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Douglas Camp internee-made matchbox cover

Date made: 1915

Description: Douglas Camp matchbox cover. A handmade wooden matchbox cover, the cover is open at one end to put the box of matches in to keep them dry and from being crushed. The wooden cover has a strip of emery paper on one side for striking matches and the internee, prisoner of war number '2930' on the other side of the box. The top of the box has a carved, incised simple design of a Manx cat, the three legs and the inscription 'Douglas I.O.M 1914-15'. The box and carving is very simply made.

It belonged to Christian Hermann Karl Korf, a German tailor, and came into the museum collection via his daughter. He appears on the 1911 census as Hermann Korf, a tailor with a British-born wife and family. His address was High Stret, Ongar, Essex. He was arrested in October 1914 and sent to the Isle of Man; he was released in April 1915, but not allowed to return to his business which consequently collapsed. Following his death aged 55 his wife struggled to regain her British citizenship which had deemed to have been lost on her marriage, and her husband's estate which had been seized as German property.

During the First World War (1914-1918) the Isle of Man was used as an internment base for civilian ‘enemy aliens’. They were held in two camps, a requisitioned holiday camp in Douglas and a purpose built camp located at Knockaloe near Peel on the west coast of the Island. These held at their peaks over 4,000 and 23,000 men in some cases for nearly five years between opening in 1914 and final closure in 1919.

Measurements: overall: 7.5 x 5 x 2.3 cm

Materials: wood

Object name: matchbox cover

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2004-0109



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