the medal was still in my possesion & if it was available for sale. I was delighted to let her purchase it for what it cost me as she does such great work regarding Canada's "Home Children" & their families. She said she would use it for display/presentations but if she could trace Fred or his descendants she would let them have it. Well, now it will it wil be with the family, thanks Lori :D

 

I have a personal interest in "Home Children" as my father was one, he returned to England, married & raised four children. I am the youngest & by a strange twist of fate emigrated to Canada & for the last few years of his life was able to bring him to Canada for visits. We even took him to the farm that he stayed at while he was here.

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What a great follow-up on this story. I have a couple of "Death Pennies" that I have researched as much as I can to find out about the families, curiously one of them was for an American serving in the British Army during WWI - the medal was sent from the UK to his family in Portland Oregon in 1919. I have all the paperwork from back then - but not afterwards.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just to let those people here with an interest in this medal that it is now in my possession. I'm meeting the descendants of Fred Hocquard this coming Thursday (25th October 2012) to pass the medal onto them. I will add a picture of them receiving it after then. Till then attached is a picture of the medal, now with a case for presentation. Thanks Lori Oschefski for allowing the to finally let the medal go to where it belongs.

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