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

Image copyright Lanark Museum

The bodies of hundreds of children are believed to be buried in a mass grave in Lanarkshire, southern Scotland, according to an investigation by BBC News.

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

At least 400 children are thought to be buried in a section of St Mary’s Cemetery in Lanark.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which ran the home, refused to comment on the findings.

The research by the File on 4 programme in conjunction with the Sunday Post newspaper focused on Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark.

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

A burial plot, containing the bodies of a number of children, was uncovered by two former residents of Smyllum in 2003.

Frank Docherty and Jim Kane discovered an overgrown, unmarked section of St Mary’s Cemetery during their efforts to reveal physical abuse which they said many former residents had suffered.

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

In 2004, the campaigners said the Daughters of Charity told them their records suggested that children had been buried in 158 compartments in the graveyard.

Frank and Jim, who both died earlier this year, believed however, that the numbers were far higher as the nuns had indicated their records were incomplete.

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

“Oh my God, I’ve got goose pimples. It’s shocking,” said Frank Docherty’s widow, Janet.

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

The death records indicate that most of the children died of natural causes, from diseases common at the time such as TB, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Analysis of the records show that a third of those who died were aged five or under. Very few of those who died, 24 in total, were aged over 15, and most of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930.

One of those believed to be buried there is Francis McColl. He died in 1961, aged 13; his death certificate indicates he died from a brain haemorrhage.

His brother Eddie spent decades wondering what had happened to Francis. At one point, he heard he’d been struck on the head by a golf club, which now chimes with the evidence of the death certificate.

But Eddie could find no trace of where his brother had been buried.

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

Many allegations of abuse at the care home were also uncovered by File on 4 and the Sunday Post, including beatings, punches, public humiliations and psychological abuse.

This case mirrors the investigation into the Tuam mother and baby home, an Irish institution run by a religious order, where it is thought nearly 800 babies and young children died and were buried in unmarked graves between the 1920s and 1960s.

Image caption Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark after it closed in the 1980s

What happened at Smyllum is one of the topics that the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is examining.

Two representatives of the Daughters of Charity gave evidence to the inquiry this summer in which they said they could find no records of any abuse taking place.

The nuns refused to respond to detailed questions from reporters about how many people were buried in the mass grave.

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

They continued: “…as Daughters of Charity our values are totally against any form of abuse and thus, we offer our most sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who suffered any form of abuse whilst in our care”.

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

How the figures were calculated

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

Those death records are available for scrutiny at the National Records for Scotland office in Edinburgh. The records contain details such as the name and age of the deceased as well as what they died of and their usual place of residence.

After focusing on those people under 18 who’d been resident at Smyllum, the BBC and Sunday Post checked local burial records for Lanark, which today are held with South Lanarkshire Council.

They found no evidence that the dead had been buried.

Some children were sent to the home from other places across central Scotland, so spot checks were also made with a number of other areas. Burial records were discovered in Glasgow for two of the dead. No other area we approached could find any burial record for the names we asked them to check.

As the Daughters of Charity have previously indicated that children were buried in an unmarked plot at the cemetery, and that their records are incomplete, all the bodies are believed to be buried in the graveyard.

The method is a replica of that used to expose a mass grave in the Irish Republic.


File on 4: The Secrets of Smyllum Park is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 12 September 2017 at 20:00 BST. You can also catch up on the BBC iPlayer.

Have you got something you want File on 4 investigating? Email us – fileon4@bbc.co.uk or follow us on Twitter.

More From this publisher : HERE

If you like our content help us with a share… or two …  

Also -  I have some free stuff for you .......

Nr 1. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?

 

Nr 2.  You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...

 

Nr 3. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong.  How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.

   

Nr 4.  Special free report .  It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...

The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!

Nr 5.  Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of  traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.

Nr 6.  When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !

Nr 7. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!

  Nr 8. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!

Nr 9. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!

Nr 10. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.

Nr 11. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.

Nr 12. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.

Nr 13. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)

Nr 14. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.

Nr 15. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?

   

Nr 16. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"

This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't  forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.

Nr 17. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!

Nr 18. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.

Nr 19. If you've ever failed to create a WordPress site of your own or typically waste hours & even weeks trying to figure it all out on your own....

Nr 20. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...

 

Nr 21. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!

Use them  .... and have fun !