12 October 1917 – 14 Skipton POWs captured at Passchendaele

The British attack was launched early in the morning accompanied by high winds and heavy rains. The scenario of 9 October 1917 was repeated: heavy losses on both sides coupled with little gain or loss of territory. From the British point of view the gains in territory were at least more than the previous battle three days earlier. The atrocious weather forced the British to postpone their next offensive until conditions improved.

14 German prisoners were captured that day who would later be imprisoned at Skipton. 12 were junior officers, one was a sergeant and the other was a rifleman. Remarkably only one of the prisoners was wounded. It is not clear why so few of the prisoners were wounded. The prisoners came from quite a number of different regiments. Eleven of the prisoners were reported to have been captured at Passchendaele. The British had in fact been some 2500 yards away from the village at the start of the day. Passchendaele itself would not be captured until the very end of the campaign the following month.

THE BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE, JULY-NOVEMBER 1917 Captured German officers guarded by a Scottish sentry outside a recently taken concrete bunker near Langemarck (Langemark-Poelkapelle), 12 October 1917. Copyright: © IWM (Q 3013). 

Rifleman Ernst Stieding was a machine gunner in the 370th Infantry Regiment. He was 19 years old. He came from the town of Gotha in the Dukedom of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The Duke, Charles Edward was a grandson of Queen Victoria, was born in Surrey, was educated at Eton and amongst his British titles was that of Duke of Albany. Charles Edward was a cousin of King George V (of Britain), but had been given the rank of general in the German army in 1914.