WW1 internment camp secrets revealed at Knockaloe Farm

Excavation of WW1 internment camp on Isle of Man

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Work to excavate the site of an internment camp which housed 26,000 people during World War One is taking place 100 years after it was built.

About 23,000 prisoners of war, mainly from Germany, were detained at the Knockaloe Farm camp in the Isle of Man, which also housed 3,000 guards.

Professor Harold Mytum said the project was "very appropriate" during the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WW1.

After closure in 1919, the site was returned to its former state as a farm.

Prof Mytum, director of the centre for Manx studies at Liverpool University, is leading the dig.

Start Quote

Professor Harold Mytum

It was the size of a small town and built in just 12 months”

End Quote Professor Harold Mytum

He said: "It was the size of a small town and built in just 12 months.

"We want to find out how it was constructed and try and establish more about the life of the people who lived there."

"We've already found some of the infrastructure and we know from original documents that there were shower blocks, kitchens and hospitals".

This 22-acre camp was divided into 23 compounds, each with four camps made up of wooden hut-like buildings.

The trial excavation, carried out by students from Liverpool, North America and the Isle of Man is the start of a project that will try to better define the role the Isle of Man played in WW1.

People will have a chance to view the site during an open day on Sunday between 13:30 and 16:30 BST.

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