William Blay, A Home Boy and WWI Veteran by Linda Jonasson

William Blay, like my great-grandfather Herbert Clifford, was a Home Child who was sent to Canada in the early 1900’s. He and Herbert were just two of the 6,211 Barnardo Boys who served during the First World War.

The article that I’m reblogging today was written by Linda Jonasson and originally posted on Rose McCormick Brandon’s blog The Promise of Home.

Promises of Home

William Blay, my great-great uncle, was a Home Child.  William’s father had died when he was a baby and his mother, who had sold all her furniture to pay the rent, could no longer afford to keep him.  In September of 1903, she placed him in London, England’s Barnardo Home.

Dr. Barnardo believed in the commandment “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.  He had worked in London’s East End hospital ministering to cholera victims.  He had seen dirt, disease and death on every corner.  He had toured the White Chapel rooftops with orphan Jim Jarvis and seen hundreds of street children.  He had stood on a chair in Stepney, ministering to the crowds about Jesus.  But when words failed to bring about change, he acted, opening Stepney House to shelter these impoverished children.  When a red-haired boy nicknamed “Carrots” came knocking, he had no more room and refused him.  Later, Carrots died.  Devastated…

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