Four Glasgow women, identified only by their husbands' names, were awarded the MBE in 1920 in recognition of their work on the Ladies' Committee set up by Glasgow Corporation to look after Belgian refugees during the First World War.
Following the occupation of most of their country by German forces in 1914, around 20,000 Belgian refugees fled to Scotland, and a large number settled in Glasgow. City Assessor Alex Walker was secretary and treasurer of the committee of magistrates which helped find them homes and raise funds for their maintenance; he freely acknowledged that his work would have been impossible without the assistance of his wife. The other three ladies were all wives of magistrates.
The caricatures appeared in The Bailie, which noted: "The honours that have been so worthily bestowed on these four ladies are more than mere personal recognitions of merit. The awards may be regarded in a wider sense as an honour to the vast multitude of women workers who toiled unremittingly in the service of the country during the whole of the war."
Reference: Mitchell Library, GC052 BAI
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
asylum seekers, Belgian refugees, Belgians, First World War, magistrates, MBEs, Member of the British Empire, women workers