News – Bodies of 40 children buried in mass grave

mass grave

The following story was taken from the daily mail and can be found @

Bodies of 40 children ‘buried in mass grave in grounds of orphanage’

By Daily Mail Reporter
UPDATED: 08:05, 24 May 2010

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

A pensioner says he helped to bury the bodies when he himself was a child at the home during the 1940s and 1950s.

Frank Hadley, 73, said he had spoken out because he wanted to ensure the children, who died of natural causes, received a proper burial.

He claimed the remains were buried in the grounds of Haseley Hall in Warwickshire.

Mr Hadley, who was sent as a youngster to the Haseley Hall Residential Open Air School for Boys, has reported the matter to Warwickshire Police who are investigating.

Haseley Hall was a school for rheumatic girls until 1942 when it became an Open Air School for Boys, aimed at improving the health of impoverished children.

It closed in 1974 and has now been renovated into luxury apartments.

Mr Hadley, a retired steeplejack, said: ‘A lot of kids died from pneumonia, tuberculosis and bronchitis.
There was very little staff could do for them. It was what happened afterwards that has always haunted me.

When the children died they were buried in an apple orchard in the grounds – not proper marked graves, just a hole in the ground.

‘When I got to a certain age it was my job to help the older boys bury the dead.

‘I would wash the bodies and then dry them, then cover them in a powder called DDT which was a powerful pesticide.

‘I would wrap them in white sheets, or sometimes in hessian sacks, and they would be buried.

‘They were not buried very deep and I must have been involved in at least 40 burials during my time there.’

‘There were no prayers, no rituals, nothing like that. They were just dumped in the ground, bless them. I just want to die knowing that they had a proper burial.’

A Warwickshire Police spokesman 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.’

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

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