SKIPTON's war memorial at the top of High Street was unveiled and dedicated on April 8, 1922 and became the focus of Remembrance Sunday the following November 11. We look back at the ceremonies which took place 50 and 25 years ago.

SIXTEEN months after the end of the blood bath if World War One, the burgers of Skipton set about arrangements to build a memorial to the fallen heroes. It was to honour the 370 men who lost their lives in Skipton and its environs between 1914 and 1918.

In March, 1920, the town's War Memorial Committee commissioned sculptor John Cassidy to model the monument which had been designed by architect James Henry Sellers who from Oldham.

Cassidy was an Irish born, Manchester based sculptor whose studio was situated for many years in Chorlton in Medlock. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and he was a member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts.

Their collaboration resulted in a triangular limestone pillar, about 20 feet high, which features a bronze figure of "Winged Victory" and at the base the modelling of a nude man in the act of breaking a sward. The project cost £3,000.

November 1991- twenty five years ago - was a memorable occasion in the history of Skipton Royal British Legion. It saw for the first time the Skipton standard taking part in the National Festival of Remembrance in London.

The honour of attending the Muster of Standards at the Royal Albert Hall was given to Malcolm Garforth who lived in Burnside Crescent, Skipton.

He told the Craven Herald at the time: "There is no record of the Skipton standard having been to the Festival of Remembrance in London before. It was an honour to be invited because I was not only representing our branch of the legion but the town as well."

Over 1000 standards were paraded before the Queen and other members of the royal family. Malcolm was watched by chairman of the legion, George Goodison, who admitted it was a nerve-wracking experience.

"It seemed easy when we did the rehearsal in an empty Albert Hall but when it came to the real thing it was a shock seeing all those people there, " he said.

Malcolm had been involved with the legion since 1974 and had served in the army for 16 years. His family had a long and remarkable history with the army, members having served since 1749. They were with the the 1st Battalion of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry which later became the 2nd Battalion of the Light Infantry regiment.

In Settle, the ceremony had an international flavour with people attending from Banyuls sur Mer in France. The town was involved in setting up twinning arrangements. The ceremony was also attended by a representative of the French Embassy in London and to maintain the international flavour of the event, the national anthems of France and the USA were played by Giggleswick and Settle Silver Band.

There were other services throughout the broader Skipton area - in Silsden, Embsay, Cononley, Cowling, Kildwick, Steeton, Hellifield, Linton, Burnsall and Kettlewell.

November 1966 saw one of the largest gatherings for many years around the memorial, the Craven Herald reported in the November 18 edition and it was matched by the high attendance down the valley at Kildwick Church where Cross Hills and District Royal British Legion held its Remembrance Day ceremony.

The reporter who attended the service at Barnoldswick Memorial Gardens in Kelbrook Road wrote poetically of how the people paying homage to the dead of two world wars stood beneath weeping skies and in a wind which chilled to the very marrow.

Recorded is how the number of First World War warriors attending the service were few and many of those wearing the medals indicating they fought in Europe or the Eighth army in the Middle East of the Far Eastern theatre during the 1939-45 war were reaching the veteran stage.

Stalwart attender was 79-year-old Clarence Downes of Lower Park Street, Barnoldswick, who had not missed a single Remembrance Day parade since they began.

The journalist rounds off the report with the words: "A short burst of rain spurted from the heavy skies. Umbrellas went up and men who spent weeks, perhaps even months, up to their knees in Flanders' mud in World War One sought the shelter and comfort of home. It was not disrespectful. They have become elderly - age has wearied them."

Fifty years earlier, the Craven Herald of November 10, 1916 had its usual list of the dead and wounded in France and elsewhere. There were six reports plus the story of a Military Cross won by 2nd Lieutenant Harold Longbottom of Silsden.

Not coming back home would be Lance Corporal Thomas Wilcock, a father of two small children, a soldier with the West Riding Regiment who died on October 23 in France. He had in August 1915 been wounded in the Dardanelles.

Private Sylvester Petty, of Sutton, also of the West Riding Regiment, had lost his life on October 7 and Quarter Master Sergeant Bertie Wallbank of Earby, had been killed, aged 21, in France.

Private Joseph Priestley of Hellifield, a member of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment - he had worked at Hellifield station before joining up - was killed in France on October 27. He was 23. Joseph Burke of Bold Venture Street, Skipton, had been a weaver before enlisting with the West Riding Regiment. He died on October 12, aged 38, and Private Percy Miller of the West Riding Regiment, who hailed from Carleton, died on September 18.