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Belgische vluchtelingen UK 1914/1919

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Jun 2007 18:12    Onderwerp: enkele documenten belgians in UK Reageer met quote



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BerichtGeplaatst: 15 Mrt 2011 23:07    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Zie ook: http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=20254
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BerichtGeplaatst: 15 Mrt 2011 23:14    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Refugees 1900-1950
Refugees are involuntary migrants forced to leave their home countries to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster
.

Refugee groups have been coming to London for centuries. When England became a Protestant country, it attracted Protestant refugees fleeing persecution in Catholic Europe, notably French Huguenots, large numbers of whom arrived in London in the late 17th century.

During the 19th century, the largest groups of refugees to arrive in London were Russian and Polish Russian Jews, fleeing persecution from the Tsarist regime in Russia. Concern about overcrowding led to the Aliens Act of 1905, which tried to control the numbers of destitute arrivals but kept the door open to those fleeing religious persecution.

After the First World War and the Russian Revolution of 1917, the plight of millions of international refugees was too pressing to ignore. The League of Nations Office of High Commissioner for Refugees (later named the Nansen Office after its founder, Norwegian scholar Fridtjof Nansen) was established in 1921. It was the first worldwide institution to come to the aid of refugees. Nansen organised repatriation wherever possible; in other cases he arranged for the distribution of Nansen passports, recognised in 28 countries, which gave the holder the right to move freely across national boundaries.

Refugees arriving in London during this period included large numbers of Belgians who had been driven from their homes by the First World War.

(c) en foto's http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk/server.php?show=conInformationRecord.184
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 19:34    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

antoon van coillie @ 18 Mrt 2011 17:39 schreef:
Ik ben op zoek naar informatie betreffende Belgische vluchtelingen , gevlucht uit Oostende en uiteindelijk geplaatst in Tameside (Stalybridge, Dukinfield, enz...)
zijn er foto's, waar leefden en werkten ze, zijn er lijsten ?

avc

Tandorini @ 18 Mrt 2011 21:54 schreef:
Ik vond dit:

The Belgian refugees, who totalled over a quarter of a million people, were the largest refugee movement in British history.
http://ww1talk.co.uk/showthread.php?1043-World-War-1-Belgian-Refugees

http://www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/people/migration/ww1/index.html?sid=99d6ca97d6a07c55cbf23f0cdbb7bf71

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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 19:35    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Erna @ 17 Mei 2011 18:42 schreef:
Mijn grootouders vluchtten in 1914 via Oostende naar Engeland en kwamen in Birmingham terecht. Je kan daar ter plaatse in de archieven opzoekingen doen maar kan ik ook online informatie bekomen? ( bv. staan hun namen op die lijsten, waar werden ze ondergebracht enz ....)
Dank voor een goede tip.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 19:36    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Percy Toplis @ 22 Sep 2010 18:39 schreef:
“Our Belgian Guests” - Refugees in Brent, 1914-1919
By M.C. Barrès-Baker

This is an extended version of an article published in Local History Magazine (July/August 2007) pp. 14-19.

Between late August 1914 and May 1915 250,000 Belgian refugees came to Britain. It was the largest influx of political refugees in British history. Today it is almost entirely forgotten. Even social histories of Britain in the First World War barely mention it. Yet in the early part of the war helping Belgian refugees was a significant part of local people‟s contribution to the war effort. This is the story of the Belgian refugees who came to what is now Brent, and of the people who helped them. Apart from general information taken from the Internet and a couple of obscure academic works, all of the sources for this story were found in Brent Archive. Several of the illustrations come from the Museum and Archive collection as well.

In 1905 Count Alfred von Schlieffen decided that the way to attack France was to outflank her armies by invading through Belgium. In August 1914, faced with the need to knock France out of the war before Russia could fully mobilise, Schlieffen‟s plan was put into practice. The invasion of neutral Belgium gave Britain a useful moral pretext to enter the war, though her alliance with France and her strategic interests would almost certainly have forced her to take part anyway.

The German invasion plan had been calculated assuming an invasion force of German regular soldiers facing minimal Belgian resistance. In reality the German army consisted largely of reservists, who were far slower, and far less competent, than the plan‟s calculations had allowed for. Furthermore the Belgians fought bravely in places. The ill-designed Liège forts, for example, held the Germans up for at least two days in mid-August.

The German troops lived in perpetual fear of imaginary civilian snipers, the francs-tireurs who had supposedly harassed the German armies in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. They assumed any resistance by Belgian or French stragglers to be franc-tireur activity. Sometimes they fired on each other in error and blamed this on francs-tireurs also. Their officers were aware that they were operating to a very tight schedule. A combination of insecurity and urgency led to a spate of atrocities.

On 23rd August 1914 the Germans killed 674 civilians at Dinant, a documented crime comparable to Lidice or Oradour in the Second World War. On 25th August they destroyed 1,500 houses in Louvain, including the university library. In all some 5,500 Belgian civilians were killed by the German army in 1914.
Stories of such atrocities led many Belgians to flee the fighting. From very early on some fled to Britain.

