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From Antwerp to Britain and Back Again

The Language of the Belgian Refugee in Britain during the First World War

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Languages at War book series (PASLW)

Abstract

During the First World War more than 250,000 Belgians stayed in Britain, although not all at the same time. With arguably 175,000 Belgians in Britain at any one time during the war and virtually all of them gone again before the summer of 1919, the Belgians in wartime Britain constituted the biggest single ethnic influx of refugees into Britain to date. And yet the history of the Belgian refugees has remained a little-known one. A poll conducted by YouGov in June 2014 showed that only one person in over 2000 people questioned was able to pinpoint the Belgians from a list of seven options as to which were the largest numbers of refugees in Britain. One in five believed the correct answer concerned Ugandan Asians fleeing persecution from Idi Amin, who actually made up an estimated 50,000 or a fifth of the number of Belgians; 17 per cent believed it to be the Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and Austria (YouGov online 2014).

Keywords

  • National Anthem
  • British Authority
  • Jewish Refugee
  • British Press
  • Belgian Child

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© 2016 Christophe Declercq

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Declercq, C. (2016). From Antwerp to Britain and Back Again. In: Declercq, C., Walker, J. (eds) Languages and the First World War: Representation and Memory. Palgrave Studies in Languages at War. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137550361_7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137550361_7

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-71547-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-55036-1

  • eBook Packages: Social SciencesSocial Sciences (R0)