First World War stories from the Isle of Man

Fri, 09 Feb 2018

Some of the Isle of Man’s most interesting stories from the First World War are now available online thanks to a series of six short films inspired by the new exhibition at the Manx Aviation Museum.

The films produced by Culture Vannin cover subjects like ‘The first and last Manx deaths of WWI’, ‘The Island’s first aeroplane crash’, ‘The dead of Douglas’ and ‘Manx Conscientious Objectors.’

The director of the independent museum near Ronaldsway, Ivor Ramsden, tells some of the stories featured in the exhibition, giving a vivid picture of the Island’s experience of the war.

“I was struck by how important and moving some of the stories from the exhibition were when I visited,” said James Franklin, Online and Educational Resources Officer at Culture Vannin.

“The First World War is a subject so vast and difficult to comprehend, but I felt that some of the stories in the exhibition offered a wonderfully easy way into this complex part of the Island’s history.”

A map plotting every home in Douglas which suffered a death from the conflict has been a popular feature of the exhibition since opening and it now features in a film. The stories of the first and last deaths of the war offer a harrowing insight into the meaning of lost lives in the conflict. This is taken poignantly further in a film about the postcards from a daughter to her soon-to-be-killed father at the front.

Not all the films are morbid though. The story of the Isle of Man’s first aeroplane crash (in 1919) is the humorous tale of a stunt fighter pilot showing off over King William’s College whilst on the run from court martial in England. It intriguingly includes an appeal for more information or objects from the public.

“The First World War still very much forms a part of our national identity in the Isle of Man. It is great to be able to help people better comprehend it and, we hope, encourage them to find out more, by visiting exhibitions such as those at the Aviation Museum,” said James Franklin.

The films are available here:

Six First World War Stories from the Isle of Man

The Manx Aviation Museum is currently open 10am to 4.30pm every Saturday and Sunday (more information here).