Many civilians followed the Belgian army to Antwerp, where there was an attempt to create a „national redoubt‟. Antwerp fell on 10th October, though the Belgian army escaped down the coast. It took up a position on the Yser river, just inside Belgian territory. Under the command of King Albert I it would hold this ground for the rest of the war. The abandoned civilians created a massive refugee crisis.

Nearly a million civilians fled to neutral Holland. At the same time large numbers crossed over to Britain. Most of the refugees in the Netherlands eventually returned to Belgium, but a significant number were transferred to Britain and France in early 1915.

People in Britain admired “plucky little Belgium” and sympathised with the Belgian people and army. On 23rd September 1914 the Chairman of Kingsbury Urban District Council, José Diaz, “in striking terms referred to the present war with Germany and emphasized the cruel manner in which the German soldiers were conducting the war both in regard to their behaviour toward innocent men, women and children and to the wilful destruction of beautiful buildings.” There was also a strong feeling that Belgium‟s resistance had bought Britain and France time.

In 1911 there had been 4,794 Belgians in England. By early 1915 there were significantly over 100,000, with 4,000+ a week coming from Holland. Two-thirds of these refugees were Flemish speaking. Most came from cities, notably Antwerp and Ostend. Eventually a Belgian village for munitions workers called Elisabethville was created near Gateshead. It was subject to Belgian law, had Belgian police and, apparently, even served Belgian beer. Most refugees, however, were dispersed in small groups throughout Britain and Ireland.
At the start of the war there was a fear that the economy would collapse, causing widespread poverty. As soon as war broke out a National Relief Fund was set up. Local authorities established committees to prevent and relieve distress. There is a reference to such a committee in the Willesden Urban District Council minutes for 10th August 1914. Initially these bodies were not intended to deal with refugees, but only with domestic poverty.

Although Britain was largely unprepared for the Belgians, before the war there had been private plans to provide aid for Protestant refugees from a feared civil war in Ireland. These preparations were now the inspiration for the War Refugees Committee, based at General Buildings, Aldwych, and headed by Herbert Gladstone, 4th son of the Victorian Prime Minster. Another member was Herbert Morgan, who worked for Smith‟s Crisps, first manufactured behind the 'Crown', Cricklewood, in 1912.

The War Refugees Committee needed local committees, and rather than creating new ones it decided to use the local committees for the relief of distress mentioned above. These had little to do, since the economy had not collapsed. To be precise, it used sub-committees of those committees.
The Government, meanwhile, decided that the national side of refugee relief should be the responsibility of the Local Government Board.

Willesden UDC received the Local Government Board‟s instruction to set up Refugee Committees on 9th September. No. 5 District (Roundwood and Stonebridge) Committee of the National Relief Fund immediately set up a sub-committee to deal with refugees, and started looking for accommodation for them.

No. 5 District asked Willesden UDC to set up a central apparatus. However, on 30th September, the Local Government Board‟s instruction was countermanded “as the number of refugees was less than was at one time thought probable”. The fall of Antwerp led to a second reversal. On 12th October Willesden received a telegram from the Board reading “More Belgian refugees arriving. Further offers of hospitality welcomed”. A Willesden Refugee Committee was then set up consisting of initially two, and later four, members from each District Committee.

The committee first met at the Town Hall, Dyne Road, on Tuesday 19th October. George H. Hiscocks, chairman of the UDC, became chairman. His wife became chair of the Special Ladies‟ Committee intended “to supervise and control and generally to deal with all questions of housekeeping, and other kindred matters of a domestic character in connection with the Refugees”. The energetic No. 5 District Committee seems to have operated independently of the main committee.

On 28th October 1914, Chairman Diaz of Kingsbury UDC reported that “he had formed a local committee for the purpose of looking after the interests in our district of Belgian Refugees”. Altogether there were 2,500 such committees throughout Britain.

The national War Refugees Committee should not be confused with the Belgian Relief Fund, which was intended to help victims of the war in Belgium. The first local newspaper references to Belgium are connected with the Belgian Relief Fund. On Thursday 17th September an elaborate Help The Belgians event was held in Harlesden.

In mid-August 1914 Miss Winifred Stephens of 36 Craven Park, Harlesden, a professional singer who had worked on the Continent, appealed for assistance for “destitute Belgian peasants” and wounded soldiers. She received a generous response. She used her home as a depot for clothing to be sent to Belgium. A Belgian flag floated from a top storey window.

By early September Miss Stephens was looking for offers of accommodation for refugees in Willesden. Interestingly, one of the first things she had to point out was that “no young girls are being sent into domestic service”. In late October she is named as a member of the ladies‟ committee of the No. 5 District Committee. It is possible that she is one of the reasons why the No. 5 Committee was so active from very early on.

On Thursday, 17th September, Cricklewood Congregational Church held a crowded meeting in the Aberdeen Hall “to welcome Belgian Refugees to Cricklewood”. It was chaired by the church‟s pastor, Cuthbert McEvoy. So many people came that the meeting had to be transferred to the church.
Among those on the platform were local religious leaders, as well as several refugees. The Reverend Noel Gill of St. Gabriel‟s proposed “That this meeting of the inhabitants of Cricklewood desires to place on record their gratitude and appreciation of the heroic resistance of the brave Belgians to their ruthless invaders”. The motion was seconded by Rabbi Lazarus of Brondesbury Synagogue.

