Knockaloe Camp - Role of Mr Madigan

Madigan was seconded from the Metropolitan [London] Police to act as Special Assistant to the Commandant - his role was to help with the investigation of any crimes etc. that took place within the Camps. Before the development of various scientific forensics, the usual Police approach to solving crimes was to develop a network of paid informers - Madigan adopted the same technique. However 'narks' are not appreciated in most societies, the identities of such would soon be known within a camp and Madigan was somewhat restricted in the payments he could offer. In the UK such PoW camps came under Military (War Office) control for interned combatants whilst Civilian Internment camps came under Home Office control although run by the Military. The IoM not being part of the UK and with some degree of Home Rule the two civilian internment Camps came under the Lt Governor Lord Raglan which in practice meant that the Government Secretary, Bertram Sargeaunt, was the real power behind the throne. Douglas Camp was set up, paid for, and the civilian staff, including the seconded Chief Constable as Commandant, appointed by the IoM Government with the guards initially provided by the local Militia - the IoM Volunteers. As the numbers at Douglas increased local resources were soon found to be insufficient and the Army had to provide guards drawn from the old reserve soldiers. Knockaloe was set up with Military Commandants from the start though the IoM government developed the majority of Camp 1 with locally sourced materials and labour before requiring assistance for the materials for later Camps.

[From IoM Government Office file KN4793 dated 3 April 1918 - Commandant Lieut Colonel Metcalfe-Smith to Government Secretary Bertram Sargeaunt.]

Reference Madigans report forwarded to you under my memo 30th March 1918. I Went into Madigans Office on the 31st, and asked him who typed the letter. He said, "his p/w typist" who is an alien, German nationality, Camp 1 Comp,4.
I think that it is most undesirable that the contents of such letters should become known to the aliens. In this particular letter, it was insinuated that the Assistant Commandant had acted wrongly,and that "he, Madigan, proposed at a later stage to lay certain facts before me with a view to precluding various errors of judgement on the part of certain of the Assistant Commandants". This is not the kind of thing the alien typist should know, no doubt he passes it on to others, and the result can only be deplorable, in the interests of discipline.

On my visit, referred to, above, I found a fair number of visitors in the interview room, mingling with them were Madigans Agents, in one case an Agent was sitting at the table with the prisoners, and their women visitors, This I think is most objectionable it gives too great a chance to these Agents to make money.

Madigan himself was shut up in his little office.

Madigan agreed with me, that this practice was objectionable, and said he wanted more accommodation, but this is the first I have heard of such a desire on his part.

Madigans relations with the Assistant Commandants are not happy. I think this is greatly Madigans fault, he is always antagonistic and never consults then,or attempts to enlist their aid.
I have come to the conclusion that results obtained by Madigan, through his Agents are negligeable, and that they, the Agents, do more harm than good.

I should not think of interfering, with his work of investigating for the War Office, finding out particulars of individual prisoners, and obtaining explanations of letters written, etc. I should give every facility for him to interview any prisoner.
Madigan has done most useful work in investigating charges of theft, etc, and obtaining signed statements from witnesses and the persons implicated.

In conclusion, I think it would be very much in the interest of discipline if Madigan could dispense with his regular Agents, who have very real power to foment trouble and discontent, if they choose to do so.

And a follow up letter

With reference to your letter KN. 4793.B. of 7-4-1918. I have the honour to inform you that I have had certain alterations carried out in Mr. Madigan's Office and interview room so that his agents will not use the latter room at all. I have also instructed him not to have letters of the kind referred to, typed by his alien clerk. With regard to the agents, they appear to be necessary in Mr. Madigan's opinion, so for the present I shall not further restrict their activities.

Mr. Madigan suggests that it would be better if the permits issued to visitors could be for a certain hour i.e. 10.0.a.m. 11.0.a.m. 2.0.p.m. 3.0.p.m. 4.p.m. Not more than 12 permits to be issued for any one of these hours. This would allow for a maximum of 80 visits a day.

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