Thursday, 30 May 2013

Arthur Edwards

Arthur Edwards was born in Birmingham in 1896. His mother Emma (Pem) Clayton was great grandfather Wiliam Clayton's older sister.

In the early 1900s Pem fell on hard times and many of her children including Arthur ended up living on the streets of Birmingham and getting into trouble with the authorities. Arthur was round up and put in a Middlemore children's home from where he was emigrated to Canada as a home child and ended up being treated very harshly by his adoptive parents who used him as child labour on their farm. However, with the outbreak of WW1 in Europe, Arthur returned to England and signed up to fight with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force.

On his Attestation papers signed in October 1915 Arthur gives his next of kin as his mother Emily Ewards of Well Street, Hockley. The outbreak of WW1 was therefore a double sided coin for Arthur as it gave him reason to come to England and be re-united with his parents and siblings.

The witness to Arthur's Attestation papers was William Jeenes who was Emily's second husband, so Arthur's step father.

After his service in WW1 Arthur returned to Canada where he married a lady who was also a British home child, Daisy Bates, and raised his own children. Arthur died in Nova Scottia in 1976.

A photo probably taken in 1915 when Arthur Edwards returned to Birmingham for the first time since being emigrated to Canada as a home child. Arthur is in uniform standing behind his mother Emily Edwards, nee. Clayton. Next to them is another of Pem's sons and his wife and child.

Whilst Arthur was serving in the army and using Birmingham as his home address, his father William Edwards died of tuberculosis in August 1917 at a building in Benson Road, Winson Green which was acting as a TB hospital.

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