As a response to the Armenian massacres and the plight of the survivors, the Lord Mayor’s Fund started an Armenian Relief Fund. This become aligned with the Save the Children Fund, which help fund the work in what was left of Armenia. In around 1920 the Reverend Hubert Harcourt went to Armenia to work as a relief agent for the Lord Mayor’s Fund, which he did for three and a half years.

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The Rev H. Harcourt was ordained in 1909, and held curacies in Balsall Heath, Bracknell, Ascot Heath and Slough. During his time in Armenia, he was a relief worker and the director of an orphanage. Other key figures from the English charitable reaction include the Reverend Harold Buxton (later Bishop of Gibraltar), who was key in setting up the fund, and Miss Magda Coe, the relief agent in the region after the Rev H. Harcourt. While in Armenia, the Rev H. Harcourt found Varos Shahbazian, a 10 or 11 year old orphan from the Kars region, and adopted him. He sent Varos back to England to stay with his sister Elise Harcourt and their mother, while he carried on his work in Armenia. The Rev H. Harcourt got married in around 1926 and had three children. He died from cancer when he was in his 40s.

There was a great deal of fund raising done in England at this time. It seems the situation was then well known in England. The matter was also discussed in Parliament and politicians of the day, including Herbert Asquith and David Lloyd George, were well aware of what was happening. Below is a document which outlines five questions put to Parliament or the Prime Minister in Sept 1924 about Armenia.

(Lucine Shabazian is Varos Shahbazian’s granddaughter who was adopted by Rev Harcourt)

 

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