Father Hicks Dumped us in Leeds Station, Vocation Over

By Charles Young

The Disappeared of Mirfield

I do remember boys vanishing not to come back.

One guy I remember was a lad called Mitch

He was Scottish I think.

It would’ve been late 1971 or early 1972 that he disappeared.

Dumped by Father Hicks

I, myself, would’ve been one of the same group – as I was expelled with 2 other boys in 1973.

So from the disappeared point of view, it was quite traumatic.

We were taken to the station and given a train ticket to the nearest station home.

We were cold, hungry and abandoned on Leeds station.

I remember 2 of us had to return to Newcastle but the other lad had to go to Glasgow – on his own.

I’ve never heard from him ever again.

Model Seminarians

Was nickin’ an airfix model of the Bismark from Woolworth really that bad?


Well Fr Hicks thought so, anyway.

There ya go!

Verona Fathers Blog Comment

This was not uncommon.

The way they dumped on teenage boys was quite cruel.

Usually there wasn’t even time to say goodbyes.

Boys in their early and mid-teens, who were no longer wanted, were thrown out straight away, dumped at Leeds station and given just tickets home.

Often they had hundreds of miles to get home.

The parents didn’t even know anything till the boys turned up at their doors.

They, and the local parish priest, would get a letter explaining the dismissal a week or two later.

I know of parents who never forgave their sons for being expelled – and many were expelled for what we would see now as fairly minor indiscretions.

Given Up Everything

These boys had left behind their homes, their families and friends usually at the lage of just 11 to follow their vocation and to study for the priesthood.

These young lads were not offered the courtesy of a decent send-off when they were no longer wanted by the Order. Often, they could not even say goodbye to the other boys who had become, in effect, their family.

They were told their fate, asked to pack immediately, driven to Leeds station, bought a ticket home and basically abandoned to their fate and the rest of their lives.

Vocations Gone

Just a few hours earlier they believed they were heading for the priesthood – now, as they waited of their train, they knew they had an unknown future ahead of them.

This was always the way right from the beginning and was happening well before Father Hicks’ time in charge.

Many boys were unceremoniously dumped this way.

It must have been terrible for their self-esteem.

After all they had given up to come to Mirfield, they deserved better than this!

If you know of any other stories of Boys being unceremoniously dumped at short notice by the Comboni Missionaries at Mirfield put your tale in the Comments section after this article.

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