[From IoM and the Great War, 1922]

CHAPTER III.

THE PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS.

In the Napoleonic Wars, the duty of looking after the prisoners of war was entrusted to the Transport Department of the Admiralty, which Department formed and maintained Camps in various parts of the kingdom, the most celebrated perhaps, being that at Norman’s Cross,1 near Peterborough. It is interesting to read of those Camps, because many of the troubles and difficulties which presented themselves then were experienced in the Camps established between 1914 and 1918.

When August 4th, 1914, dawned no scheme had apparently been prepared for dealing with the internment of the many thousands of alien enemies living in our midst. Several Departments of State were interested in the matter, with the result that a Committee was at once appointed, composed mainly of representatives of these Departments, and called the "Civilian Internment Camps Committee", to organize and superintend the arrangements for keeping in internment alien enemies other than combatant prisoners of war. Sir William Byrne, K.C.V.O., C.B., formerly Assistant Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, was chairman of the Committee until he was appointed Under Secretary for Ireland, when he was succeeded in the chairmanship by Sir John Pedder K.B.E., C.B.,2 an Assistant Secretary at the Home Office.

Mr. E. Sebag Montefiore, C.B.E., was Secretary of the Committee 3 for the first years of the war, after which the duties were undertaken by Mr. D. D. Reid, M.P.

 The Civilian Internment Camps Committee established several camps in England, but, ultimately, as Knockaloo Camp expanded, most of the civilian prisoners of war were transferred to the Isle of Man.

A Royal Warrant for "the Maintenance of Discipline among Prisoners of War "was signed on 3rd August, 1914:

"Whereas We deem it expedient to make regulations for the custody of and maintenance of discipline among prisoners of war interned in the United Kingdom or elsewhere ; Our Will and Pleasure is that the custody of and maintenance of discipline among prisoners of war interned in the United Kingdom and elsewhere shall be governed by the laws and customs of war and the regulations attached to this Our Warrant, which regulations shall be the sole authority on the matters therein treated of."

The regulations referred to provided for the establishment of "Military Courts "(as distinct from Courts Martial) , which had power to try any prisoner of war upon "any such charge or charges as may be preferred before them for any offence which, if committed in England, would be triable before a Civil Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, or for any offence the commission of which shall be held prejudicial to the safety or well-being of His Majesty’s Dominions, armed forces, or subjects, or to the safe custody, control, or well-being of any prisoner of war."

In the case of the Prisoner of War Camps in the Isle of Man, the Lieutenant-Governor was appointed the Authority to convene Military Courts and to confirm the proceedings of such Courts. During the existence of the Camps in the Island, 345 prisoners of war were tried by Military Courts and convicted.4

All prisoners sentenced to imprisonment or penal servitude were transferred to H.M. Prison, Douglas, in the first instance. Penal servitude cases were then sent to the Mainland, and occasionally, when the Douglas Prison was full, some of the imprisonment cases were transferred to Liverpool Prison . No less than 98 of the 345 convictions were for escaping or attempting to escape from Camp. The volume of evidence in most of the cases before Military Courts was very considerable and the examining of this evidence with the findings of the Courts was not always a pleasure to the officials at Government Office, as intense similarity between cases prevailed.

A deputation from the Civilian Internment Camps Committee, consisting of Sir William Byrne and Mr. Montefiore, came to the Isle of Man in September, 1914, to ascertain from the Manx Government whether accommodation could be provided in the Island for the immediate internment of alien enemies who had been arrested in London and elsewhere, and who were being temporarily interned in various buildings as a preliminary step. The Holiday Camp at Douglas, where young men from the mainland were accustomed to come and camp for their summer holidays, was at once thought of, and before long this Camp was in the hands of the Government. Barbed wire fences were speedily erected, gas and electric standard lamps were introduced for lighting the compounds at night, various guardrooms were built, and other alterations made. On the 22nd September, 1914, the first consignment of 200 prisoners arrived. Lieut.-Colonel H. W. Madoc, C.B.E., M.V.O.5 was appointed Commandant, and Captain (afterwards Major) F. C. C. Bland, Assistant Commandant; Dr. Robert Marshall (afterwards Captain R. Marshall, R.A.M.C.) , of Douglas, being Medical Officer. Mr. Joseph Cunningham, the proprietor of the Camp, supplied all stores, other than clothing, and food in accordance with official scales issued from time to time.6 On the 24th October, 1914, there were in the Camp, which was, at that time, guarded by the Isle of Man Volunteers, 2,600 prisoners of war, which was the official establishment, but, in order to assist in relieving congestion in temporary places of internment in London and elsewhere, a temporary increase to 3,300 prisoners was authorized.

