Sunday, 1 March 2015

Belgian Refugees at Luton

Ostend Railway Station [Wikimedia]

Monday 1st March 1915: The Mayor of Luton’s Belgian Refugee Committee continues to do good work both on its own account and in supervising schemes run by various religious organisations in aid of refugee families. A number of houses have recently been furnished for the wives and children of some Belgians who have managed to find work locally. Currently nearly 120 refugees, from around 48 families, are being housed and maintained in Luton. The cost per head is estimated to be seven shillings per week (less for larger families). One family has become self-supporting, with the father and other family members all in good employment. A diamond cutter has been found work at the Chocolate Works, and a nurse living at 75 Ashburnham Road is nursing another refugee who is suffering from pneumonia.

In news of individual refugees, Monsieur Wets, formerly the stationmaster of Ostend, has just left Dallow Road where he was staying with his wife and child. The bombardment of Ostend had left him deaf. Another Belgian in Luton tells us that his cousin was blown in two by a bomb as he was running away. More happily one of the Belgian ladies has had a happy reunion with her soldier son. He had no idea where she was, and a postcard written by him from a hospital in Scotland had followed her all over Belgium before finally reaching Luton. The son was eventually traced to a London nursing home where his mother was able to visit him.

The Committee deplores the tendency of some places of worship to send contributions to the central fund in London, thereby limiting the amount of work that can be carried out locally.

Source: Luton News, 4th March 1915

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