First Impressions (Craven Herald)

This extract from the Craven Herald (18 Jan 1918) records the arrival of the German prisoners in Skipton and gives an idea of how they were received by the local population.

‘A German “Invasion”

Guarded by a number of sturdy Tommies, with fixed bayonets, the vanquished soldiers of the Kaiser emerged from the somewhat narrow entrance to the station and deposited their bulky luggage on a waggon which afterwards conveyed it to the camp.  In Germany the English prisoners of war, we are told, have themselves to carry what luggage they may possess; but, of course, it is generally well understood that an Englishman always errs on the side of generosity to the foe; hence the waggon.

These particular German prisoners could certainly not be called a smart or a handsome lot.  Numbering probably between 50 and 60, and mostly wearing dark grey uniforms with red facings and the familiar round German caps, they looked as if they would have been none the worse for a good wash.  Some were smoking large curled pipes, others were laughing and joking, while few of them appeared to be in any way dejected by their misfortune.  Standing about the height of an average Englishman they were inclined to be on the lean side; and one could not help comparing their sallow skins and low foreheads with the ruddy complexions and well-fed appearance of our “Tommies”.’