Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Where do we go from here? One day symposium on Belgian refugees KU Leuven – Brussels Campus. 13 September 2018

Conference programme

8.45 – 9.00

9.00 – 9.05

9.05 – 9.25
Opening paper
·         Christophe Declercq, Janet Bradshaw

9.25 – 10.20
Community engagement and legacy
·         Anne Logan and Alison MacKenzie - Further Discoveries of the Belgian Community in Tunbridge Wells, Kent
·         Robert Lee - Forgotten Refugees of the First World War: Birkenhead’s Belgian community and their legacy

10.20 – 10.40
coffee break – posters are available

10.40 – 11.30
Local responses
·         Ciaran Stoker - Belgian Refugees in Devon during the First World War (provisional title)
·         Jolien De Vuyst - “Most of the time he was in England, he seemed to have a very, very good time”. A family history of two Belgian refugees in Birmingham (1914-1919)

11.30 – 12.45
Transnational and cross-cultural stories
·         Astrid de Beer - "Gasten en verse vis…"  Belgian refugees in Tilburg, 1914-1918
·         Julian Walker - Belgian refugees in British wartime culture
·         Jan Dewilde - Composers in exile: Music for the king, the people, and the fatherland

12.45 – 1.30
Lunch break – poster sessions

1.30 – 2.50
Panel: Belgian refugees in the Celtic ‘fringe’ of Scotland and Wales
·         Jacqueline Jenkinson - The effects of War trauma on Belgian refugees in Scotland
·         Kieran Taylor - The Catholic Church and Scotland’s Belgian Refugees
·         Lorna Hughes - Uncovering Belgian refugees in Wales (provisional title)

2.50 – 3.20
Small narratives, large impact: mental health and trauma
·         Rob Ellis, Rebecca Gill - Belgian refugees in British asylums: the case of Colney Hatch

3.20 – 3.30
coffee break – posters are available

3.30 – 4.50
Social history without borders?
·         Gilles De Beuckelaer - Profiles of Belgian refugees in Tilburg during WWI
·         Toni Vitti - Croeso cynnes Cymreig – A warm Welsh welcome
·         Helen Baker - Belgians in the Laboratory of Exile

4.50 – 5.20
Project presentation Tracing the Belgian Refugees
·         Alison Fell, Philippa Read, Christophe Declercq

5.20 – 6.30
Drinks and further networking

The event is kindly supported by the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, KU Leuven, Brussels Campus, as well as CERES, the Centre for Reception Studies (KUL).

Peter Cahalan has kindly accepted to act as honorary chairman of the event. The symposium expresses its sincere gratitude to Pat Heron and Marleen Van Ouytsel, who sadly did not live to enjoy the fruits of their efforts in relation to Belgian refugees research and commemorations. 

The conference fee is 20 euros, to be paid upon arrival. You need to register through https://www.eventbrite.com/e/where-do-we-go-from-here-one-day-symposium-on-belgian-refugees-tickets-49336808723

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Preceding Cavell: refugee becomes secret agent

Jozef Baekelmans was born in 1881, he was the son of the architect Fran├žois Baeckelmans and cousing to Louis Baeckelmans, also an architect. Jozef was a pupil of Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Antwerpen, the Jesuit school along one of the central boulevards.

A promising young architect himself, he fled to Britain end of 1914. There he came into contact with a group of patriotic Belgians who sought to exchange information between occupied Belgium and Belgian authorities in exile.

He travelled to Belgium on two occasions, but during his last visit his cover was blown - by a friend - to the German occupying forces. Together with another man from Antwerp, Alexander Franck, who had joined Jozef in the resistance movement, Jozef Baeckelmans was tried and executed in Schaerbeek, Brussels, on 23 September 1915. They were the first ones to be shot at the Tir National.

Nearly three weeks later Edith Cavell was tried and shot in a very similar fashion and at the same site.

More information about former pupils of the Antwerp Jesuit school can be found via hetarchief.be.

Two Belgians buried at Sale, Cheshire

The story below and accompanying pictures came to us via the kind attention of Michael Riley, parish archivist at St Paul's Parish Church, Sale, Cheshire M33 7YA.

