Comments

Digital copy of Witness 227's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences in the care of States of Jersey at Brig-y-Don and the Jersey Home for Boys. [Some details redacted].

View WS000520.pdf | Download WS000520.pdf

Reference

C/D/AW1/B1/29/WS000520

Date

September 20th 2014 - September 20th 2014

Scope and Content

Background and Home Life States that he was born in 1927 and moved to Jersey with his parents when he was 6 weeks old. Includes recollections of his childhood at home with his family, recalling that his parents had a car and read the paper every day. Describes childhood as typical for the time, describing his father as a discplinarian. States that his father sustained numerous injuries during the First World War and so his mother would care for his father. States that his mother died in 1937 and his father was admitted to hospital shortly before the beginning of the Second World War. Notes that his mother and father were not married. Institutions Recalls starting school aged 6, attending Grouville School and later St Clement's School. Recalls strict discipline at Grouville School. States that he was sent to Brig-y-Don in 1937 following his father's death and mother's admission to hospital. Describes contemporary purpose of Brig-y-Don when he was admitted, recalling the number of other children in care and recollections of a female members of staff. States that he was only at Brig-y-Don for a short period before his father died in the dispensary at the hospital. Recalls that in 1939 he and his brother were sent to the Jersey Home for Boys following their father's death, noting that his sisters were sent to the Jersey Home for Girls. Includes a description of the building at the Jersey Home for Boys, commenting on its size. States that the primary purpose of the Jersey Home for Boys was as an orphanage, but that other boys were sent there around the beginning of the Second World War because their mothers were unable to cope due to the children's fathers being sent off to war. States that prior to the war, children would be sent to Borstal. Includes recollections of the dormitories, sleeping arrangements. Includes recollections of life at the Jersey Home for Boys, including a description of the daily routine. Recalls being assigned an identity number. Recalls being allowed to go to the beach at Anne Port to wash and children being taken out by taxi drivers for ice cream prior to the war. Also includes recollections of going to church in Gorey and Christmas in the Home. Includes recollections of staff at the Jersey Home for Boys, including a man in charge of discipline, a woman, a seamstress and a cook. Describes schooling at the Jersey Home for Boys, recalling that there were three classes: juniors, middle school and seniors. Recalls that Miss Renof [Renouf] taught the middle class and Agnes Machon taught the junior class. Includes recollections of the teaching staff, including positive memories of Agnes Machon, referring to her Bible class and continued contact with her after she left the Home. Recalls other boys in residence, describing a hierarchical structure amongst residents. Recalls a makeshift boxing ring at the Home. Includes recollections of the German Occupation during the Second World War, stating that he was at the Jersey Home for Boys at the beginning of the Occupation in June 1940. Describes the impact of the war on islanders. States that the Germans used a turret in the roof at the Jersey Home for Boys after he left the Home and also recalls the Germans confiscating crystal radios from the Home. Refers to a rumour that a German officer warned [a member of staff] about mistreatment of boys at the Home. Recalls having limited contact with [his sister] whilst he was at the Jersey Home for Boys. Notes that [his sister] went to the Jersey Home for Girls, recalling seeing her once at Grouville Church for a confirmation. Includes comments about his impressions of discipline the Jersey Home for Girls. Abuse and Consequences Recalls being sexually abused by a male teacher in a classroom in front of other boys at the Jersey Home for Boys. Describes incident which happened when he was 13 or 14 where he was sexually abused by a male member of staff a the Jersey Home for Boys. States that this staff member also used to sexually abuse 5 or 6 other boys, stating that these boys would receive preferential treatment including exclusion from certain chores and receipt of pocket money. States that the abuse would happen after school. Recalls being caned by a male staff member, stating that he was strict and would exert an excessive amount of force. Recalls injury sustained to his eye as a result of a incident of being caned. Describes the system of discipline at the Jersey Home for Boys as strict but not unbearable, recalling incidences of physical abuse by staff. Recalls comments by members of the public seeing injuries visible on residents and remarking about mistreatment of children at the Jersey Home for Boys. Recalls that bullying amongst residents was commonplace at the Jersey Home for Boys, stating opinion that staff relied on bullies to enforce the discipline. Recalls emotional and physical abuse by residents at the boot hole. Recalls that a boy from a family from St Peter was one of the worst bullies. States that some residents tried to ostracise other boys and comments on staff awareness of the culture of bullying at the Home. Events since leaving Care Describes getting a job when he was 14. Recalls being taken from the Jersey Home for Boys with to live with a family for his job. Includes recollections of members of the family, details about his weekly wage and comments about the positive aspects of his job. Recalls occasionally visiting the Jersey Home for Boys after moving. Recalls staying in his job until he was 18 when the war ended in 1945. Expresses desire to learn a trade after leaving the Jersey Home for Boys. Includes comments about life at the Jersey Home for Boys after he left, referring to impact of the end of the war, changes to the regime and staff changes. States understanding that the Jersey Home for Boys changed for the better for the children upon the arrival of a couple. Refers to the Jersey Home for Boys changings its name and a new building being built next to the existing building, referring to a change of ethos and less regimentation. Includes details about his adult life, including comments about his working life, marriage and family of his own. Reflects on impact of experiences in care on his life and comments about how Jersey has changed for the better since he was young, stating that when he was in care there was not even a Children's Office. Describes recent contact with an individual in 2013, referring to discussion about reports in the paper about abuse at Haut de la Garenne. States that the individual told him that he was never sexually abused. Statement finishes with comments about the standards of care provided by the States of Jersey. States that his intention of speaking to the Inquiry is to provide a balanced view of life at the Jersey Home for Boys to counter negative accounts. Includes remarks about the sexual abuse and physical abuse of children in care, including comments about discipline and comments about the veracity of some accounts.

Names

Machon, Agnes
Renouf, Miss
Brig-y-Don
Children's Office
Grouville Church
Grouville School
Haut de la Garenne
Jersey Home for Boys
Jersey Home for Girls
St Clement's School
States of Jersey

Keywords

Brig-y-Don, Coast Road | Gorey | Grouville | Haut de la Garenne | St Peter | abuse | admissions | allegations | borstals | bullying | caning | care orders | child abuse | childcare | Children | children's homes | children's services | complaints | corporal punishment | discipline | Education | emotional abuse | employment | evidence | First World War | Germans | IJCI | inquiries | mistreatment | mothers | Occupation | physical abuse | Second World War | sexual abuse | staff | statements | teachers | witness statements | witnesses

Dimensions

1 pdf file

Language

English

Level of description

file

Access Restriction

PDF file - please click on the link to download

Closed until

2100

Context:

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