One of our local men was honoured in England on the 19th of July, 2017, with a Blue Plaque. London’s Blue Plaque program, run by English Heritage, celebrates the link between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they had lived or worked.
Across London, England, there are over 900 Blue Plaques on buildings.
Our local man was actually born in the house in which this plaque will be unveiled. This house is located at 447 Bexhill Road, Hastings. This was where 125 years to the date of his birth, Claude Nunney will take his place back home with a Blue Plaque.
Who was Claude Nunney? How did he become one of our local men?
Claude Nunney was born Stephen Sargent Claude Nunney. Following his mother’s death, he and his brothers George and Alfred were put into care. In 1905 he and his brotherAlfred arrived in Canada where their brother George had been migrated to a year earlier.
The Catholic Emigration Association assisted these boys and they arrived at the St.George’s Home in Hintonburg, Ottawa. They were then placed out on contracts to work on farms or in rural households in various areas of Ontario. Claude and his brothers were three of the over 100,000 British Home Children sent or brought to Canada between 1869 and the 1940s.
Claude was placed out in North Lancaster. He enlisted with the 154th Battalion C.E.F. and served our country as did approximately 10,000 known British Home Children in WWI. Like many young men he lied about his vital information on his attestation papers. The Ontario government erected a plaque at the Royal Canadian Legion in Lancaster, Ontario, using the information on the attestation papers. This legion is named in Claude Nunney’s memory.
Claude distinguished himself while serving in battle in France. He was awarded the Military Medal and the Distinguished Conduct Medal. He was wounded in the battle forthe Hindenburg Line on September 1-2, 1918 and died if his wounds within a couple weeks. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.
As the president of the Ontario East British Home Child Family and a descendant of a British Home Child, I am so very pleased that Claude Nunney is being honoured with aBlue Plaque. This plaque will, I hope, spark people’s interest to learn more about Claude Nunney and also about British Home Children.