The largest influx of refugees in British history happened during the First World War – 250,000 Belgians fled to Britain during the conflict after Germany invaded.

But what became of those who made the journey? Researchers have worked to uncover the stories of these people and their experiences.

Tracing the Belgian Refugees is a public history project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with researchers from Universities of Leeds, Leuven and UCL.

The project explores the stories of Belgian refugees in the UK during the First World War and includes an online database where people can learn more. In this video, some of the team involved explain what they’ve discovered.

For more information about the research projects featured in Refugees:  Forced to Flee, explore this guide from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

VISIT THE EXHIBITION

War turns people's worlds upside down, from the First World War to the present day, countless lives have been affected by conflict. Ordinary people are forced to make extraordinary decisions – should they stay or go?

Visit Refugees: Forced to Flee at IWM London to explore a century of refugee experiences, from Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews and the Kindertransport, to the Calais Jungle and the treacherous Mediterranean crossings.

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