The Children of Ross Dhu Part 2 Hilda Martin

The Children of Ross Dhu  Part 2 Hilda Martin

In May of 2009 Stepehen Plowden from the UK wrote a letter to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum about the fact that Elizabeth or Jane Oliver Bellasis recently had discovered a picture of English children at Ross Dhu in their family photo album. The children were under the guardianship of Hilda Martin and he felt the date of the picture was from the summer of 1942 or 1943. The youngest of the charges was born after the outbreak of the war, and she is not a baby in the picture.

Hi Linda,
My name is Jonathan Roland Gay – I am the person who blogged last year on your WordPress page entitled “The Children of Ross Dhu – Evacuation to Canada”
I became very busy with my PhD research that I have only just remembered your Wordpress blog and looked to see your reply.
My great Aunt, Hilda Martin, lived in Woolwich near the Royal Artillery and trained as a nurse, serving during the First World War. She, therefore, had made connections with military officers in Woolwich and during her service. In 1923 she traveled to India and mixed with government officials and dignitaries – she was nanny/governess there. Hilda finally returned to Rottingdean where she had designed the ‘Seadowns’ house and instructed the architects what she wanted. In 1936 Seadowns had been built and freshly painted. It was at the top of Bazehill Road inset from the road (as is the current building). The house was very big and was to be a home for children of dignitaries abroad.
The children had a view of a school (St Dunstans??) in one direction, and a view of the windmill in the down-road direction. Geoffrey Plowden was one of the children at Seadowns who arrived there when he was 8 years old. I spoke to him earlier this year and he told me that he could smell the fresh paint as he walked in; the floors were wooden and the front room had a row of lockers for the children with toys in the same room. The children were evacuated to Canada (Carleton Place) in late July 1940. I attach a photo of Aunt Hilda (though she is younger here than 1930s/40s). I also attach a screenshot of the passenger list to Canada –  Hilda is on this obviously with the names of some of the children. The Edwardian travel clock went with her to India in 1923, to Canada in 1940 and back to England in 1944.
If you know of anyone who has a photo of Aunt Hilda at Carleton Place with the children or inside the house, I would love to have copies. If not, are there any photos of just the house and rooms?
best wishes



So where was Ross Dhu? At the Gillies home on Townline and Bridge

 - May 22– 2016 Update– Through the Public Archives we found out that  Ross Dhu was the home of Mr. David Gillies on Bridge Street at Townine in Carleton Place







The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Oct 1937, Mon  •  Page 3–



Thanks to Ray Paquette–While self isolating, I have taken the opportunity to “declutter”. I came up with a picture I have no idea where I got it, except from my parents. I have no idea of the significance of it but I’m sure you will recognize the location.

I seem to recall hearing that Carleton Place was the host of a number of British children who, for safety reasons, emigrated to Canada during WW2. Perhaps your followers can shed some light on this…

Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage MuseumWe certainly would, thank you Ray Paquette! Just yesterday we came across this memory of the school from Jennifer Richardson, daughter of George “Geordie” Findlay: “I attended kindergarten run by the English people that minded the English children housed in the Caldwell house at the corner of Bridge St. and the Townline Road…. we sat at a big table to do our work. We played games in another room such as London Bridge. An English boy, Barry Blanchard lived with us during some of the war until his mother settled in Canada.”

Martin PuckettI have a small world story. In 1982 my college hockey team did a tour of Europe. I walked into a bar in Belgium and a man sitting at the bar quickly noticed I was from Canada by the pins I had on my jacket. He asked me where in Canada I was from. I replied Ottawa area. He replied that during the war he had been sent from England to live in a small town called Carleton Place. The pints and the conversation continued from there . Lol

Jennifer RogersLindaThe late Art Evoy told me that the Mutt family from Carleton Place sponsored a young boy from Britain during the war. The young boy’s father was a medic with the British Army.One of the Mutt’s sons signed up for the war and was sent to the Far East. While at the Far East the Mutt boy from Carleton Place was injured and sent to hospital. While at the hospital, the Mutt’s son was treated by a British Army medic who after chatting, realized that the injured solder’s family were the one’s who were hosting his son in Canada. An amazing coincidence.Duncan Rogers

Ray PaquetteDuring a discussion with my sister, Allison Bell, mentioned that she thought our cousin, Pamela Nichols, daughter of Tom and Wilma, granddaughter of Abner, was in the picture. Hearing stories of how Carleton Place children attended school with the British children might explain why my cousin would be in the picture and why my family ended up with it. Comments?

Ray PaquetteNo, its not Victoria School. It’s the old Townsview Apartments at the corner of Bridge and the Townline….

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. My name is Jane Young and I lived with Sister Hilda for five years at “Seadowns” in Rottingdean. (From 1944 to 1949) I was one of the youngest of the children living there. I remember her very, very well and also a brother and sister who went to Canada called Nicholas and Jennifer (I don’t know their surnames) but then came back to Rottingdean. They used to write letters to India where their parents lived.


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