The Congregational Church‟s Lown Hall was fitted out as a hostel for about 20 refugees, provided with beds lent by local people. Initially it held 16 Jews from Antwerp and, after Rabbi Lazarus had transferred them to a hostel in Kilburn, 21 mostly Catholic refugees.

By 29th September 1914 158 Willesden Lane is mentioned in Willesden UDC minutes as having its rates remitted since the house is being used as a refugee hostel. This seems to predate Local Government Board instructions that councils remit rates in such circumstances.

A couple of weeks later eight houses on Harvist Road and one on Oxford Road were provided by the London Electric Railway Company for the use of refugees. No. 7 Harvist Road was run by Mrs. Arthur Brown of Brondesbury Park. By May 1915 it was accommodating “24 of our Belgian friends”, and Mrs. Brown was writing to the papers asking for financial aid from the public. Two more of the houses were handed over to the Willesden Weslyan Church. No. 15 was run by Mr. G.W. Kenyon. Another house was handed over to St. Augustine‟s Church for the use of refugees. Nos. 9, 11 & 13, and the Oxford Road house, were taken over by the Willesden Refugees Committee. The UDC remitted the rates, and electricity was charged at cost (“viz. 1 ½ d. per unit net.”).

On Saturday 17th October 12 Belgians, all related to each other, arrived by motor „bus at 7 Harvist Road from the Alexandra Palace dispersal centre. Another 10 came later. They were provided with contributions from Sunday‟s harvest festival. By March 1915 there were 81 refugees in residence in the Refugees Committee houses, consisting of 23 men, 37 women and 21 children. Local doctors offered their services for free.

Meanwhile the No. 5 District Committee had procured a flat at 52 High Street, Harlesden, which accommodated two women refugees, and 20 Park Road, which could accommodate 14 people. This house was completely furnished by the committee. Later flats were taken at 47 Craven Park Road, 39 and 41 Shelley Road, 61 Carlyle Avenue, 26 Albert Terrace (Milton Avenue), 59 Milton Avenue, and 5 Bruce Road. Several of the flats were occupied by Belgian railwaymen who worked for the L&NWR at Willesden Junction.

By 13th November “Willesden railwaymen and their wives” had got permission to use the old police station at Harlesden to house refugees, who had now been provided with a Belgian priest.

„Beversbrook‟, Brondesbury Park, 17 Cavendish Road and 154 Willesden Lane all had their rates remitted in November. „Beversbrook‟ was run by a lady superintendent called Mrs. Streeten and was supported by the congregation of Christ Church, Brondesbury. It has been demolished. 154 Willesden Lane was a Jewish cultural centre. It may have housed Rabbi Lazarus‟ refugees.
Meanwhile, 27 nuns from a convent in Ypres were put up in the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Crownhill Road. By December there were refugees at the Willesden Lane Welsh Church as well.

In Wembley the War Help Committee consulted with Mr. Haynes - presumably the son of the Alperton builder who had died in 1910. They planned to house approximately a hundred refugees in the Railway Arches at Alperton. Criticism of this idea, including a sarcastic letter to the Harrow Observer suggesting that the sound of the trains would make the refugees feel at home by reminding them of artillery fire, probably succeeded in preventing it being implemented.
By 23rd October a number of refugees were housed in the new diphtheria ward of Alperton Isolation Hospital, though 13 of those the Harrow Observer reported to be there were in fact being looked after by John F. Douglas, Vicar of Alperton, at the Bonnet Box, 10 Stanley Parade, without any help from the Wembley committee. The 13 comprised four familes and included five children.
In November Sheepcote Farm, on the Wembley/Harrow border, became a home for refugees.

In February 1915 the Harrow Observer reported that the Wembley committee had taken “a commodious house in Sudbury” to house some three families, and a smaller one in Alperton to house a further two. These are never named, but we know that by late 1915 Amble Cottage, Sudbury and 33 Clifton Avenue, Wembley were housing refugees.

At its high point the number of refugees for whom the Wembley War Refugees Committee was responsible appears to have been 46 or 47. To these should be added a minimum of 13 (the four families at Stanley Parade), making an absolute minimum of 59 refugees in Wembley.

The total for Willesden, according to Chairman Hiscocks‟ end of year report in March 1915, was “upwards of 360 Refugees”. Many of these were being looked after privately rather than being directly cared for by the Willesden Refugee Committee or the No. 5 District Committee.

In Kingsbury a house called „Elmwood‟ was furnished and a number of refugees maintained there. We do not have figures for Kingsbury.

Owing to a failure of communication between the Red Cross and the Belgian army in the years before 1914, the medical branch of the Belgian military was incapable of coping with large numbers of wounded. So, in addition to the Belgian civilians, 15,000 wounded Belgian soldiers, men like these, were evacuated to Britain after 14th October 1914. 31 of them arrived at the new St. Andrew‟s Hospital, Dollis Hill, on 16th October 1914. Today, only the gates survive.

