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CRICCIETH.

BELGIAN REFUGEES.

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BELGIAN REFUGEES. The Belgian refugees have supplied accounts of their flight to England which have been translated into English as follows:— The undersigned, Francois Toussaint, his wife, three children, and the father of the wile, have the honour to offer their thanks to the kind population of Criccieth for the reception given to them on their arrival in this beautiful part of the country and for the unceasing kindness they have received ever since they arrived as strangers and fugitives from their own land. We specially thank the delightful ladies of the Belgian Refugee Committee who have so kindly taken upon themselves the heavy task of housing us and feeding us gratuitously, with the help of the inhabit- ants of the town and locality; we shall ever hold them in uneiymg remembrance. Permit us to relate what we have suffered from the horrors of war. On the morning of the 6th August, German soldiers made their entry into the town of Dinant and on the 15th of the same month a big battle was fought between the French and the Germans on the two banks of the leu2. We remained shut up in the cellars with all the other inhabitants of the town from five in the morning until seven in the evening, bullets and shrapnel falling on the houses and in the streets thereby caus- ing fires to break out. The next day, the 16t!¡ August, the bombardment began again and between the night of the 20th and 21st the Germans entered the town, bring- ing with them an armoured motor, firing the houses from it and throwing bombs. The ruin was indescribable. The 22nd of the same month it became still worse Germans everywhere burning houses and shooting three-fourths of the inhabitants. They also fired the churches. They are absolute barbarians. Happily some fam- ilies were able to escape through the French lines, proceeding through France and arriving at Dunkirk. We are amongst those who were able to do that. We stayed at Ostend for several days when a zeppelin made its appearance and threw bombs. The Terror this dirigible caused made us set sail for England. WTithout means, we have asked help of England. We were received in London by a Committee of charitable ladies. Mr. Lloyd George has kindly lent us a charming villa in Cric- cieth through the medium of this Com- mittee. We stayed four days in London and then they sent us to this magnificent part of the country where we hope to rest a little and try to forget all the murders and barbarities that, alas, we have seen and suffered from. In our flight from Dinant to Ostend we suffered much, we had to tramp many miles on foot because the railway lines were obstructed. On the other hand, after leaving Ostend up to the present we have been cheered and helped by the brave English people, welcomed and treated with brotherliness during the whole journey down to- Criccieth. Once again, thanks to all. Our thanks to the English Government, to Mr. Lloyd George and all his family, and other ladies of the Com-1 mittee, and to the population and people of Criccieth with all our gratitude. Long live England—Francois Toussaint (on be- half of the family). Jules Manekens writes:—"I have the honour to bring to your notice the story of cur flight after war was declared. My family was at Dinant when the Germans made their first appearance in the town and from that moment terror reigned amongst the population. When they saw the preparations made by the 148th French regiment, there was a general coming and going and it was at this moment that I decided to escape with my family to Ostend but it was not so easy, for before we could get to the railway station we had to walk ten kilometres with whatever we could take with us. At the first village we were told we could not pass through, but we risked it. The obstacles we had to surmount were very great. The whole i length of the way was strewn with trees, which had been cut down and all the carts that could be found in the village had the wheels taken off and were stretched across the road. In the end we got past and started once more on our way after a short rest. We then arrived at a mined bridge and had to make a big round so as not to be in the way of French and Belgian soldiers who were guarding a rail- way bridge. From there, we saw the station in the distance and felt we were saved, for by this we were beginning to feel terribly tired. More obstacles and then we met the Cure of the village and some kind people who helped us on to the right path. After we had thanked them we trudged on and at last found ourselves in th sbtion. Then we got into the train and as ic went slowly out we said good-bye to our dear Dinant which as I write is nothing more than a heap of ruins. Then we arrive at Namur, a stronghold, where we see no one but soldiers. As each train from the direction Liege draws up we see our poor wounded soldiers from the great light going on there. We left Namur and arrived at Brussels. At the North Station there was great commotion, for every train brought its load of wounded. Seeing the people so upset, 1 decided to proceed to Ostend for we badly needed some rest. But this we did not get for long, for on September 5th a detachment of Uhlans made their appearance five kilometres from Ostend. Our gendarmes set out to meet them. During the night an attack was made and the brutes of Germans were re- pulsed with a great number of killed and wounded. They killed five of ours, but in return our side captured a German officer who is at this moment a prisoner in England. The day of the funeral of our men all the population of Ostend attended. At the same time there was great excite- ment over the landing of English Marines. Facing Obtend, lay fourteen battleships which re-assured us for the time. What made us fly to England was the zeppelin which those barbarians one very cahn night brought over Ostend, shooting out deadly bombs which burst with a tremen- dous noise about 11.30 at night. The first burst in the fish market, the second in the garden in front of tlie naval station. another in the Boulogne wood. It was very lucky that no one was struck. These mousrers only succeeded in damaging property. Tit last we went to the Refugee Committee at the railway station who in- sraded us how to get away. The crossing from Ostend to Folkestone was very rough. On our arrival we were met by gentlemen of the Committee ns well as' by kindly- ladies who comforted us and were kindr.ess itself. We shall never forget the recep- tion given us everywhere on our journey. Thanks to all the good ladies who received us so kindly in London and arranged for us to go down to (Viceieth to stay in a de- lightful villa belonging to Mr. Lloyd George. We received the order to be in readiness to leave at half-past nine one morning and a kind lady of the Red Cross came to take us, and we left London at 10.30 for (riecieth. At each stop we were questioned on the events of the war. At last we arrived at Criccieth, after travel- ling eight hours. At the station all the kind ladies of the Committee were waiting for us and in their company, as well as that of Miss Lloyd George, we were taken to the house lent us by Mr. Lloyd George. We thank warmly all the ladies of the Committee, as well as the Scout Master and his Scouts, and all the population of Criccieth who have received us with such Jieartv gcod will and sympathy, and thanks also—ni<i?;y thanks—for the rcceptfon which they gave us. Thanks to all. A thousand times thank you, and may victory soon be ours.—Jules Mannckens. Emile de Vvnck writes:—I have the honour to bring to your notice the fact that I left Malines when the Germans bombarded it for the fifth time. Nearly everyone fled the day after the German brutes entered the town. In terror we rushed to another village. A kindly far- mer hid us in his barn and we lay there on the straw. When we woke we escaped to Duffel. and from there to Bruges, where we arrived at midnight and found the town was all in darkness. Two ladies gave us hospitality and the next day, at a very early hour we went on to Ostend. We stayed there only a quarter-of-an-hour and then took the boat for Folkestone. Every- one gave us food and dainties and when we arrived in London we were taken to St. Giles Home where we stayed four days. Then they sent us down to Criccieth where we have been very kindly received. My wife and I and the baby (Pauline) than kfrom our hearts the ladies of the Committee for all their kindness to us and also the people of Criccieth. I desire to be excused, being a Fleming, for writing such a short account, but I have done all I can to make myself understood Emile de Vynck.

BLAENAU FESTINIOG.

FOEfmaBOO. I