The prisoners of war slept in tents and messed in a large permanent building. Later, the tents were superseded by huts, and the Camp was divided into three sections : (1) the Privilege Camp ; (2) the Jewish Camp ; (3) the Ordinary Camp . To qualify for the Privilege Camp, a prisoner had to pay a weekly subscription, which entitled him to better accommodation, better meals, and a prisoner servant. On food shortages arising in the country, the food of the prisoners in the Privilege Camp was rationed to the same amount as that for the ordinary prisoners, and the power of making purchases of food in the town, through the medium of the Order Office, was cancelled. The members of the Jewish Camp were provided with Kosher food and were given facilities for celebrating Jewish festivals.

In the late autumn of 1914, in addition to the Isle of Man Volunteers, National Reservists (afterwards the Royal Defence Corps) were sent to the Island to guard the interned prisoners of war; they also escorted them on their marches for exercise along the country roads. These marches of prisoners, in bodies of about 200 each, were allowed until 12th May, 1915, when they were stopped as a result of the prisoners having cheered in the streets on reading newspaper posters announcing the sinking by a German submarine of the liner "Lusitania " off the coast of Ireland.

On 19th November, 1914, five prisoners at Douglas Camp were shot by the guard. An inquest was held on the 20th and 27th November by the High-Bailiff of Douglas (the coroner for inquests) and a jury. The verdict was "that the five deaths were caused by justifiable measures forced upon the military authorities by the riotous behaviour of a large section of the "prisoners interned." Previous to this "riot," there had been some disaffection in the Camp for some little time.

A further deputation from the Civilian Internment Camps Committee, consisting of Sir William Byrne, Mr. Montefiore, with Dr. C. H. Bond, of the Board of Control, as Medical Advisor, visited the Island on 24th October, 1914, for the purpose of ascertaining from the Government Office whether the Island was suitable for the internment of additional prisoners of war over and above those at Douglas Camp . A tour of the Island was made, with the result that the only site which presented itself as suitable for the purposes of a camp was one in the vicinity of Peel, on a farm known as Knockaloe Moar. This site had previously been used as a camping ground for Territorial troops. It possessed an adequate water supply, owing to the water-main supplying the town of Peel passing the site. The soil, however, was found to be of heavy clay, but it was thought that, with abundance of cinders available, it would be possible to maintain satisfactory paths,7 and, by raising the huts some inches from the ground, the objections of the clay soil would be overcome. Dr. Bond approved the site, and later, the Government Office was requested to proceed with a Camp for the accommodation of about 5,000 prisoners of war. Plans were prepared, and a contract was given to Mr. Mark Carine, a Douglas builder, for the erection of the huts, there, fortunately, being a considerable supply of timber in the Island at the time. Lieut.-Colonel J. M. Carpendale was appointed Commandant of Knockaloe Camp, and Major C. H. Cholmondeley Assistant Commandant. Mr. J. H. Cubbon was given the appointment of Camp Quartermaster, and superintended the Camp’s erection and equipment with stores from the commencement he was a most energetic and painstaking officer.

Owing to the pressing demand for accommodation, prisoners of war arrived from England immediately huts were erected, a procedure which rendered it somewhat difficult to expedite the building operations. When the Camp plans were framed, in the first instance, for 5,000 prisoners, it was not anticipated, of course, that that number would be exceeded, but in May, 1915, in consequence of the sinking of the "Lusitania " and the hostile feeling on the part of the public towards alien enemies living at large, the Imperial Authorities asked if the Camp could be extended to take an additional 5,000 prisoners. This had to be done, and involved the altering of water mains, together with lighting and drainage systems, which same trouble arose later when the Camp was extended to take 15,000, and finally, 23,000 prisoners. After the completion of the Camp for the first 5,000 prisoners, which portion was called "Camp 1" 8, the Government Office decided to take charge of the building operations themselves and to re-organize the staff of the Camp. Mr. J. H. Cubbon, who afterwards received the rank of Captain, was appointed Camp Quartermaster in charge of all barrack furniture, equipment, clothing, and stores, other than food, for the entire camp of 23,000 prisoners. Major J. H. Cowle, of the Isle of Man Volunteers, a local builder and architect, was appointed Works Officer for the erection and maintenance of the further three Camps which were formed. He was given a staff of Manx joiners, masons, and plumbers, in whose charge were placed prisoners belonging to those trades, who were taken on and paid for work performed by them as circumstances demanded.

