Belgian Refugees

Find out about Belgian refugees in Scotland during the First World War.

What do I need to know bef​ore I start?

Try to find out:

  • name of the person
  • their date of birth
  • their birthplace
  • their occupation


What records can I find in The Mitchell: Glasgow City Archives?

Glasgow City Archives holds the records of Glasgow Corporation’s Office for Belgian Refugees, 1914-1919. The Glasgow Corporation was appointed as the distributing centre for Scotland for Belgians escaping the German invasion of their country.

The records include several lists relating to 8,000 Belgian refugees to Scotland, 1914-1915 (ref: D-CA12/2-4) as well as a record of the burial place of Belgian refugees who died in Scotland, 1914-1919 (ref: D-CA12/1).

The information on the lists varies, but generally you will find the following:

  • ​name
  • age
  • gender
  • address in Belgium

Additional information may include:

  • relationship between refugees
  • their date of arrival
  • address in Britain
  • occupation
  • marital status

School admission registers are also a useful source of information as local authorities were responsible for educating the children of Belgian refugees.


What records can I see online?

Indexes to the lists of Belgian refugees sent to Scotland are available online.


What records can I see elsewhere?

The settlement of refugees to Britain is a function of central government, in particular the Home Office. The National Archives holds the records of the Home Office as well as those of departments which deal with other aspects of aiding refugees. Please see The National Archives’ record guide on Refugees for further information.


What other resources will help me find information?

Education Packs

Belgian Refugees (1914-1918), Strathclyde Regional Council Education Department, available in the archives searchroom (ref: PA12/86)


Roger Kershaw and Mark Pearsall, Immigrants and Aliens: a guide to sources on UK immigration and citizenship (2000)



Glasgow City Archives

0141 287 2910

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