Ruth arrived at Cherbourg mission when she was six and a half months old. It was during the Depression and Ruth’s mother had taken her parents to Cherbourg where she was told they’d be cared for. But Ruth and her mother weren’t allowed to leave the mission, and what was intended as a temporary visit became years of separation and control.

Initially Ruth stayed with her mother in the women’s dormitory, where the single mothers were sent. But sooner or later, the children were removed to a separate dormitory. “Once you were taken from your parents, you had no more connection with them,” explains Ruth.

People would say [protection] was for your own good, but my own good was to stay with my mum.

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