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Membership of the Bexhill Belgian Refugee Committee
The Committee was established at the beginning of September 1914 with the following members:
Alderman J A Paton* JP (Chairman) [Hastings Road]
Mr William Reed-Lewis* (Honorary Secretary) [Eversley Road]
Mr C C Cotterill* (Honorary Treasurer) [Collington Avenue]
Miss Beeton [Sutherland Avenue]
Mrs Fisher* [Silvester Road]
Mrs Fitch-Jones [De La Warr Road]
Mr Albert Goodwin [Little Common]
Mrs Griffiths [Hastings Road]
Mrs E James [Penland Road]
Mrs Paton [Hastings Road]
Mrs C A Pead [Hastings Road]
Mrs Raymond Pelly [Worsham Manor]
Mrs Reed-Lewis [Eversley Road]
Mr R Reynolds* [Cantelupe Road]
Mr T E Rodgers [Town Clerk]
Mrs Shepherd [Penland Road]
Mrs Spooner [Channel View]
Mr E R Willett [Amherst Road]
Dr J P Wills* [Sea Road]
* indicates member of the Executive Committee.
By August 1916, one Committee, unnamed, member had resigned, two members, Mrs James and Dr Wills, had died and several unnamed members had left Bexhill.
There was also a Ladies’ Committee, to look after the collection and distribution of clothing etc., comprising Mrs Reed-Lewis, Mrs Griffiths, Mrs James, Mrs Shepherd and Mrs Fitch-Jones, as well as a Finance Committee.
The Central Offices of the Bexhill Belgian Refugee Committee were established at 24 Eversley Road, Bexhill, the home of Mr and Mrs Reed-Lewis. Mrs Fisher acted as Mr Reed-Lewis’ personal secretary until she departed for India when her husband, Major Fisher, left on active service.
Known addresses of hostels and houses within Bexhill used by Belgian refugees
Templemore, 5 Cranfield Road
Kilronan, 3 Station Road
Felixstowe House, 31 Wickham Avenue
20 Albert Road
15 Devonshire Road
2 Eversley Road
12, 15 and 37 Jameson Road
Winchester House, Marina
1 Park Avenue
12a, 18 St Leonards Road
17 Wickham Avenue
9 and 54 Wilton Road
Inscription on the reverse of the Peace Memorial, St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Bexhill
Belgae, per magnum bellum Belgians, through the Great War
E patria expulsi Having been driven out of their homeland
Hanc in urbem accepti And received in this town
Lapidem extrusi curaverunt Took care to raise a stone to those driven out
Ut memores se ostendebent So that remembrance would be shown
Tum hospitum qui sustentationi First of the hospitality which by forbearance
Corporum animarum saluti For the health of their minds and bodies
Benedictus providerunt They provided
Tum civium suorum qui Then of their citizens
Interherunt in terra firma aliena Whom they interred in foreign ground
Anno Domini MCMXX AD 1920
– – 0 – – – – 0 – –
Memento in orationibius tuis defunctorum Remember in your prayers the dead
Quorum nomina hic inscribunturi Whose names are written below
Edouard Allard 9 January 1915 Edouard Allard 9 January 1915
Gertrude Culp 13 January 1919 Gertrude Culp 13 January 1919
Paul Malherbe 26 January 1915 Paul Malherbe 26 January 1915
Marguerite Malherbe 5 June 1915 Marguerite Malherbe 5 June 1915
Gustave Malisoux 9 February 1915 Gustave Malisoux 9 February 1915
R I P
Extract from Haunted Places of Sussex by Judy Middleton, Countryside Books, 2005, page 44.
There is an account in this book of a haunted house in Bexhill although its location is not revealed. It is said that the haunting goes back to the First World War when there were French and Belgian refugees living in Bexhill and the house was occupied as a French boys’ school. Two of the boys were very homesick and wished to see their parents again so they decided to swim home across the English Channel. They set off one morning but they subsequently drowned and their bodies were washed up on the beach. The people who came to live in the house after the school closed complained of strange noises and the sound of footsteps running downstairs. Later occupants had a dog who would not venture near the staircase.
Despite reading through both of Bexhill’s local newspapers for 1914 to 1919, no reports were found to substantiate this story.
Bexhill Chronicle, 1914 – 1920.
Bexhill Observer, 1914 – 1920.
Bexhill Quarterly, November 1914 and March 1917
Judy Middleton. Haunted Places of Sussex. Countryside Books, 2005, p44.
Simon Fowler and Keith Gregson. Bloody Belgians. Ancestors magazine, May 2005, p43-49.
Simon Fowler. Belgian Refugees in Britain during the First World War. The Family and Local History Handbook. 9th edition, Robert Blatchford Publishing, 2005.
Fred Gray. Bexhill Voices. University of Sussex, 1994, p61-62.
E Moberly Bell. Flora Shaw [Lady Lugard D.B.E.]. Constable, London, 1947.
A review of the on-line catalogues of the East Sussex Records Office, Lewes; the Imperial War Museum, London; The British Library, London and The National Archives, London, have all failed to yield any further information relating specifically to Bexhill and our Belgian refugees. A visit to The National Archives to study a number of original documents relating to the War Refugees Committee and History Cards also failed to yield any further information.
Relevant pictures can be seen in the articles listed under appendices 2, 4 and 6.
Some of these are reproduced at the end of this folder either as digital photograph copies from Museum’s newspaper archives or as photocopies from Library’s microfiche films, hence the poor quality of some illustrations.