At least two of the soldiers, Leopold Philips, of the 1st Carabinier Volunteers, aged 23, and Desiré Roymans, aged 26, died in early 1915. They were buried at St. Mary‟s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green. Later other Belgian soldiers were buried alongside them. A Belgian memorial was erected there in 1932.

The committees needed to raise money to provide for the refugees. Reports on donations start appearing in local papers in October 1914. £52/10/- had been paid into the Wembley Belgian Refugee Account by 23rd October. On 29th October Alderman Pinkham, Honorary Treasurer of the Willesden War Refugees Committee, sent a list of financial contributors to the Willesden Chronicle. Similar lists would appear regularly in the months to come. Hiscocks saw fundraising as an opportunity for every man, woman and child to give “a tangible expression of their thankfulness for their own preservation and security, and their sympathy with the unhappy folk in our care”.

Events began to be organised to raise money for the refugees. On 22nd October Harlesden ladies held a „sale of work‟ at 16 Springwell Avenue. The sale was opened by a lady from Brussels, who was presented with a bouquet. The sale raised £25/1/-.

By March 1915 the Willesden Refugees Committee had raised nearly £900 from local people, plus gifts in kind. By the end of 1915 the No. 5 District Committee had raised £449/9/8d.

A pleasant way for middle-class people to raise money for the refugees was through whist drives and concerts. On the same day as the Harlesden ladies‟ sale Stonebridge Conservative Club held “one of the largest whist drives ever organised in this district” at Furness Road Council Schools, Harlesden. During the interval a Mr. Pollard stressed the debt of gratitude that Britain owed Belgium.

On 26th October money was raised at a concert at St. Gabriel‟s Hall, Cricklewood, under the patronage of several distinguished Belgians. Similar concerts and whist drives are reported throughout the period. We should not however assume that the middle-class residents helping the Belgians did so without cost to themselves. According to Councillor Taylor “ladies on the [No. 5 District] committee had literally spent themselves for the Belgians.”

Working-class organisations also raised funds, using similar methods. London General Omnibus Company employees raised money for refugees by organising a fancy dress dance at the Pound Lane Drill Hall. Local railwaymen collected money too.

Money could be raised, and the public informed, by giving talks about Belgium. The Roman Catholics of Willesden Green, aware that the brunt of aid to Catholic Belgians was being provided by other churches, presented a talk by Prior McNabb in late November. Amongst other things McNabb showed pictures of the ruins of Louvain. In October, incidentally, the residents of the German-sounding Hanover Road had asked Willesden UDC if they could rename it Louvain Road. The suggestion was rejected.

Aid for the refugees came from outside Willesden too. In November the No. 5 Committee received a cheque for £100 from the New Zealand High Commissioner. The main Willesden Committee obtained £100 from the same source. More aid from the Dominions arrived in February 1915, this time two consignments of food from Australia. The food was distributed using the UDC‟s van.

Money continued to be raised for civilians in Belgium, sent there via neutral countries. Money and gifts were also collected for the Belgian soldiers on the Yser. In November 1915 knitted socks or cigarettes for Belgian soldiers were being collected by Mrs. Mundy of 82 Melrose Avenue. In July 1916 the girls of Chamberlayne Wood School raised £7 for Belgian Children‟s Day.

The refugees needed social outlets as well as accommodation and food. Those at Lown Hall were given access to “the splendid club rooms” at St. Gabriel‟s Church Hall. On 2nd January 1915 Belgians in Willesden were entertained at Salusbury Road Schools by the Willesden Refugees Committee. Tables were provided for 59 children and 175 adults. A Belgian priest thanked the people of Willesden for their hospitality, and afterwards the children were given toys “from a magnificent Christmas tree”, while the adult Belgians were given a conversazione (concert) in the upper hall of the school. Several Belgians took part as performers.

On 28th January 1915 the Belgians at Lown Hall arranged a concert and reception for their hosts. In the interval they presented the Reverend McEvoy with a bust of himself, as well as with an album signed by all the Lown Hall Belgians. A Miss Kann, understandably ignoring the linguistic and class divisions that had riven pre-war Belgium, gave a speech that started “Six months ago we were a happy nation”. Two wounded Belgian soldiers were among the performers in the concert.

Soon the Belgians were organising regular social activities for themselves. A choir of Belgian refugees performed at a meeting of the Harlesden Men‟s Own Brotherhood at the Willesden Hippodrome on 21st February. In April 1915 a team of Belgian refugees played nearby Hampstead Town FC (now Hendon FC), the gate going to the Belgian Wounded Soldiers Fund.

Eventually the Belgians were holding monthly meetings, inviting a “select few English friends” to listen to musical performances. The Willesden Chronicle for 9th June 1916 reports that at one of these Monsignor Wachter, acting bishop of the exiled Belgians, spoke at Linacre Hall.

Many of the Belgian refugees spoke no English, so language classes were arranged for them. On 15th January 1915 Willesden UDC‟s Committee for Higher Education arranged for a Mr. O‟Toole to take classes “at a salary of 8/- per evening, subject to twelve students undertaking to continue”.

