Belgian Children

With Alan Lowe

At the start of the First World War, a significant number of Belgian refugees came to Britain as the German army stormed their way through their country, with 16,000 refugees arriving in Kent in October 1914 alone. By the end of the war, 250,000 Belgians had come to the UK for safety, but it did not always work out that way.

One example was Frans Buyssens, who made his way–along with many others–to Northwich, Cheshire, at the start of the war. In February 1915, just months after arriving on safe ground, Frans died of peritonitis, which is an infection of the lining of the stomach. He is buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Northwhich Graveyard, grave number 851.

In the same grave is another Belgian child, Henri Joseph Burghys, aged 11 years. Burghys died while undergoing an operation in Northwich Infirmary in June 1915. It is believed that by this time, Burghys was an orphan, and no family in Belgium has been notified of his fate. If you know of any extended family that could be connected to either of these Belgian children, please contact us.