Sale Old Hall, now demolished, was a hospital for Belgian casualties. Belgian refugees were also treated there.

 Sale Old Hall

Two Belgian men died and were buried in the parish at Sale, Brooklands Cemetery.
A memorial was erected by members of the Sale Belgian Refugee Committee.
Carl Rylent (1865 - 1915) was originally from Antwerp and was locally known as Charles.

Theophile Van Hende (1882 - 1916) was from Antwerp as well.

Although the OCR is at times rather robust, no reference to either man was retrieved via the online database of Belgian wartime newspapers at hetarchief.be (no Rylent, no Theophile in Cheshire for the period Sep-Oct-Nov 1916). Also, today's yellow pages in Belgium do not hold any single Rylent either.

The above pictures may be of interest to descendants or at least descendants of family members of either.

(Unrelated but intriguing. The 1878 Cheshire Post Office Directory mentions the following: "The history of Cheshire in the Iberian, Celtic and Belgian periods is almost a blank.")

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Second call for participation (papers, panels, posters): "Where do we go from here?" One day symposium on Belgian refugees. 13 September 2018, Brussels.

Where do we go from here?
One-day symposium on Belgian refugees

KU Leuven, Brussels Campus, 13 September 2018
Second Call for Papers / Panels / Posters

Throughout the Centenary years the transnational history of Belgian refugees and the First World War has been receiving increasing attention, especially in the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom. Many (inter)national, regional and local history projects emerged, each with its own valuable contribution to the overall history of First World War displacement and often in an atmosphere of sharing information. Many academic research projects appeared too, resulting in numerous publications referring to Belgians in exile. Only few publications covered the specific history in detail, proving that there is still ample ground to cover the history of the Belgian refugees.

The aim of this one-day symposium is therefore to take stock of current research and position the displacement and temporary settlement of Belgian refugees during the First World War within a double framework. Firstly, within the context of the Centenary period and its local projects or academic output papers are invited that expand existing knowledge and/or that provide context and analysis to ongoing research. Secondly, the symposium aims to open up new pathways into the histories of the respective Belgian refugee communities, more in particular within a comparative context or with a focus on the immediate aftermath of the war and/or legacy.

Papers are welcomed that provide a perspective on existing research, elaborate on ongoing projects or uncover further primary sources on Belgian refugees. Papers can be holistic as well as interdisciplinary, taking from research such as memory studies, reception studies, trauma studies and linguistic research, but not exclusively. Although the symposium aims to reflect on past (hi)stories, contributions that relate historical research Belgian refugees to current-day refugee situations are equally encouraged to submit. 

The event will very likely focus mainly on Belgian refugees in exile in the UK and on those in the Netherlands.

Panels are equally invited, they ideally focus on several papers that share specific characteristics (this can be spatial, temporal but also along specific features of a Belgian exile community, such as class).

As the symposium aims to provide a platform where interested parties can exchange information on their projects and interests with relevant other interested parties, research projects – academic as well as local ones – are invited to present a poster during the break sessions. Panels for posters are 120cm wide and 160cm high.

The symposium will provide ample networking opportunities beyond the usual coffee breaks.
The language of the symposium is English.

Papers are invited
·       for 25 minute presentations, send a 300 word abstract and brief bio;
·       for a one hour panel, send a 300 word proposal and a 100-word bio per participant;
·       for a poster, send a summary of your project or what you would like to present.

The deadline for abstracts, panel proposals and posters has been extended to Thursday 14 June, and should be sent to christophe.declercq@kuleuven.be.
Confirmation of acceptance Monday 18 June.

Organising committee: 
Christophe Declercq (KU Leuven / UCL @belgianrefugees @chrisdec71), 
Julian Walker (UCL / British Library @languagesFWW @JWalkerwords); 
Philippa Read (University of Leeds @FWWBRefugees).

Both the Letteren department of KU Leuven, Brussels Campus, and the Centre for Reception Studies have kindly agreed to supporting the event.

Peter Cahalan has kindly accepted to act as honorary chairman of the event. The symposium expresses its sincere gratitude to Pat Heron and Marleen Van Ouytsel, who both did not live to enjoy the fruits of their efforts in relation to Belgian refugees research and commemorations.