Many Belgian families came to Britain accompanied by school age children. Their education had to continue despite the war. As early as 29th September 1914 a 14-year old Belgian boy was asking for reduced fees at Kilburn Grammar School. Willesden‟s Committee for Higher Education noted that the headmaster would interview him. By May 1915 there were eight Belgian boys at KGS. Another Belgian boy joined the school in autumn 1916, at the reduced fee of one guinea a year. His name, Libovitz, suggests that this may not have been the first time that his family were refugees. He came from Brussels and was a keen boy scout. Belgian children “learned English with surprising rapidity”, according to the Belgian Minister in London.

Refugees with younger children were worried that “their little ones were fast forgetting both Flemish and French and adopting English”. Neither the British nor the Belgian governments were in favour of this, as both wanted the refugees to return to Belgium after the war. In February 1916 Willesden UDC therefore agreed to open a Belgian school, following a request by Father Dominic Dams for elementary classes for Belgian refugee children in the area. The Belgian Government agreed to part fund the school with an annual grant of 1,366 francs, while the rest of the money was contributed by Willesden UDC and the Board of Education.

Accomodation was found in the Sunday School building attached to the recently built Brondesbury Park Congregational Church, Wrentham Avenue, Kensal Rise. Two Belgian teachers were found, M. Pieters for the boys and Mlle. Rosalie Jansen for the girls. Another female teacher, Miss Kathleen Riley, is mentioned alongside Mlle. Jansen in December 1917. In May 1917 Mlle. Jansen was presented with a diploma in gratitude for her efforts “in the making and collection of comforts” for the Belgian soldiers on the Yser.

The school was named after King Albert. It opened on 3rd April 1916 and had 60 places. Lessons were conducted in English, French and Flemish. Monsignor Wachter praised Willesden Council for setting up the school, in which the children‟s “nationality was realised, and for a few hours each day they were back home.”

The King Albert School‟s first annual open day took place on 6th July 1916. The prize-giving at this event gives us a number of the children‟s names. We are also fortunate that Mr. Arthur Dunn took a series of 30 photographs of the children. These photographs are now in an album in Brent Archive. They show children outside the school premises, in class, in Queen‟ s Park and at a Confirmation service.

In December 1917 a concert was held at the school for the benefit of Belgian soldiers at the front. On show at this concert was “a splendid album” of photographs intended as a present for King Albert from Willesden Education Committee.

By mid-1915 many of the Belgian refugees were in employment. At 10 Stanley Parade, Alperton, the men were able to contribute £1 a week to their hosts. In Wembley, by October 1915, each family was contributing about a third of the man‟s earnings.

Some Belgian men entered the Belgian Army, which was conscripting soldiers from early 1916. One such soldier, M. de Clerck, formerly of the Lown Hall Hostel, stayed in touch with Cricklewood Congregational Church. In April 1918 de Clerck was reported as having been through “a very rough time” at the front.
We can catch glimpses of the life of the Belgians from the local papers. The Harrow Observer even published a couple of notices in foreign languages. One was a long message in Flemish, the other this trilingual notice pointing out that Wednesday 21st July 1915 was the anniversary of Belgian independence, and encouraging refugees to decorate their homes with Belgian flags. Presumably they did

In August 1915 a refugee wedding at Harlesden Roman Catholic Church “attracted very considerable interest”. Eugene Theunis, of the Brussels Stock Exchange, had come to Britain as a wounded soldier. Unfit for further service, he gained employment with L&NWR. His fiancée, Mlle de Hamme, was somehow got out of Belgium by the ladies of the No. 5 Committee.

The newly married couple lived in one of the homes in Harlesden, “and later, when they have become more accustomed to English life and English ways, they may have a home of their own”.

As this quotation shows, though well-meaning, the British tended to be somewhat patronising about “little Belgians”. This was not the only problem the refugees faced.

A number of the Belgians who came to Britain died in their first winter, mainly the old, young children and women in childbirth. Madame Libeert, one of the refugees at Cricklewood, died at Willesden Cottage Hospital on Sunday 28th December 1914. She had relatives among the other Belgians at Lown Hall. Another death occurred in December 1917, when the Willesden Chronicle reported the suicide of a Belgian refugee.

On Thursday 30th September 1915 Mrs. Elodie Durrand of 253 Cricklewood Broadway was assaulted by George McGarrick, a drunken tradesman who was attempting to recover unpaid goods from her landlord, Noel Drury. Drury was also assaulted, and two other Belgian women were made fun of.

This ridicule is the only recorded example of xenophobic behaviour against Belgians in our area, but others were not so lucky. There was a spy craze in the early stages of the war. Public speakers at Harrow warned of “the alien peril”, and fear of espionage was so widespread that a drunk even accused a man with a Devon accent of being a spy. Britain interned some 32,000 men as „enemy aliens‟ under the 1914 Aliens Act, which was far more draconian than its 1905 predecessor.

