Cyril WARNES [c.1910-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Cyril WARNES [c.1910-????]

c.1910-01-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)
Birthplace (country): 

Cyril Warnes was the third and youngest child of Charles and Elizabeth Warnes. He was a great-grandson of John Olson snr. His mother died in 1917 and there is no current record of what happened to his father after 1914. Whether Charles was deceased or working in another country, the Olson family looked after his three children initially. Cyril is listed as attending DBS in 1918. From around 1920, he attended the same English boarding school as John Olson jnr's sons and lived with them in Chiswick until he emigrated to Canada. 

Cyril's elder sisters, Iris and Marjorie seem to have lost touch with him. Apart from a single family portrait showing him as a toddler around 1911, their daughters possessed no other record of Cyril, and their children in turn have no idea when or where he died.



13 August 1926 Cyril Charles Warnes age 16 born Hong Kong sailed from Liverpool to Quebec along with many others of young and teenage years from various parts of the UK. Was he a British Home Child?

From 1869 through to 1939 (1948 to British Columbia) it has been estimated over 100,000 children were emigrated from the United Kingdom to Canada to be used as indentured farm workers and domestic servants. Believed by Canadians to be orphans, only two percent truly were. These children were sent to Canada by over 50 organizations including the well-known and still working charities such as Barnardo's and Quarrier's.

Sadly Only surnames beginning with AA to RUSK are presently online.

1968 Canada Voters List

Cyril Warnes retired and Mrs C Warnes living at 327 Shepherd Street Sarnia Ontario


Thank you so much for searching for Cyril Warnes and for finding this startling information about his inclusion with "British Home Children." It's not at all the story that was passed down by his aunt, Annie Olson, to her children. According to her story, Annie lent Cyril the money for his fare to Canada and always bore him a grudge thereafter for not paying it back. If he was only 16, then this would hardly have been a fair expectation. It's true Cyril was probably an orphan, but seemingly brought up with and educated at the same school as his Olson cousins, rather than in an institution such as Barnados. It seems he joined the Olsons, aged about 10, a little later than 1919 when Annie left with her sons. There are several adult members of the family who could have accompanied him on the voyage to England. The wording of the will of Cyril's grandfather and the subsequent bond that was taken out, implies that money would have been left in trust for the Warnes children after the death of their mother, Elizabeth Warnes in 1917. I don't know anything about the British Home Children and wonder if they were all destined for service or  farm work, or whether Charles might have had a happier fate, even if he travelled with them. It seems that the Olsons had contacts in Canada, whom they visited on their various travels - perhaps there was a Canadian safety net.

The Cyril Warnes you have found on the 1968 voters list is very probably the right Cyril.

This link might help to trace Cyril Charles Warnes

The 1921 census due out next year will help to pinpoint him if he was in England then.

Thanks again, annpake. This makes interesting reading. Of course Cyril Warnes came from a privileged background with servants in Hong Kong and probably at the Olsons' household in London also. It would have been difficult for him to adapt to being a servant or a farm labourer.

Conditions were grim for many. My three ancestors were 8 5 and 6 when they were sent. The 6 year old went on his own and the other two went together on a separate voyage. The 8 year old died age 36 and I have no idea what happened to the five year old. I have found a death of someone dying age 6  in that name but cannot confirm it. The 6 year old ran away from Canada and joined a band of travelljng showmen. He was with them until he died age 86  and is buried in the Showmen's Rest Cemetery in Tampa.

I had never heard of "British Home Children". It's an under-publicised piece of British history and one can understand why. I wonder if your relatives were actual orphans. The scheme sounds like an officially approved way of getting rid of inconvenient children. They certainly deserve to be commemorated better than they are at the moment.