The messing arrangements at Knockaloe were placed in the hands of Mr. A. B. Crookall, who contracted to provide food at a given figure per prisoner for the prisoners in accordance with the official scale laid down. Mr. Crookall held this contract throughout the whole existence of the Camp ; it was an enormous undertaking, but he conducted the work in a most thorough and satisfactory manner.

In order that both the prisoners and the Government might secure that the dietary as authorized was strictly issued, Mr. Joseph Garside, M.H.K., was appointed Messing Superintendent, with a small staff, to superintend the issue of all rations to the prisoners’ kitchens, and to hear any complaints which the prisoners had to make with regard to the quality of the food issued.

After the camp, which ultimately consisted of twenty-three compounds containing 1,000 prisoners each, had been in existence a short time, the prisoners of each compound were asked to appoint a Kitchen Committee to take over the rations for the compound in bulk, instead of the prisoners themselves drawing their individual rations of certain articles. This innovation turned out to be most satisfactory, as any complaints in connection with cooking remained for settlement between the prisoners themselves and their Kitchen Committee, the Government being thus relieved of all responsibility other than that of supplying the rations in bulk and the necessary cooking appliances for the kitchen.

Captain F. W. Smith Cleburne, a professional engineer, who came to Knockaloe as a regimental officer with a company of National Reserves, was later seconded for the purpose of taking up the position of Camp Engineer. He was responsible for the electric lighting of the entire Camp, and for the Sewage Pumping Station, for the introduction and installation of both of which systems he was largely responsible. He was a most reliable officer, and his engineering skill produced a most satisfactory power station and electrical installation at the Camp. His health was never good during the time he was at Knockaloe, and, to the regret of all who knew him, he died shortly after the Camp was closed, following the signing of the Armistice.

The drainage system which was finally adopted for the Camp, after two or three other processes had been tried with not very satisfactory results, was to allow the sewage to gravitate to a certain point, and then, by means of an electric pumping station, to pump it over the cliff 9 into the sea.

In addition to the departments of the Camp Quartermaster, the Works Officer, the Camp Engineer, and the Messing Superintendent, all of which were Civilian Departments under the direct control of Government Office, there were also formed the following minor Civilian Departments under the same control, viz. : the Camp Audit (Mr. Arthur Brittain in charge) ; Transport (Captain C. Fox and Mr. Forrester in charge); Censoring 10(Mr. A. Knox and Mr. W. M. Holmes in charge) ; Special Intelligence (Mr. J. Madigan, late of the Criminal Investigation Department, Metropolitan Police, in charge) ; and the Camp Bank (Mr. A. Harris, Chief Purser). The function of the Chief Purser was to take charge of the prisoners’ private cash as received at the Camp, and to make issues to them in accordance with regulations. There was also the Canteen Department, under the charge, first, of Mr. J. Hotchkiss, and, later, of Mr. J. Ogden. The system ultimately adopted in regard to the prisoners’ canteens was that each compound had its own canteen, worked and maintained by the prisoners themselves, who distributed the profits as they pleased. The prisoners’ committees were, however, only allowed to draw the stores for their canteens from a central depot in the Camp, which was managed by the Canteen Manager appointed by the Government. In ordering stores in bulk for the canteen, the Government retained a percentage of the difference between the purchase and selling prices sufficient to defray the cost of the administrative expenses of the central stores . The advantage of this system was that the Government could maintain complete control over the articles supplied to the prisoners’ canteens, which, as food shortages arose, became a most necessary procedure.

