THE long-awaited transcription of a German diary which was written by WWI prisoners held at Raikeswood Camp, in Skipton, is now in print.

The original book, Kriegsgefangen in Skipton (Prisoners of War in Skipton), had been secretly written by the German officers and, along with sketches, smuggled out on repatriation.

It was published in Munich in 1920. In the original German foreword former prisoner and one of the co-editors, Fritz Sachsse wrote: “Let this book make its way into the outside world.”

Little could he have imagined the huge amount of interest his and his comrades’ honest accounts of their experiences in a PoW camp in Skipton and its huge historical value, could have had.

A copy of the book, along with some newspaper cuttings, was found in Skipton Library and came to the attention of Skipton resident Anne Buckley, a lecturer in German and Translation Studies with the University of Leeds.

She said no one really knew when or how it got there and that only a handful of people had never known its existence. She said she was overjoyed to see it and a team led by her started the painstaking task of translating it into English.

Now, German Prisoners of the Great War: Life in a Yorkshire Camp, has finally been published by Pen and Sword and it available to buy online.

It’s 352 pages include a chapter written by Anne herself describing how the story of the book came about.

There follows the complete translation of the diary the prisoners took great pains to collate. It also contains a list of the names of those held.

Anne said she was thrilled to see the book in print. She is giving an online talk, the first of Craven Museum’s specialist talks, on March 4 at 7pm where people can listen to a learn all about the camp and the making of the book.

Anne told the Herald: “It’s incredibly exciting to finally see the book in print. It represents the culmination of five years’ work by a large number of people, in particular by the 30 translators.

“I hope that the book will enable more local people to learn about the camp and about the experiences and feelings of the German prisoners who spent almost two years of their lives here in Skipton. In the original German foreword Fritz Sachsse wrote ‘Let this book make its way into the outside world’ and I am delighted that the book is making its way into the English-speaking world a century later. “

Lockdown has prevented an earlier launch of the book which is hoped will take place this summer once restrictions are lifted.

The Herald has followed the story from the beginning, with articles on archaeological digs involving children from Craven schools at the site of the camp, now completely gone and covered partly in housing.

Displays of items found during these digs have been on show and an information board near the entrance to the site off Raikes Road was unveiled during a ceremony in July 2019 in the presence of German actor Wolf Kahler, grandson of imprisoned senior officer Fritz Sachsse.

Tickets for Anne’s talk are at: