Original German WWI 1915 Isle of Man Knockaloe Internment Camp Trench Art Bone Tree Trunk Carving

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. On 5 August 1914, the day after World War I broke out, the British Government passed the Aliens Restrictions Act, whereby the British Government could control the movement of “enemy aliens”. General internment of all Germans of military age began in May 1915 following the sinking of the “Lusitania”.

The first 200 internees arrived on the Isle of Man in September 1914 for internment in Cunninghams Camp, Douglas, however following a riot in Douglas camp leading to the death of 5 internees due to overcrowding and the poor quality of the food. Knockaloe Moar farm, a former training camp for Territorial troops, was identified as and eventually became the largest internment camp of WWI. The first of the civilian male internees arrived on 17 November 1914 and ultimately the internees were of various nationalities including German, Austrian and Turkish.

Knockaloe Camp ultimately held “nearly 24,000 prisoners in 23 compounds inside barbed wire, with 4,000 old soldiers acting as armed National Guard, and 250 civilians attending to their wants and comforts…..The camp at Knockaloe was three miles in circumference; 695 miles of barbed wire surrounded the compounds” Samuel Norris “Manx Memories and Movements”.

This is an incredibly detailed high quality carved bone from what appears to the hip of a deer that has an intricate floral design. It is carved and painted to resemble the trunk of a tree with bark and wines. Across the front it reads Knockaloe - Isle of Man 1915. The sculpture is mounted on a wood base and stands 8 inches in overall height and is 5 inches wide at the base.

Prisoners found themselves with loads of downtime and trench art or prison art was not an uncommon by product of their incarceration. However, finding pieces carved from bone in such an intricate manner with high attention to detail and color along with Great War dates is truly rare.


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