A Department of Agriculture was established under Captain J. S. Mylchreest, of the Isle of Man Volunteers. Farmers assigned to the Government, for the period of the war, uncultivated land for reclamation, and prisoners were marched out or proceeded by train in gangs to do this work. They were paid a daily wage, and the proceeds of the sale of the crops grown went to the Government.

The civil administration was also responsible for the medical arrangements at the Camps in the Island. There were five hospitals at Knockaloe Camp and one at Douglas Camp. The medical officers at Knockaloe at one time numbered nine, of whom four were part-time local medical practitioners. Later the medical staff was re-organized, and only resident medical officers were employed . The efficiency of the medical service at Knockaloe Camp may be judged from the fact that the mortality rate in no year exceeded three per mille, an extremely low rate when compared with that of the ordinary population of the Island, which, for the same period, exceeded fifteen per mille. It was regrettable that during the Camp’s existence two local practitioners, Dr. H. C. Sugden, of Ramsey, and Dr. J. E. Godson, of Laxey, died whilst in the service of the Government at Knockaloe. Both these doctors were much respected by both the staff and the prisoners in the Camp, and were highly esteemed throughout the Island. Dr. R. T. McGeagh, the resident medical officer in charge of Camp 4, at Knockaloe, held his appointment for nearly three years. He had medical control of the largest Camp in the Island , the number of prisoners interned in it amounting at one time to 7,000.

The size of the entire Camp at Knockaloe will be appreciated from the fact that the circumference was, approximately, three miles. No less than 15,000,000 feet of timber of all kinds, and nearly 1 ,000,000 bricks were incorporated in the buildings. The length of barbed wire employed in the construction of fences was 695 miles, representing a total weight of 170 tons. The electrical installation contained no fewer than 7,156 lights, the wire used in conducting the current extending to 72 miles.

As to stores, the Camp Quartermaster had the duty of receiving, issuing, and accounting for all barrack furniture, equipment, and stores for both the troops and the prisoners . Some idea of the magnitude of this work may be gathered from the fact that during the period of the Camp the following stores passed through his charge:—

125, 000 Blankets.
80,000 Shirts.
90,000 Clogs.
100,000 Towels.
145,000 Socks.
539 Tons of Soap.
204 Miles of Flannel.
113 Miles of Moleskin.

Much of the clothing for the Prisoners’ Camp was ultimately manufactured at the Camp by the prisoners themselves, a tailoring department being set up as a sub-department under the Camp Quartermaster.

With regard to the military side of this vast Camp, the organization consisted of a Commandant, an Assistant Commandant, and a Camp Adjutant, as Headquarters Staff; each of the four Camps into which Knockaloe Camp was divided had a Sub-Commandant of the rank of Major at its head, with an Assistant Sub-Commandant of the rank of Captain as second in command. There was a non-commissioned officer in charge of the discipline of each of the twenty-three compounds. Lieut. -Colonel J. M. Carpendale held the post of Commandant until early in 1916, when he was succeeded in the appointment by Lieut.-Colonel F. W. Panzera, C.M.G., who, unfortunately, died from heart failure while making a tour of the Camp in company with Brigadier-General D’A. Thomas, C.M.G. The post of Commandant then devolved on Lieut.-Colonel B. Metcalfe-Smith, C.B.E. 11 For the greater part of the life of the Camp, Major Grahame Taylor was Assistant Commandant, and Majors A. B. Kaye, Fife Scott, Quayle Dickson, D.S.O. , and Anderton Nodin, Sub-Commandants. Colonel H. B. Hans Hamilton12 was appointed Supervising Officer in command of the Guard Troops on the 4th January, 1915. On his departure, a few months later, to command a battalion of Territorials in London, he was succeeded as Supervising Officer by Lieut.-Colonel W. I. Anderton, late of the Grenadier Guards.

Later, as Knockaloe Camp expanded, and the troops of the Royal Defence Corps’ guarding the prisoners increased, a Headquarters Staff was formed in Douglas, and Brigadier-General D’A. Thomas, C.M.G.,13 was appointed in command of all the troops guarding the prisoners, Lieutenant-Colonel W. I. Anderton being in command of those at Knockaloe, and Major T. N. English of those at Douglas Camp.

