The Great War on the Isle of Man

“One might even argue that the Isle of Man as a modern state was created during the First World War…”


Matthew Richardson "This Terrible Ordeal: Manx Letters, Diaries and Memories of the Great War"

When the Great War broke out in 1914, the Isle of Man was enjoying the peak of its tourism boom, with over 650,000 visitors to the island in 1913. Like every other aspect of life on the island, this would be affected by the events of the next four years, causing serious financial problems for the thousands of Manx people who relied on visitors for their livelihood. This would lead to political unrest and change before 1918.

Meanwhile, the island sent 8,261 men to fight, of whom 2,334 would be killed, wounded or missing by 1918, making Manx casualties among the highest of any area. Manxmen also served at sea in the Royal Navy and merchant navy. As a sea-bound nation, the island would also experience close encounters with U-boats and bear witness to major events such as the sinking of the Lusitania.

Meanwhile, women worked to adapt to the changes that war brought, while the British government sent tens of thousands of ‘enemy aliens’ to live in captivity on the Isle of Man for the duration of the war.

Explore Primary Evidence About the Great War Here

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