Knockaloe website launches with sad tale

Karl Fahlbusch

Karl Fahlbusch

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A new website aiming to record the stories of Knockaloe internees, guards and village members has been launched.

November 17 was the centenary of the first internees moving into Knockaloe and to commemorate the day, The Knockaloe Exhibition and Patrick Community Centre Limited has put up the first internee story on its website.

The charity hope to collate the stories by reaching out to descendants around the globe, via the internet, to tell the stories of their lives, including their stories leading to, and after, internment, and to help other descendants find out more.

It also hopes to set up a visitors’ centre based in the old Patrick School Hall.

The first website posting tells the sad story of 23-year-old German born Karl Fahlbusch, who travelled to England in 1888 hoping to find a new life.

It is believed he married Bavarian opera singer, Franziska Crist, in Whitechapel, London and settled in the Wirral to bring up their five children.

By 1914 the family had changed their name to Myerson and Karl and his wife had become Charles and Francis.

Karl’s son, Albert, had even tried to fight for the Allies but was disqualified due to poor eyesight.

Karl was now 49, and was working as an interpreter, speaking seven languages but he was classed as an ‘enemy alien’ when war broke out.

He was subsequently sent to Knockaloe Farm where he spent the duration of the war.

Even after the war there was no happy ending or family reunion for Karl.

He was sent back to Germany and died there alone whilst his wife and children remained in England.

The Red Cross informed his wife of his death and she wore black for the remainder of her life.

Charity director, Alison Jones, said: ‘Just like many other ex-internees and their families, Karl and his family did not speak much of his internment.

‘The aftermath of the war brought an unsettled peace and having German blood was something to hide.

‘Just like thousands of others, this became a lost period of the family history.

‘It is Karl’s great granddaughter who has been instrumental in piecing together her family history from fragmentary family information.

‘Ironically. she lives with her husband and chldren less than two miles from where her Great Grandfather was interned and we are delighted that she has volunteered to help us to help other descendants learn something of their family’s past.’

The charity would also love to hear from anyone who went to Patrick School or lived in the village who may have any photos or stories of that time.

Visit the new website at www.knockaloe.im or contact Alison on 483261 or via info@knockaloe.

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