Don Cherry Honours War Service of British Home Children July 28, 2014
On July 28, 2014, I attended the memorial ceremony at Black Creek Village to honour the British Home Children who fought and died in WWI.
To say that the event touched my heart is an understatement. I knew that many Home Boys signed up to fight for their adopted country, Canada.
What I didn’t know was that nearly every Home Boy residing in Canada of legal age (and some that weren’t), enlisted.
What other group in Canada has a record to match that?
Hockey legend, Don Cherry talked about his grandfather, a British Home Child and a veteran of WWI. He also spoke about Arthur Clarkson. Arthur almost lost his life on an Ontario farm. His feet frozen, fevered, battered and overworked, he was finally rescued by an inspector from Barnardo’s.
His feet on the verge of amputation, Arthur bore the scars of the abusive treatment his whole life.
Who would think that a boy who came so close to being murdered by Flaherty (the farmer he was indentured to) would sign up for the Canadian military when he came of age? Arthur Clarkson was a man of incredible fortitude and integrity. Late in his life he said these words:
“Life can beat you up for sure. But, you can’t let it break you.”
I love those words from Arthur. At times in life everyone can be inspired by them.
Two of Arthur’s daughters and two granddaughters attended the event at Black Creek Pioneer Village.
Arthur’s wife, Lily, was also a Home Child. This couple’s story is in my book, Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children.
I hope everyone who reads this will get their own copy of the book. It’s important to keep the stories of British Home Children circulating. Their stories carve out for them their rightful place in Canadian history.
These more than 100,000 child immigrants endured much hardship on the way to becoming grateful citizens of Canada.
Watch this stirring video highlighting Don Cherry and the life of Arthur Clarkson.
The book, Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children, is available here.