Children's Overseas Reception Board

Children's Overseas Reception Board


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When the Luftwaffe began bombing Britain in 1940 the government decided set up a Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB) which arranged for children to be sent to USA, Canada and Australia. In the first few months over 210,000 children were registered with the scheme.

After the City of Bernares was sunk by a German torpedo on 17th September, 1940, killing 73 children, the overseas evacuation programme was brought to a halt. By this time the Children's Overseas Reception Board had sent 2,664 children overseas. Most of these went to Canada.

Wealthy parents continued to send their children to safe countries. It is estimated that during the first two years of the war around 14,000 children were sent privately to USA, Canada and Australia.

I had never swum in my life before but I swum that night. I do not know how I did it but I got to an upturned boat and climbed on to it. After some hours when I was able to see I found there were Bessie Walden and the seaman and myself clinging on the keel. The seaman was on the point of collapse when a warship came in sight.

My sister Barbara got down a ladder at the Bow and Derrick was following down on a rope flung from the ship's side. By the time he reached the water the lifeboat had pulled away, and Derrick had to climb up again. We were then told to go to the stern of the ship, but as we were running along the deck we were told that the ship was going down.

We rushed back to the bow and climbed down a ladder where we found a raft, and we all scrambled on to it. For some hours we were tossed about in the water and were soaked to the skin. Seas were washing over us and when we lay down our heads were in water. When we tried to sit up we were blown down by the terrific wind. We were on the raft for some hours.

We were picked up by another boat. We were all very worried about Barbara, but she turned up all right in the warship, so all of us were safe.

The Children's Overseas Reception Board announces with deep regret that a ship carrying 90 children and nine escorts to Canada, under its scheme of evacuation from vulnerable areas to the overseas dominions, has been torpedoed and sunk. It is feared that 83 of the children and seven of the escorts have been lost.

Eleven of the children lost were from Liverpool. This included three brothers from one family and a brother and sister from another. Nine were from Sunderland, and included two pairs of brothers and two sisters.

Mr. W. R. Forsyth of London, a passenger, told a reporter: "We had no warning before the attack. The ship was so badly holed that she listed heavily and almost immediately began to sink. We had only 20 minutes to get the lifeboats lowered and away before she went down. Casualties occurred almost at the start. Darkness added to our difficulties. The passengers behaved magnificently, particularly the women and children. The little mites obeyed every instruction."

Angus McDonald, Glasgow, carpenter's mate, stated in an interview that about a dozen of the ship's boats succeeded in getting away. The weather was very rough and waves continually swept over the boat. "I had 38 people in my boat and many of them were in a sad plight. Most of them, were suffering from the extreme cold. The boat had become water-logged and the water was almost up to the gunwales. We were sitting up to our waists in water. Most of my passengers were women, and there were also two children. For hours our lifeboat was tossed about and darkness turned to daylight. It was a long time afterwards that we sighted a destroyer, and soon we were safely on board, but not many who left the ship were alive."

"We had one little hero in our boat, an 11-year-old boy named Edward Richardson. One outstanding example of his courage was his conduct in the lifeboat when a nurse was dying. She asked that someone should hold her hand and Edward at once went to her assistance. He repeatedly gave her the assurance that rescue boats were on their way."

Mrs. Margaret Hudson, of Baildon, Bradford said: "The children had been as happy on board looking forward to their new home in Canada, and when the alarm came they behaved wonderfully. My husband helped me over the side and I got down a rope thinking I was going into a lifeboat. The boat, however, was some distance away, and another girl, the daughter of Mrs. Balmer, Pat aged fourteen, and I swam towards it. I did not see my husband again, but Pat and I are living in hope that he and her mother will be picked up by a warship."


Photograph of Children's Overseas Reception Board evacuee children in England, July 1940

Black and white photograph of a large group of Children's Overseas Reception Board evacuee children in England, prior to their departure to Canada, in July 1940. There are several men and women standing behind them.

Provenance

Donated to Pier 21, September 15 2001, by Mary Mayger.
Mary Mayger (née Roberts) was a Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB) evacuee child sent with a group to live in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, during the Second World War from 1940 to 1945. She likely sailed on board the SS Oronsay. Mary and Francis Roberts lived with foster parents, Judge and Mrs. Duffy, before returning to England on board SS Île de France.

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Credit format: [Name], arrived from [Country], [Date of Arrival]. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 [Object ID Number].

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Children's Overseas Reception Board - Children's Overseas Reception Scheme (Advisory Council)

The following members were appointed to the Advisory Council as announced in Parliament on 26 June 1940.They met at 45 Berkeley Street London W1, Thomas Cook & Sons, Head Office.

