From fisherman to carpenter and back

The Falleyn family fled to England, travelling in a fishing boat.

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Fallen from its nest

Many boys of the Ostend IBIS fishing school, the IBIS personnel and the IBIS director, fled to England too. They left on 13 October 1914 and stayed in the UK until the end of the war.

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When love means patience

There was a long way to go before Leon could marry Maria. 

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Separated by the war

In 1916, Karel Bastiaens left for England to work at the National Projectile Factory in Birtley. His family was to join him later. However, their ship was intercepted by the German Kriegsmarine and escorted to Zeebrugge.

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Johnnie Walker's house

Maria Louisa De Schepper (born in 1881) fled from Niel to Folkestone via Ostend. She took her five children with her, including a few months-old baby and a nursemaid. They ended up in Scotland, in a house that was owned by the Johnnie Walker Distillery.

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Orphans reunited

Johanna Maria Blockx (born on 25 October 1891 and died in 1972) and Jean-Jacques Lavèn (born on 23 January 1893 and died in 1942) both grew up in an Antwerp orphanage. The couple had just got engaged, when the country mobilized for war and Jean Jacques was sent to the front.

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Anglo-Belgian love story

Janet Green’s great aunt Lilian Whitwam (1897) married a former Belgian soldier Albert Oyen (1898) in 1919. They had met in Milnsbridge, Huddersfield (West Yorkshire).

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Cast out

Maria Theresa Josephine ‘Fien’ Verscuren (born in Heist-op-den-Berg in 1888) was a domestic servant. She married Franciscus Ceulemans, a lock-keeper, in Antwerp in 1910. She gave birth to a son Frans Jozef Antoon Ceulemans in 1911.

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Stayed behind

When the farm of the Stevens-Bruyninckx family in Aarschot was destroyed by fire at the beginning of the war, they fled to Antwerp. As panic swept the city at that time, four of their children got lost in the ensuing chaos.

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Was Jacques Joseph Hamoir Agatha Christie’s inspiration for Hercules Poirot?

The grandmother of Michael Clapp, Mrs. Alice Graham Clapp, was involved in the reception of Belgian refugees in Exeter. One of these refugees intrigued her grandson in particular: Jacques Joseph Hamoir.

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Several Belgian links in the family

When two Belgian families arrived at Nelson, with a sister-in-law whose husband was in hospital in Folkestone, they were accorded a very hearty reception by a crowd who had heard of their coming. 

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Alison – Angele Delanghe

My granduncle Emilius Delanghe was a fisherman from Antwerp, and my mother tells me that he saved many women and children by taking them on his boat during the First World War.

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