Friday, 6 September 2013

Belgian refugees and West Kent

A nice online piece on Belgian refugees in Kent during the First World War, with the invaluable Women's Library as its source.

"Over a million Belgians fled from the threat of the German armies during the early days of the war, amounting to almost one-sixth of the country’s population. Initially, most were received in Holland, France and Britain. In September 1914 Herbert Samuel, the President of the Local Government Board, announced to the House of Commons that the British Government had offered hospitality to the victims of the war and that arrangements were in place for their transport and accommodation. The War Refugees Committee, a voluntary body, arranged for them to be met at ports and stations, found temporary hostels for them and tried also to secure work for them. The arrival in Britain of some 250,000 Belgian refugees constitutes the largest refugee movement in British history."
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