26 September 1917: 5 Skipton POWs captured at Passchendaele

Field Marshal Douglas Haig was feeling apprehensive. The Germans had launched a surprise counter-attack the previous day, and this was set to be the day of his own big attack. Not only that, but he was entertaining the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Fortunately for Haig the attack went as planned, and he was able to demonstrate the progress of the morning’s attack on a huge map.

Part of the good news was that Eagle Trench had finally been captured after 38 days of effort. Eagle Trench was 700 yards from the village of Langemarck where German troops had been captured on the very first day of the battle almost two months before.

And what about those on the front line who would end up imprisoned in Skipton? Five of the ‘Skipton’ prisoners were captured that day.

THE BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE, JULY-NOVEMBER 1917  Battle of Polygon Wood. A German prisoner holding a mess tin looks through the barbed wire of a POW camp at Langemarck, 26th September 1917. Copyright: © IWM (Q 3067). 

Fusilier Paul Bartel was recorded as captured at or near Langemarck, for the others the place of capture was simply Ypres.
19-year-old Musketeer Karl Müller had severe gunshot wounds to his face and had already lost his left eye. 2nd Lieutenant Karl Werner also had severe gunshot wounds – this time to both buttocks.

The remaining prisoners captured that day were Musketeer Anton Burchardt (19 years old) and 2nd lieutenant and machine gunner Max Geitel.