After Camp 1 at Knockaloe had been completed, much of the material for the huts for the remaining three Camps was brought from England, the War Department assisting by supplying large numbers of sectional huts. The Imperial Authorities were incessant in their demand for additional accommodation to meet the "round ups "of alien enemies, made from time to time, as public opinion expressed itself in pronounced and violent form. A compound for 1,000 prisoners was about 100 yards square. In addition to the barbed wire fence which had to be erected around it, five sleeping huts, each to accommodate 200 prisoners, a kitchen, a recreation room, a bath house, and latrines had to be built. Sometimes it was possible to promise the Imperial Authorities accommodation for 2,000 prisoners in one week, but the average rate of building was one and a half compounds per week. Not infrequently it happened that vessels carrying materials were sunk by enemy submarines, and desperate situations arose, as the prisoners were expected to arrive one week after the materials were due.

The Camp Guard and the "Blue Staff " occupied huts similar to those built for the prisoners; these were erected on the outskirts of the Camp . The "Blue Staff" consisted of about 250 civilians, and represented the personnel of the various civilian departments already referred to. Included in the "Blue Staff " were Censors, Pursers, Clerks, Storekeepers, Hospital Dispensers, Engineers, and many other classes of employees . They derived their name from the blue uniform which they were given.

The baking for the Camp of 26,000 (i.e., Staff, Troops, "Blue Staff", and Prisoners) was conducted in a central bakery containing all the most modern appliances. Prisoners were employed as bakers, and 15,000 two-pound loaves were baked daily when the Camp was full.

The prisoners were of a very mixed class. There were managers of hotels, chefs of fashionable London restaurants, eminent musicians, business men, hair-dressers, waiters, seamen, and representatives of numerous other callings. In the recreation huts were given most excellent concerts by orchestras composed entirely of prisoners, and high-class plays were not infrequently produced. A large recreation field was provided for each of the four Camps, and to these prisoners were marched daily, when fine, for exercise. Football, sports, tennis, and other forms of exercise were indulged in.

There was a hospital for each Camp, to which cases of sickness and accident were taken for treatment, there being a medical officer resident in each Camp. In addition, there were isolation hospitals for venereal disease of which, at first, there were very many cases, and for tuberculosis.

With prolonged idleness, for it was impossible to employ usefully all the 23,000 prisoners, gambling and other vices presented themselves in a marked degrees in spite of the efforts to suppress them on the part of the Camp Staff and of those attending to the spiritual welfare of the interned, amongst whom must be mentioned the name of Dean Crookall, of St. Mary’s, Douglas, who looked after the Roman Catholic prisoners, and who devoted so much of his time to his work at the Camp.

In the early days of Knockaloe Camp there were several attempts at escape on the part of prisoners by tunnelling, but such methods being found to be of no avail, they were soon abandoned. It must be observed that, although so many prisoners were convicted of escaping or attempting to escape from Camp, on no occasion did a prisoner of war, either at Knockaloe or Douglas Camps, actually effect his escape from the Island, which reflected well on the Isle of Man Constabulary. The nearest approach at escape from the Island was by a prisoner at Douglas Camp, who, having evaded the guard at the Camp, proceeded to Douglas harbour and attempted to swim to a steamer bound for Silloth.

There were two or three occasions when the conduct of prisoners of war at Knockaloe Camp necessitated the guard firing, but, considering the size of the Camp, disturbances in the compounds were remarkably few.

Both at Knockaloe and Douglas Camps, the prisoners were encouraged to occupy their time in useful work. Some of the articles manufactured in the workshops of the compounds were most artistic. The articles made were disposed of largely through the medium of the Friends Emergency Committee, whose industrial adviser, Mr. James Bailey, subsequently became industrial adviser to the Government at Knockaloe Camp, where large quantities of articles were manufactured on strict trade conditions for firms in England when labour shortage arose.

A brush factory was established in connection with Douglas Camp, which gave employment to a large number of prisoners. Pipes and other articles were manufactured on an extensive scale at this Camp, which was described by one of the Embassy visitors as "a hive of industry."

