A T the end of June, 1919, the Craven Herald produced a special, four page supplement to commemorate the signing of The Treaty of Peace with Germany. It contained a timeline of the war, and the pictures of all of the Craven officers who had died in the First World War, along with a list of all those who had been awarded medals for gallantry. The war had lasted four years and 323 days. There had been an Armistice of 220 days, and preparation of the Treaty had taken 161 days.

The Herald reported that the signing of the Peace Treaty took place in the historic Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, on the Saturday afternoon of June 28, 1919.

The two German delegates, Herr Mueller, Minister for Foreign Affairs; and Dr Bell, Minister for Railways, were first to sign, followed by the American delegation, headed by President Woodrow Wilson, and then the British, headed by Prime Minister, David Lloyd George. After the British came the French Prime Minister, George Clemenceau; then Italy and Japan, the last of the great powers; followed by the smaller nations, headed by Belgium.

In its list of honours, the Herald said it had done its best to compile an accurate record, hurriedly compiled from its files of the previous four years. The number - about 420 - was it believed a full record of all those from Craven who had been awarded one of the coveted decorations.

The highest honour, the Victoria Cross, had been won by two men - the Rev Theodore Bayley Hardy DSO, MC, formerly headmaster at Bentham Grammar School, and Second Lieutenant Thomas Harold Broadbent Maufe, Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA), Ilkley.

The Rev Hardy, who was more than 50 years old and had only recently been killed, was believed at the time to be the oldest man in the war to have won the VC. As a Chaplain, he had been attached to the Lincolns, and on three occasions had faced the fire of artillery, machine guns and trench mortars and had rescued injured men, regardless of his own safety. His memory, said the Herald, would be ‘long revered in the district’. Second Lieutenant Maufe was only 20 years old, having joined the RGA when he was 17.

Peace celebrations took place across the country later in July and early August with each town, village and hamlet planning its own celebrations and memorial to its own fallen soldiers, with many preferring the idea of a recreation hall, swimming bath or playing field, rather than a monument as a memorial to the war.

Skipton’s peace celebrations took place on Saturday, August 2, 1919, with the Herald commenting that they struck a ‘less exuberant note’ than has been the case in some districts’.

There was a comprehensive programme, carried out with complete success, said the Herald, but with an ‘entire absence of ostentatious display’.

The town rejoiced ‘quietly and soberly’ and concentrated on honouring the memory of all those who had died. It was also provided a few hours of enjoyment for the children and the men who had come back, and their womenfolk.

Rain fell for a significant part of the morning, but not sufficiently heavy to prevent the holding of an open air service, at the shrine at the top of the High Street. The afternoon was fine, and there was a large attendance in Blue Buttons Field, off Gargrave Road, for sports events.

Mills and workshops were closed for the day and many shops closed early. Shops and principal buildings were decorated and some of the side streets were unrecognisable under a profusion of banners. During the afternoon the bells of he parish church ‘carried the sentiment of the day’ far over the district in peal after peal.

Highlight of the day was the open air thanksgiving service near the monument at the top of the High Street. It had been built by Messrs Procter and Sons to plans drawn up by Mr AEW Aldridge, surveyor to the Urban Council. It was described by the Herald as a ‘shrine, a simple and temporary erection of wood and plaster - the symbol of the graves of the hundreds of Skipton men’ who would not return from the war.

A large crowd assembled for the service, which lasted for about an hour and which was presided over by the Venerable Archdeacon Cook. Councillor John Walker carried out the unveiling of the shrine before placing a wreath on behalf of members of the Urban Council.

The celebrations also included nearly 100 soldiers from the Raikeswood Camp. They were entertained to ‘high tea’ at the Khaki Club and afterwards received boxes of cigarettes.

Sports in Blue Buttons Field, lent for the occasion by Thomas Fattorini, went on during the afternoon and into the evening, with the most popular being the novelty race for ex-servicemen and the pillow fight for boys. Altogether, there were 260 entries for the children’s events, and 53 for the service, and ex-service men.

The Skipton Ramblers Glee Union gave concerts and the Skipton Prize Brass Band played selections, while Carle Everett added much to the enjoyment with his conjuring and juggling.An ‘Aunt Sally ‘ also claimed a lot of attention.