04 June 2022

Centennial of Accidental Death of Four Home Children

On this date in 1922 four children died in a misadventure boating accident near the quarantine station at Grosse Isle. 

The Canadian Press originally reported they were between eight and twelve years old from a Polich family, with the incident described as:

"... the boys managed to scale the high fence surrounding the quarantine station and made their way down to the beach, where a rowboat was tied. The boys got into the boat and rowed about for a while, but a west wind blew up and swept the boat out into the channel, where it was at the mercy of the waves.

As soon as the guards at the quarantine station missed the boys the alarm was given, and when it wa« found that the rowboat was missing several of the guards set out in a motor launch. The search was continued for the remainder of the afternoon, and between five and six o'clock the bodies of the four children were found in the mud on the beach about a mile and a half east of the quarantine station."

The four were later identified as from a party of Roman Catholic's on the Montcalm from Liverpool on 19 May 1922 bound for St George's Home in Ottawa.

William Ellis born 25 January 1909 from St. Edward's Home, Coleshill. Birmingham Rescue. 

William Mahon born 15 December 1906 from St. Paul's Home, Coleshill. Cheltenham Guardians 

John Brier born 27 August 1907 from St. Paul's Home, Coleshill. Dewsbury Guardians 

James Holland born 22 June 1909 from St. Paul's Home, Coleshill. West Bromwich Guardians

Their burials are recorded consecutively in the Drouin Collection; they are commemorated on a memorial at Grosse Isle.