Bodies of ‘hundreds’ of children buried in mass grave – BBC News

Image copyright Lanark Art gallery

The particular bodies of hundreds of children are considered to be buried in a mass grave within Lanarkshire, southern Scotland, according to a study by BBC News.

The children were all occupants of a care home run simply by Catholic nuns.

A minimum of 400 children are thought to be buried within a section of St Mary’s Cemetery within Lanark.

The Children of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which ran the house, refused to comment on the results.

The research by the Document on 4 programme in conjunction with the Sunday Write-up newspaper focused on Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark.

It opened within 1864 and provided care for orphans or children from broken houses. It closed in 1981, getting looked after 11, 600 children.

A burial story, containing the bodies of a variety of children, was uncovered by 2 former residents of Smyllum within 2003.

Honest Docherty and Jim Kane found out an overgrown, unmarked section of Saint Mary’s Cemetery during their efforts in order to reveal physical abuse which they stated many former residents had experienced.

Image caption St Mary’s Cemetery in Lanark where the systems of more than 400 children are believed to be hidden

Within 2004, the campaigners said the particular Daughters of Charity told all of them their records suggested that kids had been buried in 158 storage compartments in the graveyard.

Frank and Jim, who each died earlier this year, believed however , the numbers were far higher because the nuns had indicated their information were incomplete.

The investigation by File upon 4 and the Sunday Post signifies they were right; at least 400 youngsters are understood to be buried in the plot.

“Oh my Lord, I’ve got goose pimples. Is actually shocking, ” said Frank Docherty’s widow, Janet.

“He had been trying for years to discover a figure and he didn’t get anyplace. That’s unbelievable. ”

The death records indicate that most from the children died of natural leads to, from diseases common at the time for example TB, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Analysis of the information show that a third of those which died were aged five or even under. Very few of those who passed away, 24 in total, were aged more than 15, and most of the deaths happened between 1870 and 1930.

One of those believed to be buried there is certainly Francis McColl. He died within 1961, aged 13; his loss of life certificate indicates he died from the brain haemorrhage.

His brother Eddie spent years wondering what had happened in order to Francis. At one point, this individual heard he’d been struck around the head by a golf club, which at this point chimes with the evidence of the passing away certificate.

Yet Eddie could find no trace associated with where his brother had been hidden.

“It’s absurd, ” he says. “I’m not happy about this. Whoever is behind this, I really hope they can live with themselves. ”

Many allegations of misuse at the care home were furthermore uncovered by File on four and the Sunday Post, including beatings, punches, public humiliations and emotional abuse.

This particular case mirrors the investigation in to the Tuam mother and baby home , an Irish institution run with a religious order, where it is believed nearly 800 babies and young kids died and were buried within unmarked graves between the 1920s plus 1960s.

Image caption Smyllum Recreation area Orphanage in Lanark after this closed in the 1980s

What happened at Smyllum is one of the topics that the Scottish Child Mistreatment Inquiry is evaluating.

Two associates of the Daughters of Charity provided evidence to the inquiry this summer by which they said they could find no information of any abuse taking place.

The nuns declined to respond to detailed questions through reporters about how many people were hidden in the mass grave.

In a statement, they said these were “co-operating fully” with the Child Misuse Inquiry and that they believed that was the particular “best and most appropriate forum pertaining to such investigations”.

They will continued: “… as Daughters associated with Charity our values are completely against any form of abuse and therefore, we offer our most sincere plus heartfelt apology to anyone who experienced any form of abuse whilst within our care”.

Image caption Memorial rock at St Mary’s Cemetery to consider all who died at Smyllum Park Orphanage

How the figures had been calculated

Since 1855, there has been a legal duty in Scotland to register a death.

Those death records are available for overview at the National Records for Scotland office in Edinburgh. The information contain details such as the name plus age of the deceased as well as the actual died of and their typical place of residence.

After focusing on those people under eighteen who’d been resident at Smyllum, the BBC and Sunday Write-up checked local burial records to get Lanark, which today are kept with South Lanarkshire Council.

They found simply no evidence that the dead had been hidden.

Some kids were sent to the home from other areas across central Scotland, so place checks were also made with a great many other areas. Burial records were present in Glasgow for two of the dead. Most area we approached could find any kind of burial record for the names all of us asked them to check.

As the Daughters of Charity have got previously indicated that children had been buried in an unmarked plot in the cemetery, and that their records are usually incomplete, all the bodies are considered to be buried in the graveyard.

The method is a replica of this used to expose a mass grave within the Irish Republic .


Document on 4: The Secrets associated with Smyllum Park is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday twelve September 2017 at 20: 00 BST. You can also catch up on the BBC iPlayer .

Have you got something you would like File on 4 investigating? E-mail us – fileon4@bbc. co. uk or even follow us on Twitter .