Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Orphanage 'mass grave' investigated

Warwickshire Police are investigating claims that the bodies of 40 children were buried in a mass grave at an orphanage
Warwickshire Police are investigating claims that the bodies of 40 children were buried in a mass grave at an orphanage

Police are investigating claims that the bodies of 40 children were buried in a mass grave at an orphanage more than half a century ago.

Pensioner Frank Hadley claimed the remains of the children, who died of natural causes, were buried in the grounds of Haseley Hall in Warwickshire during the 1940s and 50s.

He said he helped bury the bodies while himself an orphan at the Haseley Hall Residential Open-Air School for Boys.

Mr Hadley, now 73, told the Sunday Mercury newspaper he had brought the matter out into the open because he wanted to ensure the children received a proper burial before he died.

He has reported the matter to Warwickshire Police who said they were investigating the claims.

A spokeswoman said: "We are taking this matter seriously and we are investigating. But at this stage we are not sure if anything criminal has taken place or not. What you have to bear in mind is that times were different back then, so we need to look into the history of the site before we take any further action."

Haseley Hall was a school for rheumatic girls in 1930s until 1942, when it became an Open Air School for Boys, one of Birmingham's six such schools. It closed in 1974 and has now been renovated into luxury apartments.

Mr Hadley told the Sunday Mercury: "A lot of the kids died from pneumonia, tuberculosis and bronchitis.

"When the children died they were buried in an apple orchard in the grounds - not proper marked graves, just a hole in the ground. I just want to die knowing that they had a proper burial."

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council, which ran the home, said: "Obviously the claims made in the story go back a number of decades, and therefore information is not immediately available but we will look into the matter."

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