On Saturday, April 1 2017 a memorial was inaugurated for the 6000 Belgian refugees during World War I in East Twickenham (the Belgian village on the Thames) stayed in London. Martine Vermandere took part in this ceremony as part of our international project Getting Started on the channel "

The budget for the memorial through crowdfunding was put together by a local historical circle around the commemoration of World War I, East Twickenham Centennial Group.

After the start of World War I, on August 4 1914, fled a fifth of the Belgian population. 1915 final had England circa 250.000 refugees, of whom 95% Belgians. A year before the French industrialist Charles Pelabon was, who owned a factory in Ruisbroek before the war, already started construction of a munitions factory on the banks of the Thames in East Twickenham. The Pelabonfabriek delivered to the Belgian Army. She suggested a small 2000 Belgians employed and formed the heart of a community of 6000 Belgians west of London. Among the 2000 employed Belgians Pelabonfabriek were women 700 or 1 to 3.

The monument was designed by the Bruges stonemason Christopher Boudensand carries a haunting inscription in English, Dutch and French, written by a girl Orleans Junior School, where during World War I also Belgian school children walked.

"The dream of memories glides across the water like a boat on the river."

You can find the memorial in the Warren Gardens, Clevedon Road, TW1 2HZ.

Photoshoot Bart Dewaele