In May 1915, after Germany‟s use of poison gas at 2nd Ypres and the torpedoing of the Lusitania, there was widespread anti-German disorder. Foreign-born shopkeepers had to stick their passports in their windows to prove they were not German. Mr. Hyman Astrinsky, a furniture dealer at 86 Willesden Lane, accompanied his with a note reading “I am one of the Allies. Here is my Russian passport”. No Belgians appear to have been victimised in this incident, but it cannot have made them feel secure.

Despite these problems the people of Willesden behaved better than those of Fulham, where in May 1916 there were anti-Belgian riots, caused by a housing shortage and the belief that Belgian refugees were receiving higher benefits than families of British servicemen.

As time went by the refugees became less newsworthy. There are at least 28 stories referring to Belgian refugees and soldiers in the Willesden Chronicle from August 1914 to August 1915, but only 21 similar stories in the next three and a quarter years. The Harrow Observer published no stories about Belgian refugees in Wembley after October 1915.

Cuthbert McEvoy was aware of growing complacency. In September 1916 he wrote “How far off seems that day when, amidst the great excitement and uncertainties of the opening days of the war the first refugees came over to our shores! Let us remember them and be faithful to our trust now that the excitement and the novelty has worn off”.

As the refugees found employment, more and more of them moved into private accommodation. This was encouraged by Willesden UDC, “in order that they may contribute their proportion of the cost of local administration by paying rates”.

In October 1916 it was stated that “the whole of the Belgians were now self-supporting, and funds had long since ceased coming in from the public on this account”.

The scattering of the refugees as they found jobs and homes led the Willesden Belgians to form a society called The United Belgians in Willesden on 26th November 1916. Father Verstreken, a Flemish priest, played a significant part in its creation. It had its own banner, bearing a black lion on a golden field, and held two meetings weekly, one on Thursdays for men and one on Sundays for all Belgians.

Other things may have replaced the Belgians in the newspapers, but they were not forgotten at Christmas. In December 1915 the No. 5 District refugees were fed on black swans, courtesy of the New Zealand government. In 1916 Mrs. Thompson of Randolph Gardens organised a Christmas party for 85 Belgian children at the Linacre Hall, Willesden. “What happy memories the children will take with them of this country when they finally return to Belgium”, wrote the Willesden Chronicle.

In January 1917 the Lown Hall Hostel closed, “as almost without exception the refugees have obtained good situations.” A closing ceremony was held on 20th January. Mrs. Scott, the matron, was thanked for her efforts over the past two and a quarter years and presented with 12 guineas and two volumes of a book called Belgium the Glorious. At the same time the „Beversbrook‟ hostel in Brondesbury Park also closed. Money remaining after its closure was sent to help the needy in Belgium.

The Harvist Road houses lasted longer than Lown Hall or „Beversbrook‟. The Willesden Chronicle announced their closure on 4th October 1918.
With the end of the war the majority of the refugees returned to Belgium, though some remained. There were 9,892 Belgians in Britain in 1921, nearly twice the figure in 1911. Most people only know of Belgian refugees because of a fictitious Belgian who stayed in the UK.

The Belgian boys at KGS went home. Libovitz seems to have been particularly missed. In 1919 the school magazine reported "Our Belgian scout, Libovitz, has, we hear, been exalted to be Patrol-Leader on the Staff at Brussels, and official interpreter. We heartily congratulate him. We wish we had many scouts as keen as he was." The King Albert School closed at the end of March 1919.
The last reference to refugees in council minutes is in Willesden UDC minutes for 28th January 1919. “We report that some of the equipment lent to the Belgian refugees has now been returned”.

These last two slides show the memorial Belgium offered to Britain in gratitude for its role in the war. It‟s on the Embankment, across the road from „Cleopatra‟s needle‟. The monument probably refers to military help rather than to aid to refugees, but I would imagine that any person who had helped refugees felt that this memorial was in part a thank-you to them personally.

http://www.brent.gov.uk/museumarchive.nsf/Files/LBBA-71/$FILE/Our%20Belgian%20Guests%20-%20Refugees%20in%20Brent%201914-1919.pdf

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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 19:37    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Percy Toplis @ 22 Sep 2010 18:41 schreef:
Belgian Refugees during the First World War – an introductory bibliography

Bibliografie uit 2007

http://www.brent.gov.uk/museumarchive.nsf/Files/LBBA-59/$FILE/Belgian_refugees_bibliography_2009.pdf

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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 19:39    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Yvonne @ 24 Jun 2011 20:35 schreef:
Erna @ 17 Mei 2011 18:42 schreef:
Mijn grootouders vluchtten in 1914 via Oostende naar Engeland en kwamen in Birmingham terecht. Je kan daar ter plaatse in de archieven opzoekingen doen maar kan ik ook online informatie bekomen? ( bv. staan hun namen op die lijsten, waar werden ze ondergebracht enz ....)
Dank voor een goede tip.


Misschien staan hier aanknopingspunten tussen?
Military Hospitals in the Birmingham Area during the Great War
http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?p=221443#221443
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 19:40    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Yvonne @ 01 Mrt 2008 0:16 schreef:
Town took starving refugees to its heart Packed boat was cut free as German cavalry loomed


AUGUST 1914 saw an armada of fishing boats and steamers fleeing the Channel ports of Belgium in advance of the invading German army.

