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Chris

Belgian Refugees

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Whilst researching the soldiers on the village memorial i found several references to Belgian refugees who lived in the village for part of the war, but no names are given, just professions and gender. I wonder are there any records that list Belgian refugees by name, where they were diespersed to, or repatriation dates etc.

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Chris

Local Belgian Refugee Relief Commitees were set up in cities towns and village. They found accommodation, where possible jobs and education for the children.

Although covered by a Central Commitee for Refugees thes committees were semi-autominous and each worked in a different way.

Noting that you are in Lincolnshire - Grimsby took 210 Refugees.

You are likely to find details of the work of your local committee in the local press.

Your county record office may have minutes on file.

Similar school records may give you a lead.

Often the refugees in a particular area came from the same town and sometimes they were placed where there particular trade e.g. mining was of best use to the host town or village.

The attached photo is of a group of Belgian Refugee children who went to Chippenham (Wilts) Secondary School with the Headmaster and Senior Mistress.

You will also find these sites of interest:

http://www.wolverhamptonarchives.dial.pipe...gration_ww1.htm

http://belgium.rootsweb.com/gbr/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/beyond/fact...t6_prog1b.shtml

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Middlesbroughs Effort in the Great War qoutes 60 Belgian refugees taken in to the town during the war.

No lists of names is given however.

Bob.

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:lol: Hercule Poirot!!!

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There are many references to Belgian refugees living in Bletchley & the surrounding area in the North Bucks Times & County Observer, which was the local weekly rag at the time.

Will

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Out of interest, there are two large commemorative plaques, one in Birmingham Town Hall and one in Coventry, thanking the citizens of these towns for housing Belgian refugees in WW1. Both are made of marble and are of exactly the same design. Anybody found anything similar in there own localities?

Terry Reeves

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I know of thesisses which have been written on both Belgian refugees in Holland and France, but never noticed any work on refugees in the UK.

I know the priest of the St.-Nicolas church in Ypres was a refugee during the war. He used to teach religion-classes to the Catholic english-speaking children at the Eton Memorial school ( next to St. George's).

Bert.

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There is a National memorial outside Victoria Embankment Gardens.

'To the British Nation from the grateful people of Belgium 1914-18' .

Erected in 1920 in recognition of the hospitality given to thousands of their refugees. A more than life-size bronze group of a draped female figure. a boy and a girl, carrying nasses of wreaths and flowers, set on a low pedestal.

Behind this is a long curved wall of stone with seated stone figures, in relief, representing Justice and Honour and decorated at intervals with Belgian coats of arms. The whole is raised on four shallow steps.

The sculptor being Victor Rousseau and the architect Reginald Blomfield.

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Bert

There was a Belgian "village" built adjacent to a large muntions factory in the North East of England. It had it's own pub, French road signs and it's own Belgian police force. It was built to house the many Belgians who were working at the factory so that they would feel more at home.

RJQ Adams describes it in "Arms and The Wizard".

Terry Reeves

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Bert

For further details of the village see:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/beyond/fact...t6_prog1b.shtml

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Fascinating link, I live about forty miles away from Birtley and had never heard of this before.

Many thanks.

Bob.

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Thank you to everyone for all the info, and what a fascinating link about the Belgian village. I shall see what i can find anything further in the local archives, ie the school logbook, about the 5 Belgian refugess who were placed in Bonby for the war.

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To All,

There was a colloquium at the Brussels University on ww1 in the beginning of this year (16-17 january 2003) : see also http://www.ulb.ac.be/philo/histoire/colloques.html

One of the items was ' Belgian Refugees ' and one speaker (Mr. Purseigle) on this subject came from the Oxford University.

The Belgian newspaper "La Libre Belgique" discussed this colloquium and spoke about Folkestone.

I am personally interested in this subject, since my grand-parents were refugees at the end of the ww1 in the South of France (Lot et Garonne).

Does there exist litterature (books, magazines, ... ) on this subject, Belgian Refugees ?

Gilbert Deraedt

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A chap by the name of Ivor Slocombe produced an article on Belgian Refugees in Wiltshire which was published in the Wiltshire Local History Forum News Letter way back in Sep. 1999.

I don't have a copy and cannot confirm the exact contents.

As he lives only a few miles away from me and en-route to the office I will contact him and get a copy and with his permission pass it on to interested Pals via e-mail.

