Fresh chapter in story of PoW’s wartime Post

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The story of the Yorkshire Post Kriegie edition is legendary but a new chapter in its history has just been completed.

The famous wartime publication was the brainchild of one man, Richard Pape, from Leeds, who being imprisoned by the Germans, set about motivating his fellow prisoners – many were from Yorkshire – and also in a bid to communicate coded information to the Allies.

What he created went down in history as one of the great achievements of British PoWs during the war – the ‘Kriegie’ (German for prisoner) edition was indeed smuggled out and even came to the notice of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who branded it “an interesting and moving record of talent”.

Now a new chapter in its history has been penned by historian John Reid, from Barnoldswick, Lancashire, who has compiled a detailed dossier chronicling the lives of the Second World War soldiers who are listed in the back of the Kriegie edition, research which he has presented to the West Yorkshire Archive Service.

When the Kriegie edition reached the offices of the Yorkshire Post in Leeds, where Pape had once worked as a printer, the newspaper published 300 commemorative copies, although the fate of the original, bound between two pieces of plywood taken from a Red Cross supplies box, remains unclear.

Mr Reid said: “I first came across Pape and the story of the Kriegie edition by accident while researching another piece of war history. After several escapes and being recaptured, he was told in no uncertain terms by the Germans that if he tried to escape again he would be shot.

“While in Stalag Luft VI, he produced the Yorkshire Post Kriegie edition. Shortly after, he faked a serious illness and was repatriated on September 7, 1944.”