Alternatively, see all the previous parts of the Lowick and District’s Response to the Belgian Refugees 1914 – 1915, together.
It was performed as a "radio play" in Berwick Guildhall on 25 April 2015 at Discover Berwick’s First World War Story. Researched and written by Julie Gibbs.
The family in Cheswick visited by Mr Boal, features in the following police correspondence.
Let me introduce Captain Fullarton James, Chief Constable, Morpeth, Northumberland, who will explain further.
Captain Fullarton James
I have received a letter from Arthur Cayley of the Mead, Beal, dated 19th October 1914, expressing his suspicions of one of the Belgian Refugees. This is what he wrote,’
Lodewijk van Horenbeck, a joiner by trade seems not to wish to get employment, is receiving letters, is visited by other men at dark, wanders on the high roads – pretends not to understand French or German tho’ he did on arrival. I have approached the Postmaster at Berwick, to report to headquarters with a view to examination of correspondence. The man is married & has three children, and is about 30 to 35 years of age. Miss Leyland is looking after this family along with others and her suspicions have been aroused some time ago.
|Partial Transcript of Belgian children admitted to Cheswick School, 9 November 1914|
Of course I immediately contacted Thomas Bolton, the Superintendent at Alnwick. He wrote
I beg to inform you that I cannot find or ascertain that anything is out of place with this man. It seems that he often visits a family named Thompson at Scremerston, who has a daughter at present at home, married to a Belgian named Black ( a very suspicious sounding name for a Belgian!), and the Thompson’s very often visit Horenbeck at Cheswick. Horenbeck is 36 years of age and working in the gardens at Cheswick, he is married, with a wife aged 33 and their children are 14, 9 and 2½.
Sergeant Elliot has had this man under observation, and has still, but has been unable to see anything out of place; it seems that Miss Leyland was at the Sergeant about this man. I will see that every attention is given.
I don’t think the man cares much about garden work; he is a joiner by trade.
I am Sir,
Your Obedient Servant,
Thomas Bolton, Superintendent.
On the 9th November I received a letter from E Holt Wilson, Captain, M.O.5 (g), War Office, Whitehall.
He had been informed by Thomas Snowball, the Postmaster of Berwick, that A Cayley, Esq of Haggerston Castle, Beal, has called upon him and reported suspicious movements of a Belgian Refugee.
His name is Lodewijk Van Horenbeck and his wife’s maiden name Van Perek. They reside in a cottage provided by local resident near Cheswick House, Beal.
I have been asked to examine the parties as to their name, business, origin etc sending the War Office full particulars of their passports and references in Belgium and England.
I have to ask the Belgians to write in Flemish, to the Belgian Consul giving the history of their present position under which they claim to be without means and desire to be considered Refugees.
Mr Cayley is certainly persistent. On the 12th November, he wrote to me again stating that he had reported to the Postmaster at Berwick some weeks ago that Van Horenbeck and his movements were causing suspicion and that he had also heard that he was receiving a quantity of letters.
He asked the Postmaster to report this to his HQ, thinking that this correspondence if examined might lead to justification for suspicion.
He suggested a Belgian lad at Haggerston who can talk Flemish and French, could be trusted to help should his services be required.
The lad cannot speak English. Mr Cayley offers his own assistance.
How long will this case go on for? I do have other work to do.
(Sits down. )