The last living orphan to come to Canada as part of the Home Children program?

An article in the London Free Press reports an honour for George Beardshaw, born on Sept. 14, 1923, as “the last living orphan to come to Canada as part of the Home Children program, through which more than 100,000 youth were sent to Canada from the U.K. between the late 1860s and 1948.”

Beardshaw fought in France as part of the landing on Juno Beach and, toward the end of the war, was captured and held war prisoner for 18 days.

A new museum in Orillia, to be called the George Beardshaw Gallery, is being established to commemorate the history of the Home Children. 

He arrived in Canada through the Barnardo organization in what must have been one of if not the last home child group to arrive before the war.

Is he the last living?

It’s difficult to know as some of the young immigrants hid their origins in later life.

Based on age their may be survivors from the more than 200 Fairbridge child immigrants who arrived in Canada post-war. Some don’t consider them as home children as the Fairbridge organization kept them in a farm school in Duncan, BC, rather than arranging placements as with those pre-war.

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