When the Kaiser's troops crossed the border, King Albert's army was soon overrun but stalled them long enough so that many thousands of civilians and troopers were able to escape from Zeebrugge and Antwerp on a motley flotilla of ships and boats.

Many more arrived in the following days. By August 20, it was reckoned that 64,000 Belgians had come through Folkestone. Trains waited at the dockside and carried many away to be dispersed around the county, while more than 15,000 stayed in the town itself.

If that number turned up to stay today it would be hard enough, but Folkestone was much smaller then, so the impact can only be imagined. However, while there would no doubt have been some tension, they were our allies and we were at war. So the town took heart and did what Britain always does in a crisis: it formed a committee.

The Folkestone War Refugee Committee was set up to assist the refugees and help them find food and shelter. The church played a large part in this, with the main leaders of the various denominations involved, and so earning a place in the painting The Landing of the Belgian Refugees, which hangs in Folkestone Library.

Local historian Eamonn Rooney came across some memorabilia from the time, including an armband with the Belgian and French flags, and a badge to highlight that they were there to help.

Mr Rooney said: "There were plenty of charity appeals to help the Belgians, so while there was probably Government help, there can't have been that much.

"They were given the old Harvey Grammar in Foord Road to accommodate them.

"People rallied round right across the whole town. It was solidarity - we were their allies and those people had to flee their country. There was much more of that feeling in those days than now."

Newspaper

In fact, such were the huge numbers of refugees that by September the Franco-Belge de Folkestone newspaper was produced, helping with advice on where to find food and shelter, and carrying the names of new arrivals.

Historian Alan Taylor has many photographs in his collection showing the refugees' arrival, many of whom had endured crossing the Channel in open fishing boats and barges. They were starving and cold after their crossing, despite it being the summer, and soup kitchens were opened to feed them on arrival.

As with many pictures from the era, they bear the imprint of Halksworth Wheeler.

Mr Taylor said: "More than 15,000 of them stayed in Folkestone so as you can imagine that stretched local amenities. The new arrivals' details were taken at the harbour but some of them slipped through the net as they came over on tugs and fishing boats into the inner harbour.

"When the Belgian refugees arrived many of them absolutely refused to leave the boats and some of them only had the clothes they stood up in. Local people took them in and let them have a wash or gave them clothes and food.

"By September 1914 there were 20,000 Belgian soldiers in training at Shorncliffe and in October 2,000 more arrived from Ostende. Hotels were commandeered and local cars were brought down to the harbour as they didn't have enough ambulances for the wounded.

"Bobby's (the department store), which was then in Rendezvous Street, had bought a group of boarding houses where Debenhams is today to demolish and build a new shop. When the war came the building work was put on hold and they gave the houses over to the Belgians for the period. It eventually moved in 1931."

The exodus is still remembered in Belgium, although there can be very few, if any, survivors so long after the event. Mr Taylor was interviewed last year by a Belgian documentary film crew researching the subject for a family history programme. One wing of a family had ended up in Glasgow and had stayed after the war.

Mr Taylor added: "When it was over most of them went back, although some of them stayed on. Having said that, I don't know of any who stayed on in Folkestone."

• Do you have family members who are related to Belgian refugees? Write to us as Express Memories, 93-95 Sandgate Road, Folkestone CT20 2BQ or email cdenham@thekmgroup.co.uk

ONE former Folkestone family have good reason to remember the arrival of the Belgian refugees, due to a remarkable twist of fate which came to light decades after the event.

Dr Joe Rumble, now retired and living at Barham, near Canterbury, lived in Folkestone and was a dentist in Dover before qualifying as an oral surgeon.

His mother, Martha Saelens, was nursemaid to the Mayor of Bruge's family, and escaped on what was probably the last boat out of Ostende in 1914.

It was not until Dr Rumble's sister Frances married George Baynton in the 1960s that the coincidence came to light - as a 16-year-old merchant seaman, George was on the same boat that steamed out of the harbour as the German cavalry clattered across the cobbles.

It was a mailboat, the Stad Antwerpen, and George had vivid recollections of that day, written down long before his death in 1998.

"The boat was moored by a single rope, and there was a bit of a panic because we knew that the Germans were entering the town.

"She was packed with people, some of them pressed up against the rails.

"Suddenly we saw a line of German cavalry pouring over the canal bridge. We knew from their black mounts it was the feared Uhlan Horse and we also knew there was not a second to lose.

"Captain Byass shouted through the megaphone 'let go aft,' but the quartermaster yelled back that he couldn't, because the eye was over the bollard and everyone on the quayside had fled."

Young George then heard his first profanity as the captain bellowed: "Just cut the flippin' thing" or words to that effect.

It took two swipes from an axe (the marks of which remained on the deck for years) to sever the rope and the boat slewed away from the quayside, triple turbine at full speed.

Martha died tragically young in 1939, from a haemorrhage that today could have been easily treated.

Born in Zonnebeke, near Ypres, she had been orphaned at the age of eight and was brought up in a convent, before finding work with the Mayor of Bruges, who was, with his children, almost certainly on that same boat which arrived in Folkestone to a patriotic and enthusiastic welcome.

