Skipton’s First World War Prisoner-of-War Camp
- Start date: 01 September 2015
- End date: 01 September 2099
- Funder: Ignite Funding 2015-16; HLF 2017-19; Erasmus 2017-18; First World War Network 2019; University of Leeds Q-Step (summer 2019); University of Leeds Laidlaw Scholarship (2020-22).
- Primary investigator: Anne Buckley (was Caroline Summers 2015-16)
- External co-investigators: Rob Freeman (Project Officer Craven and the First World War HLF centenary project) 2015-2019
Outlined below in project description
Partners and collaborators
Skipton Library. Craven Museum.
The aim of this project is to research the forgotten story of the First World War prisoner-of war camp in Skipton, North Yorkshire. The project started with the discovery of a book, Kriegsgefangen in Skipton, written by a group of the German prisoners in camp and published in Munich in 1920 following their repatriation. The book provides an account of life in the camp through anecdotes, sketches and poems and bears witness to a rarely explored perspective on the war and its immediate aftermath as they are described through the eyes of the German POWs. An English translation was produced by staff and students of the University of Leeds and local volunteers during 2015-2019 and was published in 2021 with an introductory chapter based on research into the camp and the men.
During the centenary of the First World War the project team collaborated with the Heritage Lottery funded Craven and the First World War project, which aimed to build a greater understanding of life in Craven during the First World War with public engagement activities. Close collaboration continues with Craven Museum and Skipton Library.
Research continues into the lives of the German prisoners and contact is being made with descendants with the aim of building a greater understanding of the impact of war and imprisonment.
Ignite Funding 2015-16. Value: £1779.36.
HLF 2017-19 (as part of the Craven and the First World War centenary project). Value: £96,700 (this covered a number of projects within the centenary project but the main focus was the camp).
Erasmus 2017-18 to attend conference in Germany. Value: £541.64.
First World War Network 2019 (for information board on site of camp). Value: £1000.
University of Leeds Q-Step (summer 2019): 2 interns
University of Leeds Laidlaw Scholarship (2020-22): 1 Laidlaw scholar. Value: £1497.50.
Mail Online 30.04.21: Bracing walks through the Yorkshire countryside and chamber music: The pampered life of German prisoners held in Britain during the First World War is revealed in new book: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9529193/The-pampered-life-German-prisoners-held-Britain-World-War.html
Also in BBC York (broadcast), Daily Star of Scotland.
BBC Look North 29.04.2021: Feature on book launch of German Prisoners of the Great War: Captivity in a Yorkshire Camp (Pen & Sword, 9 February 2021) taking place later in the day.
Yorkshire Post 28.04.2021: Lost story of a Yorkshire First World War prisoner of war camp revealed in new book https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/education/lost-story-of-a-yorkshire-first-world-war-prisoner-of-war-camp-revealed-in-new-book-3217385
Yorkshire Post 09.02.2021: Skipton’s Prisoners of War: New book reveals escape attempts, Dales walks and Spanish flu outbreak in Yorkshire WWI camp https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/heritage-and-retro/heritage/skiptons-prisoners-of-war-new-book-reveals-escape-attempts-dales-walks-and-spanish-flu-outbreak-in-yorkshire-wwi-camp-3159143?r=1041
BBC Look North 12.07.2019: Feature on the opening of a new information board on the site of the POW camp in Skipton by actor Wolf Kahler, grandson of the senior German officer in the camp. Available here: https://kriegsgefangen.leeds.ac.uk/grandson-of-german-senior-officer-visits-skipton/
BBC Look North 20.09.2018: Feature on the Spanish Flu outbreak in the WWI POW camp in Skipton including extracts from the translation of Kriegsgefangen in Skipton
Stray FM 02.08.2018: German shell found in a Garden in Skipton https://www.strayfm.com/news/local-news/2647627/german-shell-found-in-a-garden-in-skipton/
Yorkshire Post 01.08.2018: German PoW camp in the Dales finally gives up its secrets https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/german-pow-camp-in-the-dales-finally-gives-up-its-secrets-1-9278608