Those members of the Camp guard, as well as the prisoners of war,14 who died at Douglas Camp, were buried in the Borough Cemetery, Douglas. Those of the guard and prisoners of war who met their deaths at Knockaloe were buried in the burial ground adjoining Patrick Church, close to Knockaloe. Mrs Anderton, the wife of Lieutenant-Colonel W. I. Anderton, devoted much time and money to the maintenance of the soldiers’ graves, and arranged for the erection of a marble headstone over each. The prisoners at Knockaloe formed a Burials Committee among themselves, which Committee looked after the prisoners’ graves. On the closing of the Camp a sum of £550, derived from the sale of canteen stores, was handed over to the Vicar and Wardens of Patrick for investment, the interest to be devoted to the maintenance of the prisoners’ graves.

Many schemes were introduced for the useful employment of the prisoners of war. Quarrying and road-making for the Highway Board were carried out by prisoners, who proceeded to this form of work in gangs of 50. Prisoners were also hired out to farmers for work on the land, and were employed by the Government, in gangs of a hundred each, for re-claiming waste land assigned to the Government by farmers for the duration of the war. Work camps were formed at Regaby, near Ramsey, and at Ballaugh, to provide farmers with labour. The Sulby River was widened and deepened by prisoners for a considerable part of its course, and peat was cut by them on the mountains.

From the 1st June, 1918, owing to the increasing shortage of foodstuffs in the United Kingdom, regulations were introduced, in substitution for less stringent ones, prohibiting the admission of Food Parcels to the Camps for the Prisoners of War, except from enemy or neutral countries, from the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, or from any British Possession beyond the seas. Parcels sent in contravention of these Regulations were confiscated and dealt with in accordance with instructions from Government Office.

There was a considerable amount of trafficking between prisoners of war and members of the public, and many prosecutions were instituted and convictions obtained. A Government Circular, dated the 13th February, 1917, contained the following notice:—

"The attention of tradesmen and others is directed to the fact that prisoners of war are not permitted to leave their escorts when out on working parties, and it is contrary to the Camp Regulations for them to communicate with persons, or to make purchases, or accept parcels, letters, or other articles, when so working, either directly or through a member of the escort. Any tradesman or other person who has communication or dealings with a prisoner of war after this warning will be liable to prosecution under the Defence of the Realm Regulations."

The daily dietary for a prisoner of war, which up till then had been more liberal, was laid down on April 13th, 1917, to consist of—

Bread 8 ounces
Flour ¾ ,,
Salt-cured Herrings 5 ,,
Meat (fresh or frozen) on five days a week 6 ,,
Meat, preserved (tinned) on five days a week . 3 ,,
Salt-cured Codfish (or Herrings) on two days a week , 12 ,,
Margarine 1,,
Tea 3/8 ,,
or Coffee ¾ ,,
Sugar 1 ,,
Milk (condensed) 1-20th of 1 lb. tin.
Salt ½ ounces.
Pepper (black) 1.72 ,,
Oatmea1 3 ,,
Syrup or Jam 1 ,,
Split Peas or Beans or Rice 2 ,,
Fresh Vegetables 10 ,,

Each Prisoner of War employed on work was given four ounces of bread and one ounce of cheese in addition. On the 18th March, 1918, as a result of still further food shortage in the country, the above daily dietary was modified as follows:—

Bread 5 ounces.
Biscuit 3 ,,
Flour ¾ ,,
*meat (fresh or frozen) on five days a week 4 ,,
or Meat, preserved (tinned) on five days a week 3 ,,
Salt-cured Herrings, on two days a week 12 ,,
Edible Fat
½ ,,
Tea V,,
or Coffee
½ ounces.
Sugar .1 ,,
Salt
½ ,,
Pepper (black) 1/72 ,,
Oatmeal . 4 ,,
Syrup or Jam 1 ,,
Split Peas, or Beans, or Rice1 ,
Potatoes . . 20 ,,
Fresh Vegetables (other than Potatoes~. . 4 ,,

*On three days when fresh or frozen meat was issued, eight ounces of herring were issued in addition.

Each Prisoner of War employed on work received two ounces of bread, three ounces of biscuit, and one ounce of cheese in addition. In no other case was this additional food given, except on medical certificate.

Footnotes

1 The Compound system at Knockaloe Camp was similar to what was adopted in Norman’s Cross Camp. By dividing the Camp into self-contained Compounds of 1,000 prisoners each, not only was the maintenance of discipline rendered easier, but the distribution of stores was greatly facilitated. The scheme had the further advantage of reducing sentries

2 Apart from the work of the Committee, I had much correspondence, both official and demi-official, with Sir John Pedder and Mr. Waller. They were ever ready to help, in spite of their very heavy official duties.

