THE son of a German officer who was a prisoner of war at Skipton’s Raikeswood Camp during the latter part of World War One, has been talking to Skipton researcher Anne Buckley.

Ernesto Brucker, who lives in Buenos Aires, is the son of Georg Brucker who was imprisoned in Raikeswood Camp from January 1918 until October 1919.

Ernesto heard about a book, Kriegsgefangen in Skipton - translated as Prisoner of War in Skipton - which had been written in secret by the German officers and smuggled out of camp in diaries on repatriation.

It describes in detail, with a number of illustrations, the experience of life in captivity in the Skipton camp.

The book gives a detailed insight into their treatment in the camp, their feelings about the war and their longing to go home.

The book is being translated into English and is due to be published early next year.

Ernesto had got in touch with Anne in 2017, wanting to know more about the book and providing more information and photographs.

Last month Anne was travelling through Buenos Aires on her way to Patagonia, where she was team manager for GB mountain running team for the World Championships.

She said: “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet Ernesto so I was given permission to travel to Buenos Aires 24 hours ahead of the group.

“Ernesto is very fit and active and he took me on a walking tour of the city centre.

“He brought a box of his father’s photographs and documents to show me. We spoke in German. Ernesto is bilingual in German and Spanish, although he speaks Spanish at home because his wife is Argentinian.”

Anne learned from Ernesto that, following repatriation, Georg Brucker returned to work in a bank in Bad Tölz in Bavaria.

In 1920 he was sent to work in Buenos Aires for a year as part of Deutsche Bank’s transatlantic operations, but he met his future wife and decided to stay.

When World War One broke out, Georg Brucker was captured at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

He told his family that it was ‘two tall Canadians’ who took him prisoner.

He was a reservist lieutenant and did not like having to force the men from his unit to go ‘over the top’ by threatening them with his pistol.

Georg Brucker’s wife and Ernesto’s mother, Annaliese Heffter, was also German.

She had moved to Argentina at the age of six with her family.

Her father, Werner Heffter (1871-1923), and grandfather, Lothar Engelbert Heffter (1829 – 1887) were eminent chemists.

Anne added: “Ernesto first got in contact with me in April 2017 after he had found the project website.

“He wanted to know more about Kriegsgefangen in Skipton written by the German prisoners in Skipton.

“Ernesto himself has two children. His daughter, Maria, is an English teacher in Buenos Aires, while his son Gerardo has followed the family tradition from his mother’s side and is a chemist in Colorado.

Anne has led a team of translators to produce an English version of the book written by the German officers.

It will be published by Pen & Sword next year along with an introductory chapter about the camp and the men.

Called German Prisoners Of The Great War: Life In A Yorkshire Camp, the front cover is from a black and white photograph loaned to Anne and her team from Ernesto.

Pen & Sword have added colour bringing the officers to life.

Anne added: “Ernesto is delighted that his father’s picture will be on the front cover of the book.”

The English version of the book provides a ‘vivid insight into the experience of the soldiers revealed through their own words’.

It features graphic illustrations drawn by the prisoners and a rare, direct view of a neglected aspect of First World War history.

It describes work done with the local community to uncover the story of the camp including archaeology and film making.

Anne is working with the Craven and the First World War Heritage Lottery funded project which aims to build a greater understanding of life in Craven during WW1 through public engagement activities.

It will be priced at £19.99.