BBC Look North 31.07.2018: Feature on archeaological dig on site of former POW camp
Western Front Association Dispatches Podcast 15.06.2018
Yorkshire Post 27.07.2017: Remarkable story of forgotten PoW camp in the Dales http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/unearthed-after-a-century-remarkable-story-of-forgotten-pow-camp-in-the-dales-1-8670703
Yorkshire Dales Review Spring 2017: Not lost in translation
Stray FM interview: Skipton kids dig into the past, August 2016 https://www.strayfm.com/news/local-news/2059979/video-skipton-kids-dig-into-past/
Regular articles in the Craven Herald and Telegraph & Argus, 2015 – present (approx. 30 articles)
Oct/Nov 18 Craven and the First World War exhibition, Skipton Town Hall
27.06.18 Raikeswood Camp information evening, Skipton Town Hall
15.05.18 Skipton Library Heritage Fair
17.03.18 University of Leeds Be Curious festival
12.07.17 Raikeswood Camp information evening, Skipton Town Hall
25.03.17 University of Leeds Be Curious festival
01.10.16 Leeds City Museum Community Day
12.07.16 Raikeswood Camp information evening, Skipton Town Hall
11.04.16 Kriegsgefangen in Skipton information evening, Skipton library
08.02.16 Kriegsgefangen in Skipton information evening, Skipton library
11.11.15 Craven Remembers, Skipton library
07.04.21 Amerdale Hall (online)
01.04.21 Skipton Town Hall (online)
04.03.21 Skipton Town Hall (online)
11.02.21 Durham Western Front Association (online)
06.02.21 Harrogate Archaeology Club (online)
04.03.20 Skipton Rotary Club
26.02.20 Hebden Bridge Local History Society
14.02.20 Bradford Rotary Club
17.01.20 University of York
17.10.19 Olicana Historical Society
15.10.19 Halifax Antiquarian Society
10.10.19 Settle U3A
16.05.19 Malham Local History Group
19.03.19 Earby Local History Society
20.02.19 Skipton U3A
14.02.19 MG Car Club Yorkshire
17.10.18 Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society
16.10.18 Bolton Abbey WI
11.10.18 Bingley Historical Society
11.09.18 Padiham U3A Local History Group
19.06.18 University of Freiburg
12.04.18 Halifax Great War Heritage Society
12.03.18 Skipton U3A
31.01.18 Burnley Western Front Association
17.01.18 Café Humanité group, Ilkley
29.11.17 Padiham Rotary Club
04.11.17 Harrogate Archaeological Society
04.10.17 Skipton Civic Society
23.05.17 Padiham U3A Local History group
14.03.17 Bordley, Cracoe, Hetton and Rylstone Local History Group
22.02.17 Settle U3A German group
25.01.17 Bradford World War I group
14.01.17 Yorkshire Dales Society
20.05.21 3D Archaeological Society
Workshops for schools:
10.01.17 Workshop for 6th form German students at South Craven School
06.02.17 Workshop for 6th form German students from various schools at University of Leeds
15.06.16 Workshop for pupils from various schools at University of Leeds
04.06.16 Launch of In Search of Raikeswood Camp project – a project involving 20 local secondary school pupils, culminating with an archaeological dig on a section of the site of the POW camp in August 2016.
18.06.21 Greatwood Primary School
10.04.18 WWI Activities Day for refugee families in Skipton Town Hall/Museum
Publications and outputs
German Prisoners of the Great War: Captivity in a Yorkshire Camp (Pen & Sword, 9 February 2021). https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/German-Prisoners-of-the-Great-War-Hardback/p/17570
10-13 September 2019, International Society for First World War Studies conference, University of Leeds. The Legacy of First World War Captivity: A Case Study from a Yorkshire Camp.
10 May 2019, German History in the North, University of Salford. Delayed repatriation of German prisoners of war after WWI and consequences for their mental health.
28-30 March 2019, Knockaloe, a local, national, global perspective. A Conference to launch the ‘Centre for WWI Internment’, Isle of Man. The Great Escape: From Tsingtao to Skipton (via Knockaloe).
6-8 September 2018, 1918-2018: An International Conference, University of Wolverhampton: Paper kites and a red balloon: Coping strategies of German POWs awaiting release.
17-18 November 2017, British Commission for Military History Conference, University of Cambridge: Sherlock Holmes, Saint-Saëns and Schlagball: an analysis of the motivations for the camp activities of officer POWs in WWI using Raikeswood Camp, Skipton as a case study.