THE life of Skipton man Sidney Waterfall has been captured in book: A Pacifist’s War: Sid’s story, written by his daughter, Sonia Waterfall.

Sidney Waterfall was born in an upstairs room at 10 Sheep Street, Skipton, the premises of the family stationers and bookshop business until 1978 when it was sold. It is now the premises of W H Smith.

The book is in three parts, the first and last parts being separated by the Second World War years which changed Sid’s life as it did indeed the lives of many young men at the time.

The early chapters are concerned with the history of the family and the history of the building at 10 Sheep Street, Skipton. The family lived above and behind the shop until 1939 when they moved to Embsay where they were to live for the next 50 years.

Sidney and his brother Arnold were close and in the 1930s were renowned for their pot-holing and rock-climbing prowess. Together they pioneered new routes both under and above ground and J J Waterfall’s acted as the headquarters of the Craven Pothole Club in it’s early years.

The Waterfall family were Quakers and when war came, the two boys had no choice but to become Conscientious Objectors.

Arnold was sent to work on the land but Sid agreed to take a non-combatant role and became a medic with the Royal Army Medical Corps. In 1941 he was shipped to Egypt, then Crete, survived the Battle of Crete but was captured and transported to Stalag VIIIB in Silesia (now Poland) and spent the next three-and-a-half years as a POW. In January 1945 he began the Long March when the Germans emptied the POW camps ahead of the Russian advance and forced the inmates to march west across Europe in the depths of winter and on starvation rations. He was liberated by the US Army and repatriated back to the UK in April 1945.

After the war he joined his brother Arnold in the family business and they worked together at J J Waterfall’s for the next 33 years. Sid continued his interest in pot-holing and rock-climbing but also added fell walking to the mix as he got older. The ‘Wednesday Nighters’ came into being in the late 1950s and they were an informal group of similarly-minded men usually either Craven Pothole Club or Yorkshire Ramblers Association members. They met up every Wednesday, rain or shine, and quartered the Dales and East Lancashire for the next 45 years.

A Pacifist’s War: Sid’s story is to be launched with a book-signing at W H Smith’s in Skipton on Wednesday 4th August, 11am to 3pm. At present the book is available online from the publisher at with signed copies available at . Both online outlets sell it for £11 plus P&P.

From August 1st it will also be available from local stockists: Bolton Abbey Bookshops; Sypeland at Pateley Bridge; Stump Cross Caverns; The Stripey Badger Bookshop at Grassington; Limestone Books at Settle; Clapham Village Store; the Grove Bookshop at Ilkley and W H Smith’s at Skipton.

About the author: Sonia Waterfall was born and bred in the Yorkshire Dales before leaving home for university in Norwich, Newcastle and finally Sheffield where she gained an MA in Librarianship.

She emigrated to New Zealand with her husband in 1972 and spent the next fifteen years there, living and working in both the North and South Islands.

In 1987 she went as a volunteer to Tokelau, a New Zealand dependency in the South |Pacific where she worked for two years before moving to Australia with her new partner where she lived for the next 25 years except for one year teaching English as a second language in South Korea.

Sonia retired in 2007 and for the next ten years spent half the year in the UK and half in Australia. In 2017 she settled permanently near her sister in Rothbury, Northumberland.

She started writing on retirement and has self-published two previous books, Escape to Auschwitz: Hulda’s story, an account of her grandmother’s life and death during World War II and Choices and Opportunities: memories of a Baby Boomer, her memoir. All her books are available from the publisher at with signed copies available at .