Long Lost Family ‘Shipped to Australia’ special for ITV

The special airs tomorrow on ITV.

A Long Lost Family special highlighting the scandal of thousands of unaccompanied British children shipped out to Australia in the middle of the 20th century. The children were sent on the promise of a better life, but instead found themselves in badly run institutions suffering poor education, neglect and often physical and sexual abuse, whilst all ties were severed from their families and their country back home.

The programme follows the story of Dorian Thomas Reece as, nearly 70 years since he was sent to live in Western Australia as an eight-year-old boy, he searches for answers about where he came from and who his family were – and are. The Long Lost Family team takes up the search for his British family.

Shockingly, even after official reports had been published about the abuse in these care institutions, children were still sent away.

ITV meet Bruce Wilton, whose younger brothers Rex and Kevin were sent to Tasmania as late as 1970. Letters between the brothers were intercepted, leaving Bruce thinking that they’d gone to a happier life and no longer wanted contact with him. Bruce reveals what happened to them, how they eventually found each other and the destructive impact the separation had on the family.

Rex went on to a troubled life and died early. But on the anniversary of his death, Bruce and brother Kevin are able to reunite and commemorate him.

Long Lost Family Special: Shipped to Australia, ITV/STV/UTV, Monday, April 25th, 9 pm

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