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Belgian Refugees

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I have just been reading about the Belgian refugees who found shelter in Oxfordshire during the Great War, and in her book Round The Square in Witney Phyllis Ransom recalled that: "at first we used to stare at them because it wasn't only the woman who were in deep black with long flowing veils; quite young girls wore this mourning too, and we weren't used to seeing children looking like baby widows". I am wondering if the women concerned were actually in mourning - or was Phyliis Ransom describing a form of Belgian national dress?

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