A tragic homecoming

Sam Wardle photo courtesy of Northern General Hospital history group
Sam Wardle
Sam Wardle

Story by Graham Jones, with thanks to Lyn Howsam and The Friends of Burngreave Cemetery and Chapel | Photo courtesy of Northern General Hospital history group

Samuel Wardle was born on 19th October 1897 the son of James Wardle and Mary Marshall who already had six children. James died in 1905 and was buried in Burngreave Cemetery. Mary married Edward Hannah in 1906.

It is believed that Samuel was then sent to the Sheffield Union Workhouse children’s homes who sent him on to Dr Barnardo’s “Ever Open Door”, then on William Street (it moved to 23 Pitsmoor Road in 1916. Barnardo’s in turn sent him via a ten day voyage from Liverpool on the S/S Ottawa to a new life in Canada in October 1906. At the time this was a common fate for Barnardo’s children. Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada.

By the age of fifteen Samuel was working as a servant at for the Trimble household in Amaranth, Ontario. Samuel enlisted for the First World War. Signing up for the 58th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment) on 6th July 1915 in Niagara, Ontario. His next of kin was listed as Mrs M.H. Hanner of 4 Court 6 House Topham Street. He gave his occupation as harness maker. He was 5’4”.

Private Samuel Wardle was to die of spinal meningitis, in Aldershot Isolation Hospital, Hampshire on 18th March 1916. It is recorded as a “Death due to service” as spinal meningitis then commonly afflicted servicemen in action.

On 25th March 1916 Samuel was buried in the same plot as his father in Burngreave Cemetery. A tragic homecoming.

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