Why did we do this?

Over 100 years ago, on 17 November 1914, over 23,000 internees, such as Josef Pilates, together with the RDC and blue guards, including Archibald Knox, started moving into Knockaloe Farm, Patrick Village, on the Isle of Man. It became the largest WW1 internment camp in the world, with over 30,000 enemy alien civilian men spending some time there, and was central to the British Government's 'Alien' policy during WW1.

With the end of the war and the dismantling of the camp, and the later destruction of most of the camp records, the stories of those interned at Knockaloe had been largely forgotten as families sought to hide their German links, especially with a second world war imminent, and the impact of both of those wars on so many families meant that so many of the enemy alien families decided to keep the experiences of internment hidden from future generations, and the only obvious evidence of this incredible story of internment at the entrance to Knockaloe was a small Government sign noting its role as an internment camp during WW1.

This is an incredible previously largely untold story of families torn apart, of how internees coped with imprisonment for no crime other than being born in a country Britain was now at war with, but it is also an incredible story of human resiliance and of those who sought to help them cope. 

So in 2012 a project commenced to establish a Registered Charity, set up within Patrick Village, to utilise the 150 year old Patrick Village School building to develop an on-site Visitors Centre, with an underlying Database collating the lost records of WW1 internees, to bring this very human aspect of Patrick Village and Isle of Man history to life and to collate these stories for future generations.

With no Government or Lottery support, it was up to individual donations, plus some much appreciated grants from the Gough Ritchie Trust, to fund the renovation of the damp and crumbling old School building. Ongoing, the Trustees separately fund some part time staff support which is critical in allowing us to keep on top of the ongoing work involved in the Charity. We are also incredibly thankful for the many volunteers who have helped us with so many visits, and with buiding our archive information.

We have had some amazing local and internee descendant donations over the years since we launched and these have been so much appreciated by the Charity, and we critically need to encourage ongoing support to ensure the Charity can continue to be maintained and developed into the future.

Your ongoing donations and support are so critical and so very much appreciated. Thank You!