‘Hundreds’ of children buried in Scottish mass grave

The bodies of hundreds of children are believed to be buried in a mass grave in Scotland, a report said on Sunday.

The children were all residents of the Smyllum Park Orphanage run by nuns from the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, according to the BBC News investigation report.

At least 400 children are thought to be buried in a section of the St. Mary’s Cemetery.

According to the report, the orphanage opened in 1864 and provided care for orphans or children from broken homes. It closed in 1981. It looked after a total of 11,600 children.

A burial plot was uncovered by two former residents, Frank Docherty and Jim Kane, in 2003.

Docherty and Kane discovered an overgrown, unmarked section of the cemetery during their efforts to reveal physical abuse which they said many former residents had suffered.

In 2004, Docherty and Kane, who both died earlier this year, said the Daughters of Charity told them their records suggested that children had been buried in 158 compartments in the graveyard, the BBC report said.

The death records indicate that most of the children died of natural causes, from diseases common at the time such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Analysis of the records show that a third of those who died were aged five or under. Very few of those who died, 24 in total, were aged over 15, and most of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930.

The incident is currently being probed by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

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