Dave

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Chris,

I think the In Flanders Fields documentation centre in Ypres might be a good place to start the search. You can find their e-mail on the site of the museum. The staff there is very helpfull. Dominiek at the centre has done research into the rebuilding of Ypres, all those post war sources are very related. Maybe he might be able to give you a clue.

Just an idea but... in post-war Belgium, deported labourmen who were forced to work in Germany got an official status, people whose house was destroyed in the fighting got an official status, etc... I would be surprised if refugees didn't. And... if they got an official status, that means their names were recorded, somewhere in Brussels, and must be there still. I will have a look at the guidbook for contemporary historical research in Belgium at the uni library, and will come up with some adresses you might want to write to.

Bert.

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There must be some record of those refugees somewhere because they got money from the government. I have also seen lists of refugees (with location) trying to contact their family.

Jan

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To Bert,

I would be very happy to receive the title of that thesis on Belgian refugees in France.

Gilbert Deraedt

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For what it is worth...

My great grandparents took in a Belgian refugee during WW1 and were given by him in gratitude, and as a souvenir, a French '75' shrapnel shell.

I have the '75' in my possession, and it still holds inside the original note written (in French) by the refugee, Gaston Wynne.

It is dated 1915, and gives a brief explanation that the shell was fired by the Germans from a captured gun. The shell missed the refugee 'by a few centimetres' and of course was a dud. This occured outside Ramscapelle, at a forward farm.

It sounds like he was in the front line (so possibly a Belgian Soldier). I realise that captured guns were sometimes puty to use, but I often wondered whether it was in fact a 'short' fired by his own side.

Anyway, an interesting little piece of history for me and a family heirloom to pass down the line.

Ian

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The North Lincolnshire researcher who started this thread and all subsequent correspondents might like to look at my book 'Belgian Refugees in Lincolnshire and Hull, 1914 - 1919.' You don't say which village you are interested in, but I might have included it. You can borrow a copy from the Grimsby Central Library. It's out of print at the moment, but I'm working on a new edition to cover a wider area. However, my 'Excluded from the Record, Women, Refugees and Relief, 1914 - 1929' deals with Belgian refugees in France and Holland, as well as the U.K., and also with refugees in countries further afield, such as Serbia. My thesis has been digitized – Sussex University and the British Library should have copies. I was at the In Flanders Fields colloquium with Pierre Purseigle in May 2004 where I spoke about Belgian child refugees in Britain.

Kate S

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I have found quite a few articles in the Wiltshire Gazette of the day naming Belgians who were taken into homes in Corsham - did anyone find the article by Ivor Slocombe on Belgian Refugees in Wiltshire.

thanks.

Kevin

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Hello guys,

During my last trip to Glastonbury in october , I bought " Glastonbury's other legacy", a brandnew publication.Chapter 4 is the story of Belgian refugees in Glastonbury. It shows entrees of local newspapers with interviews and at the end a list of the Belgian families. People from Ghent Kwatrecht,Antwerp, Bruges, Termonde and Malines found here a shelter.

kind regards,

Jef

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Don't think Letchworth, Herts & Richmond, Surrey have been mentioned previously. Originally came across these in connection with the Kryn & Lahy steelworks in Letchworth because the company, which was founded by Belgian refugees during the war, was given as co-applicants with Charles Inglis, the WW1 bridge designer, on several patents. This then turned up a link to Richmond & the Pelabon works, a munitions factory set up by another Belgian exile & a Belgian refugee community that was associated with that.

Links:

http://www.thecomet.net/news/help_sought_for_commemorative_belgian_plaque_in_letchworth_park_1_775323

http://www.hertsatwar.co.uk/belgian-refugees

http://www.glias.org.uk/news/156news.html#B

http://www.glias.org.uk/news/159news.html

While checking out that the original links were still valid I came across a blog for the 'Centre for Research on Belgian Refugees' Click which might be also be of interest to anyone researching the topic who's not already aware of it.

NigelS

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Whilst searching for something in the newspaper archive of Find My Past I came across a page for the Derby Daily Telegraph of Saturday 19 December 1914. There was a column:

Les Dernieres Nouvelles en Francais. Pour les refugies belges qui ne savent pas parler anglais.

Was this practice of printing French language news for Belgian refugees in local newspapers widespread? I wonder if it continued through the war?

Any ideas?

Moriaty

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