Belgian refugees on the harbour at Ostend waiting for a boat to take them to England.

Image: Print Collector/Getty Images

At the outbreak of World War I in the summer of 1914, Germany invaded Belgium on its way to France, sending hundreds of thousands of Belgian refugees fleeing for their lives.

A quarter of a million Belgians managed to make it across the English Channel to Britain — the largest influx of refugees in the country’s history

There, they were greeted warmly by the government and the public and received housing in specially-built communities and the homes of generous Britons. Refugees were put to work aiding the war effort, some of them in all-Belgian factories, such as London’s Belgian Munition Works, which employed 2000 displaced individuals. Read more…

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When Britain happily accepted 250,000 desperate refugees