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Italian internee-made ship in a bottle

Date made: c.1945

Description: A clear glass bottle containing a model ship. The wooden ship model has three masts with full rigging, and is flying the red ensign flag and a pennant with 'Scylla' with red, white and blue stripes. The ship model is set in a 'sea' of blue painted plaster. The bottle has a handwritten paper label in the neck with the inscription ' Ricordo di Ramsey.S.Camp D.Magliozzi I.o.M.' and a red screw top.

The ship in a bottle originally belonged to Dr and Mr Hardy and their daughter Sheilagh, with one each of the ships in bottles being given to each of them. The Hardys lived at "Elgin", Lewaigue Gardens, Maughold and it is thought that the Italian internee who made them worked in the market garden at the house. The bottles were taken by the family with them when they emigrated to Australia in 1950 and have been donated by a family friend from Australia following Sheilagh Hardy's death.

The ship in a bottle was made by D. (Damiano) Magliozzi, an Itallian internee. He was originally held at the Metropole Camp, Douglas and was later transferred to “S” Camp, Mooragh Camp, Ramsey before 1.1.1945. as a POW.

When war was declared in September 1939, there were about 75,000 Germans and Austrians living in Britain. Some had lived in Britain for several years, others were economic migrants but many were religious (Jewish) or political refugees who had fled from Nazi persecution in Germany and later in Austria. Following the declaration of war, all German and Austrian nationals had to register as ‘enemy aliens’ and go before a tribunal to determine whether they posed a security risk or not. Only a minority were deemed to have Nazi sympathies (and were immediately arrested and imprisoned), some had their freedom of movement curtailed (for example they couldn’t live near the coast but were otherwise free to do as they wanted) and the majority were deemed genuine refugees and therefore ‘friendly’ enemy aliens. But all this changed when Germany’s invasion of France, Belgium and the Netherlands began on the 10th May 1940 and each of countries soon fell and were occupied by German forces during May and June. By the end of May 1940, British and Allied troops were being evacuated from Dunkirk (many on requisitioned Manx Steam Packet vessels) and on the 10th June, Italy joined the Axis powers with Germany and Britain was now under threat of invasion.

Suddenly there were no ‘friendly’ enemy aliens, just thousands of potential 5th Columnists and enemy spies spread throughout Britain, including thousands of Italians who had lived in Britain for several years. Mass internment of ‘enemy aliens’ was seen as the answer.

On the lsle of Man, Ramsey boarding house keepers had been asked for details about available accommodation in their properties at the beginning of May, only to discover that their homes were being requisitioned by the Government on Monday 13th May. The Mooragh Camp opened on the 27th May 1940 and was created by erecting a double line of barbed wire fencing around the boarding houses and hotels on the Mooragh promenade, but the camp did not include the Mooragh Park which was still open to the public. The camp held about 1,100 internees, who were originally Germans and Austrians, many of them Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution. Mooragh Camp was the last men’s camp to close on 2nd August 1945.

Italian-made craftwork is more common than German. The Italians, as predominantly economic rather than political migrants to Britain, found it harder to demonstrate anti-fascist credentials. Thus they tended to be held on the Island for longer than the Germans.

Measurements: overall: 7.3 cm x 20 cm x 4 cm

Materials: glass, metal, wood

Object name: ship in a bottle

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2007-0154



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