3 Mr. M. L. Waller, C.B., a Prison Commissioner, who was Head of the Prisoner of War Division at the Home Office, was a member of the Committee, as was also Lieut.-Colonel Larking, C.B.E., of the Prisoner of War Directorate at the War Office.

4 The Military Courts were composed of officers serving in the Isle of Man, usually selected from the Guards of the Camps other than the one in which the prisoner of war under trial was interned. Mr. R. B. Moore, Advocate, of the Attorney-General’s Office, acted as Judge Advocate at these Courts. An immense amount of additional work devolved on the Attorney-General (Mr. George Ring) and his Office as the result of War Legislation.

5 Lieut.-Colonel H. W. Madoc, C.B.E., M.V.O., had served in the South African Constabulary. In 1911 he was appointed Chief Constable of the Isle of Man Constabulary. He held the appointment of Commandant of Douglas Prisoner of War Camp for the duration of the entire war. It was a most difficult camp to command, owing to the various classes of prisoners interned.

6 Other members of the Staff were Mr J. E. Douglas (Works Officer), Lieutenant C. Campbell and Lieutenant F. Sugg, the Lancashire cricketer (in turn Camp Quartermasters), and Quartermaster-Sergeant P. Bregazzi, of the Isle of Man Volunteers.

7 This proved an impossibility, as, at a later date, railway-sleeper roads had to be made throughout the Camp at very considerable cost. There were two or three miles of such roads.

8 After the Camp was completed, a special railway line had to be constructed from the centre of Knockaloe Camp to the harbour at Peel, a distance of two miles ; it was under the control of the Works Officer, and was used for the transport of coal and stores to the Camp. The traffic was so heavy (Knockaloe Camp containing at times a population of 26,000) that a Transport Office had to be formed at the Camp.

9 The Works Officer used to refer to a portion of the sewer which passed over the cliff as a "duck-foot bend." Having made reference to the "duck-foot bend " in a report, I was asked by an official at the Home Office if it had any connection with. the Fox Trot.

10 The censoring work at Knockaloe Camp was a very large undertaking, the mail often comprising three or four cart loads of mail bags with letters and parcels. The censors had to examine all articles most meticulously. The use of invisible inks to evade censorship was a common practice; the insertion of letters in cakes and other articles of food was also resorted to, necessitating the censors cutting all such articles. Walnuts even had to be opened, as messages had been found in them. The use of codes on picture postcards as ornamentation for the borders of garments was freely adopted.

11 Lieut.-Colonel B. Metcalfe-Smith, C.B.E., before corning to Knockaloe Camp as Commandant, had been Assistant Commandant at a Prisoner of War Camp in England. He introduced many changes for the better at Knockaloe, and was in command of the Camp at its most difficult period.

12 Colonel Hans Hamilton had, for many years, commanded the Northumberland Artillery Militia. He had been a County Court Judge in England, and when ho came to Knockaloe he was sixty-five years of age ; notwithstanding his age, after commanding a battalion of Territorials in England, he proceeded on active service to France, where he was a Town Major. His energy and enthusiasm were inexhaustible, while his sympathy and sense of humour cheered his men in their monotonous task at Knockaloe.

13 To break the monotony of life at Knockaloe, a club was formed by the Officers of the Camp Staff and Guard, and the Y.M.C.A. erected a hut for the men. On 15th December, 1916, I received a letter from the Chairman of the Committee of the Officers’ Club, intimating that on 12th December a resolution was passed unanimously "that a vote of thanks be tendered to the Government Secretary for his kind cooperation and valuable assistance in the formation of the Club . The members wish to place on record how very much they appreciate the " Club."

14 Brigadier-General D’A. Thomas, C.M.G., had served in France and at Salonica during the war. He re-organized the whole military system at the Prisoner of War Camps. He was most popular with everyone, and took a keen interest in the life of the Island. When the Prisoner of War Camps contained 25,000 prisoners, the Guard Troops under the command of General Thomas were about 2,500 strong.

15 An inquest was held into the circumstances of the death of every prisoner of war who died in internment in the Isle of Man, and newspaper reports of the proceedings appeared.


 

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