The Right Honourable Lord Snell (Chairman), C.B.E., LL.D.Harry Snell, 1st Baron Snell.
Miss Florence Horsbrugh, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health.
Mr. James Chuter Ede, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary, Board of Education.
Mr. J. Westwood, M.P., Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Scotland.
Miss Ellen Wilkinson, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Pensions.
Mr. E. R. Appleton, Organizer of Empire Youth movements.
Mr. Cyril Bavin, Y.M.C.A.
Reverend John Bennett, Catholic Council of British Overseas Settlement.
The Countess of Bessborough, Chairman of Council, Society for Overseas Settlement of British Women.
Miss, Grace Browning, Girl Guide's Association.
Mr. Laurence Cadbury, O.B.E., M.A., Chairman, Cadbury Brothers, Limited, an authority on school and welfare problems.
Lieut.-Colonel Culshaw, Salvation Army.
Miss Doggett, O.B.E., League of Empire.
Miss Ellen Evans, Principal, The Glamorgan Training College: also appointed with special reference to Wales.
Captain G. F. Gracey, Save the Children's Fund.
Mr. Gordon Green, Fairbridge Farm School.
Mr. W. A. F. Hepburn, O.B.E., M.C., LL.D., Director of Education for Ayrshire, also appointed with special reference to Scotland.
Reverend S. W. Hughes, Free Church Council.
Reverend Canon H. E. Hyde, Church of England Council for Empire Settlement.
Miss M. F. Jobson, J.P., Member of Fife Education Authority and County Council also appointed with special reference to Scotland.
Miss E. A. Jones, M.A., Headmistresses' Association.
Mr. P. J. Kirkpatrick, Dr. Barnardo's Homes (Thomas John Barnardo).
Mr. Harold Legat, Boy Scouts' Association (The Scout Association).
The Right Honourable Sir Ronald Lindsay, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., sometime His Majesty's Ambassador to Washington.
Mr. W. A. Markham, M.A., Member of Executive National Children's Home and Orphanage.
Mrs. Norman, Vice-Chairman, Women's Voluntary Services.
Mrs. E. Parker, Ex-President, National Union of Teachers.
Dr. Donald Paterson, M.D., F.R.C.P., Physician, Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Miss Gladys Pott, C.B.E., ex-Chairman of Executive of Society for Overseas Settlement of British Women.
Mr. Brendan Quin, 1820 Memorial Settlement.
Sir William Reardon Smith, Baronet, an authority on shipping also appointed with special reference to Wales.
Miss Edith Thompson, C.B.E., Chairman of Executive, Society for the Overseas Settlement of British Women.

A Scottish Advisory Council for CORB was also appointed, which met at 27, St. Andrew's Square, Edinburgh 2.

The Right Honourable the Lord Provost of Glasgow, P. J. Dollan, Esq., (Chairman).
Mr. Joseph Westwood, M.P., Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. (also attended London HQ meetings)
Mr. A. L. Fletcher, B.A., former Director of Education for the County of Midlothian.
Miss Mary Tweedie, former Headmistress of the Edinburgh Ladies' College (The Mary Erskine School).
Mrs. McNab Shaw, a member of the Ayr County Council.
Miss Margaret Jobson, J.P., a member of the Fife County Council, and Fife Education Authority, (also attended London HQ meetings).
Mr. W. A. F. Hepburn, O.B.E., M.C., LL.D., Director of Education for Ayrshire, (also attended London HQ meetings).
A representative of the Quarrier's Homes, Bridge of Weir, who was appointed.

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The Children's Overseas Reception Scheme

In 1940 I was aged 8 and my parents decided it would be safer to send myself and my two brothers to Canada for evacuation. We went under the Children's Overseas Reception Scheme which had been started in July 1940.

We lived in Farham just outside Portsmouth. My Father had been in the Navy for some time, his ship had been sunk in Norway, and as a result of this and Dunkirk, they made the decision to send us abroad.

We were told not to tell anyone what was happening including our school. We were sent in August 1940, by train, to Liverpool. We were collected together by helpers with 10-12 Children per adult. We spent most of the day on a train, with a packed lunch. We eventually finished up at a station north of England.

We were then taken to a private Girls School, where we slept in a Gymnaisum. The following day we were travelled by Bus. When I got off, I saw a Ship, that seemed to be very high. It was called the Volledan.

We went inside and were allocated a cabin. As the boat sailed we were given lots of sweets and other foods. Three days later we had just gone to bed and I was in the top bunk and sometime during the night there was a great thump. The emergency lights turned on and alarms were ringing.

A lady came round to say we had to put our life jackets on and we were taken to the deck which was fully lit. We were then lined up along the Life Boats. There were four sailers per boat with lots of children. I remember there was lots of crying and screaming too although we thought it was a great adventure. There were 300 Children on the boat.

We later got picked up by another ship. We had to climb up some netting to get onboard!
We travelled to Clydeside, which took 24 hours.

We ended up at a Hostel in Scotland. My parents decided we would go on the next boat to Liverpool. Along the way stayed at the Fazakerely Childrens home where I remember a big rocking horse that I played on.

I had now caught Chicken Pox. My parents decided if they couldn't send us all, we should be sent home. My two brothers went home while I stayed in Hopsital. The next boat that we sailed on was called the City of Beneres which got Torpedoed on the 14th of September. Of the 90 Chidren on board, only six surrvived.

Two days later I was sent home, and was picked up by the Womens Voluluteer Service (WVS) and taken from Liverpool to Manchester where I then got taken to another train station and headed home.

You could say I saved my Brothers life! We never thought the War would kill us. It was just one big adventure for us.

