Today I stumbled upon another birth in the Tunbridge Wells Belgian Community, that of Françoise Marie Isabelle Louise Madeleine Cornélie, daughter of Jean-Baptiste and Madeleine VAN DE PUT-MEEUS, on 30th April 1915.
The child’s parents had married in Wyneghem near Antwerp on 9th June 1914 – the bride was the daughter of the town’s Mayor, M. Hippolyte MEEUS, and the newspaper Le Courrier d’Anvers devoted a quarter of its front page on 19th June 1914 to coverage of the celebrations, describing how the marriage party made its way from the church to the MEEUS home, their way lined with a large and “sympathique” crowd of well-wishers.
As the young couple set off for their honeymoon in Biarritz and the Swiss Lakes, they couldn’t have known that only a few weeks later they would be fugitives from war.
The MEEUS family’s story I have not yet told on this blog, but you will find some of it in the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society book The Shock of War (ed. John Cunningham), in the Chapter I contributed about the Belgian refugees in Tunbridge Wells. The Mayor and his wife both died in Tunbridge Wells in 1915, six months apart. Lavish funerals were held at St Augustine’s and their bodies laid to rest in the Cemetery Mortuary Chapel until the end of the war when they were repatriated and buried in the family vault.
But I digress. My intention today was simply to list the Births, Marriages and Deaths I have so far come across and for which I have the certificates, so here goes.
- January 2nd Death at 3 Woodbury Park Road of widow Euthalie Amelie BAL-VAN VAERENBERGH, 78, of 112 avenue du Commerce, Antwerp – she too was repatriated after the war and buried in Antwerp.
- February 20th Marriage of Prosper Leopold DEBERGH and Marie RAVIJTS, both from Termonde, at St Augustine’s Catholic Church
- February 23rd Marriage of Oscar Edouard GROVEN and Germaine Mathilde Therese TANGHE both from Ostend, and engaged to be married before they left Belgium, at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Dover
- March 23rd Death at Tunbridge Wells General Hospital of baby Helene BECKER, 7 months, from measles and broncho-pneumonia. She lies in an unmarked grave in the cemetery at Hawkenbury.
- April 30th Birth of Francoise Marie Isabelle Louise Madeleine Cornélie, daughter of Jean-Baptiste and Madeleine VAN DE PUT-MEEUS, at 4 Nevill Park
- May 25th Birth of Jacques Albert Daniel, son of Leon and Laure COEN-CHRISTIAENS from Schaerbeek, Brussels, at “Belle Vue”, 54 Mount Ephraim
- June 26th Death of Isabelle Adolphine Marie Ferdinande Josephine MEEUS-de MEURS, 61, the wife of Hippolyte MEEUS, distiller and Mayor of Wyneghem, at 4 Nevill Park
- October 17th Birth of Rose Marie, daughter of Paul and Marie Francoise VAN NULAND-HANOCQ, from Antwerp, at 7 Calverley Park Crescent
- October 26th Death of Hippolyte Maria Ivo MEEUS, 64, Mayor of Wyneghem, at 4 Nevill Park
- December 2nd Birth of Gladys Marie Virginie, daughter of Oscar and Germaine GROVEN-TANGHE (the couple who had married in Dover earlier that year), at 11 Linden Park, Broadwater Down.
- February 26th Death at Tonbridge Workhouse Informary of Rosalie GEBRUERS-de PAUW, 58, wife of telephone fitter Sebastien GEBRUERS, who were living at 43 Grosvenor Road
- April 12th Marriage of munitions worker Andre VAN DEN EYNDE of Yew Cottages, Powder Mills, Tonbridge, and Annie TAYLOR, spinster, of Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood, at Tonbridge Register Office – not Tunbridge Wells, but he does pop up in the occasional concert in the town (at least I think it’s him/he) so I thought I’d include them.
- May 1st Death at 11 Linden Park, Broadwater Down, of Wilhelmina Florentina VANHERCKE, 66, “spinster daughter of Jean VANHERCKE cabinet-maker”
- September 1st Death at 154b Upper Grosvenor Road, of Josef Marie Louis , 2, son of Paul and Marie VAN NULAND-HANOCQ, from tubercular meningitis
- September 28th Death at 3 East Cliff Road of Emma Caroline, 12, daughter of Mechelen ‘carilloneur’ Josef DENYN and his wife Helene DENYN-SCHUERMANS
- February 1st Death at 63 Grosvenor Park of Theodore VAN BENEDEN, 66, from Blaseveldt near Antwerp. He was in Tunbridge Wells with his brother and several cousins.
- June 13th Birth of Genevieve Marie Josephe Julie Christiane Ghislaine, daughter of Professor Joseph WILLEMS and his wife Marguerite WILLEMS-BESME – by this time they were living in Folkestone, at 83 Bouverie Road West, where the Professor was an Adjutant in the Belgian Intelligence Service
- June 22nd Birth of John Emile Polidore, son of Oscar and Germaine GROVEN-TANGHE and a brother to Gladys, at 55 Culverden Park Road. Father Oscar is now a munitions worker.
- July 4th Birth of Joseph Marie Odilon, son of Paul and Marie VAN NULAND-HANOCQ, at 154b Upper Grosvenor Road
- September 23rd Death at 3 East Cliff Road of Helene Theodore Hubertine SCHUERMANS, 55, wife of Mechelen Bellmaster Josef DENYN
- October 20th Marriage of Jeanne DEMEURISSE and Louis TANGHE at St Augustine’s Catholic Church