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Carved bone vase from Knockaloe Camp

Date made: 1914-1919

Maker: Quysner, Fred

Description: This bone was carved in Knockaloe Internment Camp by Fred Quysner, a German pork butcher from Blackburn, Lancashire. Quysner and his brother were devout Lutherans, and strongly anti-militarist in their beliefs. They left Germany in the late nineteenth century, to avoid being conscripted into the Prussian army. None the less, both were arrested and interned at Handforth Camp shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914. Shortly afterwards they were released, only to be re-arrested in 1915. Fred Quysner was then sent to the Isle of Man. He returned to Blackburn after the First World War and continued with his business. He kept this bone which he had carved as a souvenir, before giving it to a friend.

During the First World War (1914-1918) the Isle of Man was used as an internment base for civilian ‘enemy aliens’. Its biggest camp was known as Knockaloe Camp, Patrick, situated in the west of the Island (other historic names referring to the camp include Knockaloe P.O.W. Camp, Knockaloe Prisoner of War Camp and Knockaloe Alien Detention Camp). Originally designed for 5,000 people, at its peak it housed up to 23,000 men and as many as 30,000 men may have been interned in total. The confinement of the prisoners led to specific behavioural issues known as ‘barbed wire disease’. Receiving its name from the aimless promenading of inmates up and down the barbed-wire boundary, other symptoms included moroseness and avoidance of others. It was decided that providing practical stimulation would help. The Friends’ Emergency Committee (a Quaker organisation) based in Great Britain was invited to the Island from 1915 onwards with the aim of providing books, tools, equipment and materials for the inmates to work and establish workshops.

Materials: bone, wood

Object name: vase

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2012-0009



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Please contact me, as I have one of these vases, made very similar. P.O.W. 6590 on the back. I live in the United States...Roanoke, Virginia. Thank you, Jeana Azar. - Jeana Azar Report this

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