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Victoria’s responsibilities

The auspice in Victoria was the Children's Welfare Department 1924–60 and the Social Welfare Branch 1960–78. Similar departments in other states created case files on clients under their control.

Essentially, the function of the Children's Welfare Department with respect to child migrant applications was to recommend to the (Commonwealth) Department of Immigration whether to approve a minor’s admission into Australia, and then the state department followed through with legal guardianship.

The department required notification about any changes regarding schooling, employment, medical and psychiatric condition, problems with relationships with custodians, intention to move interstate, or death.

It was also incumbent upon the custodian to inform the department if the client absconded, or for example, became known to police.

Sometimes children were adopted under the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946. Often the child's parents' or mother's address was available. In some instances, children were met in England (and other countries) and either came out with (or were scheduled to be brought out by) adoptive parents. Nominators often changed status from custodians to foster or adoptive parents.

Wards of the state came under Victorian legislation by way of the Children's Welfare Act.


Children's Overseas Reception Board

Le Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB), ou Comité de réception à l'étranger des enfants, était une organisation britannique qui entre juillet et septembre 1940 [ 1 ] a évacué des enfants britanniques du Royaume-Uni afin d'échapper au Blitz (et la Seconde Guerre mondiale, plus généralement). Les enfants ont principalement été envoyés au Canada, mais aussi en Australie, en Nouvelle-Zélande et en Afrique du Sud. Dans les premiers mois plus de 210 000 enfants ont été enregistrés dans le cadre de ce programme.

Après que le Ville de Bénarès a été coulé par une torpille allemande le 17 septembre 1940 , tuant au moins 70 des 90 enfants à bord, le programme d'évacuation à l'étranger a stoppé. À cette époque, le Children's Overseas Reception Board avait évacué 2 664 enfants, qui devinrent connus sous le nom de « Seaevacuees » (évacués par la mer), sur une période de trois mois. Le Canada a reçu la majeure partie d'entre eux : 1 532 en neuf fois. Trois convois embarquèrent pour l'Australie, avec un total de 577 enfants, tandis que 353 allèrent en Afrique du Sud en deux fois et 202 en Nouvelle-Zélande, de nouveau en deux fois. 24 000 enfants supplémentaires avaient été prévus pour être envoyés dans les colonies à ce moment, et plus de 1 000 accompagnateurs, y compris des médecins et des infirmières, s'étaient enrôlés. À son apogée, le CORB employait quelque 620 personnes [ 1 ] .

Les parents riches ont continué à envoyer leurs enfants vers des pays sûrs. On estime que durant les deux premières années de la guerre près de 14 000 enfants ont été envoyés dans les pays CORB par des moyens privés.


Scrapbook page containing three Children's Overseas Reception Board tags for Catherine MacKinnon, 1940

Page from a scrapbook containing three Children's Overseas Reception Board (C.O.R.B.) tags for Catherine MacKinnon, 1940. On the top is a yellow paper with the letters “C.O.R.B.” printed in black. The bottom two items are luggage tags issued by the Scottish Branch of the organization.

Provenance

Donated to Pier 21, June 24 2001, by Catherine Read.
Catherine Read (née MacKinnon) was a Scottish evacuee child who arrived in Montreal in 1940 and lived with a host family in Ottawa. Catherine met Gordon Read in 1948 while boarding the RMS Ascania in Liverpool. Gordon, a Dalhousie University student, was returning to Canada from a trip to Europe. They married in 1951.

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Credit format: [Name], arrived from [Country], [Date of Arrival]. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 [Object ID Number].

- NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

- NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.

- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.

No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material.


The present: A child rights crisis is upon us

Today, the world is again facing multiple crises — the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, widespread social and economic challenges and rising poverty and inequality. These challenges impact us all, but they hit the most vulnerable children the hardest.

COVID-19 has put a sobering spotlight on inequalities in every country, laying bare the increasing risk to children growing up in poverty, exclusion or conflict. Without urgent coordinated global action, the futures of an entire generation of children could be at risk.


Sleeping Children Around the World

A global community of volunteers and supporters giving hope and joy to children in need by providing bedkits for a good night’s sleep.

IMPORTANT: COVID-19 Impacts to Sleeping Children - May 6, 2021

As our focus is the safety of the children, their caregivers, and our volunteer teams both in Canada and in other countries, all upcoming bedkit distributions have been postponed, based on the current Canadian government travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel.

If you donate to us, your official tax receipt will be issued in the usual time frame, but the photo(s) of the children who will receive your donated bedkit(s) will be delayed until we are able to resume bedkit distributions. We guarantee that 100% of your bedkit donation will be held securely. Thank you for your understanding, and stay safe!


WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT

Support from our community has been essential to The Children’s Study Home since its inception, and many of our programs would not exist today, but for the support we receive. This community effort made the project possible, and our community support continues to support our clients and our programs.

While most of our programs receive funding from government sources, those funds do not meet the demands of our clients in the community. For these essential funds, we are dependent on the local community in our service area, and we generate support through special events, gifts, foundation requests and fundraising to our many supporters in the community.


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