(July 2017) Belgian Refugees in Sibford during the First World War

Following the invasion of Belgium by German troops in October 1914 news of the devastation that was being imposed on the people of Antwerp must have reached the people of Sibford because on 28 October 1914 a Public Meeting was held in the Village School Room. At that meeting it was ‘unanimously agreed to take a cottage with a view to entertaining a Belgian Family of Refugees for as long as seems necessary.’

The Meeting appointed a committee, to be known as the Sibford Belgian Refugee Committee (SBRC). They set up regular collections and Sibford villagers responded positively with donations of between one and three pence every week. Some work was undertaken to prepare a cottage for a Belgian family and £2 was spent on furniture. On Wednesday 16 December 1914, eight refugees arrived in Sibford.

The names of the refugees who resided at Burdrop in the cottage by the Bishop Blaze (now demolished) were Monsieur and Madame de Vries and their two sons and Monsieur and Madame Poppe and their two young sons. M. De Vries and M. Poppe were cousins and both were diamond cutters and polishers and M. de Vries also had a large cafe in Antwerp