Raikeswood, to the west of Skipton Castle, has for decades been a pleasant but unassuming housing estate.
But until the 1920s, it was an army base. The “Bradford Pals” Battalions of the West Yorkshire Regiment, were trained there. But when they had been sent off to the Somme – 1,770 of them to die in a single hour – they put up barbed wire and shipped in enemy officers taken prisoner on the Western Front.
It is a chapter almost unknown to those who today populate the town that calls itself the Gateway to the Dales, and but for the sterling work of researchers at the local library and at Leeds University, it might have remained so.
The diaries left behind by the German prisoners are being published and archeologists and schoolchildren, on their summer holiday this week, are digging in the gardens in the hope of finding more artefacts. In this centenary year of the Armistice, the interest of a new generation in learning of its significance is heartening.