This study outlines the deceptions surrounding the Child Migration
Schemes, upon Former Child Migrants and their families.
of seven or eight year old boys board a train at Lime Street Station
bound, they thought, for a "holiday" in Australia.
the years, several of these boys, now men, have reported to the
Trust a particularly vivid and traumatic incident. As the train
pulled away they heard a woman screaming for her son "Peter".
They saw her running along the station platform desperately searching
A few heard Peter shouting through the window for her;
crying out that he would never forget her. Some said they still
dreamt of the horrifying, frantic image of this distraught and
This group of small boys travelled together to
Australia. Peter was placed in an institution. He experienced
severe physical brutality which left permanent damage to his spine.
An x-ray revealed splintered bone chips.
Peter was told he was
an orphan. In 1997, the Trust found Peter's mother, very much
alive, in the south of England.
Peter's mother, Mrs McKay, told
the Trust that without financial support, she had no choice but
to place him in care. On one of her weekly visits Mrs McKay arrived
to be told Peter had been sent to Australia that very morning.
She had not given her consent.
Last year Peter and his mother were
reunited after a separation lasting 50 years. They met near Lime
Street Station, where they had been parted so heartlessly.
reunion has been successful in that they are in contact with each
other and have sense of control in being back in touch. But Peter
still needs surgery for his childhood injuries and his mother
wonders whether she will ever recapture the feeling in her heart
that was extinguished when her son was stolen away to a foreign
CASE STUDY 2
This case study demonstrates the importance
of independence and neutrality when working with the families
of former Child Migrants.Jim Waters is a 54 year old former
Child Migrant who was sent to Australia at the age of six. As
a child, he was repeatedly told he was a "war orphan".
Following publicity in the early 1990s about reunions between
supposed "orphans" and their parents in Britain, Jim
approached a Church agency which found his mother.However, Jim
was informed that his mother "wanted nothing to do with him".
The Church advised Jim to respect her wishes and "leave an
old lady in peace" as she would probably not respond to another
Jim did not wish to hurt his mother but neither could
he lose the opportunity of seeing her, if only for one brief visit.
In a state of considerable turmoil, Jim asked the Trust to intervene.
mother was quite anxious when contacted by the Trust's social
worker but felt reassured when she realised that the Trust was
working on behalf of her son and not the Church. She explained
that she had been made to feel "guilty and sinful" by
the Church when her child was born. She felt she had not been
given choices, and had wanted to keep her baby. Sadly, with no
financial support, she recalled bitterly the day her baby was
taken from her and placed with the Church agency. She was allowed
to visit only once a month.
Jim's mother was told there was a local
church-going family who wanted to take her baby and that she should
be thankful somebody was prepared to "pick up her mistake".
Against her better judgement, she stopped visiting, believing
always that her son was living in England and with a caring family.
She was horrified to discover that Jim had been sent to an institution
in Australia.Jim has been reunited with his mother and maintains
regular contact with her. The Trust's neutral position and specialist
skills played a key role in reassuring Jim's mother and enabling
her to meet with her son again.