26 October 1917: 13 Skipton POWs captured at Passchendaele

The Third Battles of Ypres, commonly known as Passchendaele, was now entering its final stage. The battle itself had started on 31 July. Many exhausted ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) troops had been replaced by Canadian troops. The plan was to advance at three or four day intervals capturing and securing a small amount of ground in each attack. Progress was not going to be rapid by any means, and predictably the weather during the night before the attack had consisted of heavy rain and strong winds.

13 Skipton prisoners were captured, 11 officers and 2 enlisted men. 6 of the officers were from the same regiment – the 22nd Bavarian Infantry Regiment. Two further prisoners were also from other Bavarian regiments. Bavaria had been an independent state until the foundation of the German Empire in 1918. Strangely Bavaria also continued to have its own king. The last king, Ludwig III, was deposed in November 1918. Eight of the prisoners were recorded as captured at Passchendaele, while four were captured at Polderhoek.

THE BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE, JULY-NOVEMBER 1917 Assault on Passchendaele 12 October – 6 November: Most of the men (about forty only) left in the 8th Australian Battalion after the opening push of the second battle of Passchendaele on 26 October. Photograph taken as they were on their way from the trenches on 28 October and the men look dirty and grimly relieved. Copyright: © IWM (E(AUS) 1071). 

2nd Lieutenant Hans Wörthmüller had been born and bred in Munich. He too was in the 22nd Infantry Regiment. He was not wounded. When he woke up on his first full day in captivity, he could console himself that at least he had reached his 30th birthday relatively unscathed.