I’m writing from Belgium and was wondering if anyone of you can help me in my research. I am trying to reconstruct the life of my Flemish grandfather who was a refugee in the U.K. from 1914 to January 1919. I have documented proof (British documents) that he was registered in Alexandra’s Palace on 2 November 1914 but arrived in London as early as 26 September. He lived in Wandsworth (West Hill Road and later Marcus Street) and worked as a shell turner on Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush.
My mother was born in Wandsworth (Amerland Road) in December 1916. What I still don’t know is HOW my grandfather arrived in the U.K. By the beginning of September 1914, he was in Antwerp; the town was under German siege. The British and Belgian governments organized a special sea route between Antwerp and Tilbury to evacuate the thousands of refugees. It appears the first refugees arrived in Tilbury on the 11th (date uncertain). As my grandfather was in London on the 26th, he must have been on one of those refugee boats somewhere between the 11th and the 25-26th.
Is there any way to find the list of boats bringing Belgian refugees to Tilbury between those dates ?!? I know every refugee was medically checked on possible diseases (either before embarking or immediately after arrival) so documents must exist somewhere?
(PS the whole family – grandparents and 5 children – came back to Belgium safe and sound in the beginning of 1919. My granddad’s name was Louis Van Vlasselaer ).