She met and married Dr Rumble's father Ernest, a bank manager and artist, in Folkestone in 1918.

Folkestone edition, Kentish Express, 28 February 2008
http://www.kentonline.co.uk/aroundkent/news.asp?village=16014&article_id=424420

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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 19:43    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote






En meer op:http://www.northopwm.com/home_front_northop.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 19:44    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Mr J R Richardson the Headmaster at Northop School kept a detailed log book which provides a colourful picture of life in the village. It contains details about Christmas concerts and school trips and other special days. It traces attendance at school and the associated illnesses that visited the village - diptheria, scarlet fever, measles and many more. The school had a steady stream of visitors all of whom were mentioned in the log book. Just occasionally he had to punish pupils -usually for fighting. There is much to choose from but for the purposes of the start of this page I have just selected those entries that relate to the war, ( I intend to include some of the other details later). In Northop during the war, was a community of Belgian refugees who were not just absorbed into Northop village but helped and cared for. I am assuming that some of the foreign sounding names in the log book are Belgian.

http://www.northopwm.com/home_front_northop.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Jun 2011 21:39    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

http://www.westhoekverbeeldt.be/index.php?option=com_memorixbeeld&view=record&Itemid=2&id=heu:col8:dat2333&tstart=

Elverdinge: vluchtelingen Eerste Wereldoorlog
informatiebron: mondelinge bron
trefwoord: Eerste Wereldoorlog

object: officieel document
formaat: 21,2 cm x 27,4 cm
kleur: zwart-wit

bewaarplaats: privécollectie
fotonummer: HEU008502311
beschrijving: Dit is de voorzijde van een document die dienst deed als identiteitsbewijs van Anna Van de Ven, echtgenote van Achiel Lowagie, die samen met haar drie kinderen gevlucht was naar Engeland. Ze was van Elverdinge naar Poperinge gevlucht en van daar naar de Franse kust. Haar echtgenoot deed dienst in het Belgisch Leger bij het 2de Linie Regiment. Het is een doorlaat bewijs om van Boulogne-sur-Mer naar Folkestone te varen over het kanaal.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 06 Sep 2012 23:34    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote


Belgian refugee children - photograph

Quote:
Description:

Belgian refugee children board a London General Omnibus Company B.-type bus in Aldwych to go to St Nicholas' day celebrations. The photo was taken during the First World War. Many of the 250,000 Belgian refugees that came to Britain during the war were housed in hostels and private houses in London. There was much sympathy for the refugees and what they had experienced under German occupation. St Nicholas' day is celebrated on 6 December in many countries in Europe. Children are often given their presents then rather than on 25 December. The two boy scouts in the picture were probably on hand to help make the day run smoothly.
Production Date:
1914-1918
ID no:
LTM_1998/87137
Copyright:
© Transport for London


http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk/ltm-1998-87137
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BerichtGeplaatst: 05 Jan 2013 19:58    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Vluchtelingen in Glasgow en omgeving
Zoek informatie over vluchtelingen uit Erpe (Erpe-Mere) die allen in Glasgow of omgeving terecht kwamen tot einde wereldoorlog.
De bekendste is kunstenaar beeldhouwer Jozef De Somer.
Alvast dank; deswaefwalter@gmail.com

Erpe-Mere WOI 1914 Vluchtelingen Glasgow

264 Leon De Saedeleer farmer 48j. Erpe Balmoralhotel Sauchiehallstreet
222 Glasgow 16 oct / Cadderstreet 61 Pollokshields

265 Elza De Raedt 45j id

285 Edward Coomand carpenter 38j Erpe Glasgow Little Sisters of the Poor
180 Gargadhill 16 oct

299 Edward De Troch farmer or labourer 35j Erpe Glasgow Poplar Hotel 133
Holmstreet 16 oct

321 Edmund Van der Biest tradesman 55j M Erpe Rutland House 45 Govan
Road Glasgow 24 oct. Great Easten Hotel 100 Duke
Street Glasgow

322 Louis Van der Biest electricien 25j S Erpe Rutland House 45 Govan Road
Glasgow 18 oct Great Easten Hotel 100 Duke Street
Glasgow

323 Jozef Baeyens sacristan 30j S Erpe Rutland House 45 Govan Road
Glasgow 24 oct. Great Easten Hotel 100 Duke Street
Glasgow

324 Jozef De Somer sculptor 35j S Erpe Rutland House 45 Govan Road
Glasgow 24 oct Great Easten Hotel 100 Duke Street
Glasgow

325 Victor De Somer carpenter 41 Erpe Rutland House 45 Govan Road
Glasgow 19 oct Great Easten Hotel 100 Duke Street
Glasgow

326 Isidoor Renneboog baker 44 M Erpe Rutland House 45 Govan Road
Glasgow 24 oct Great Easten Hotel 100 Duke Street
Glasgow

? Octavie Vinck (latere vrouw van Jozef De Somer) Edegem
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Jan 2013 14:59    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Kan hier iemand bij helpen?
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