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In Search of Raikeswood Camp - young archaeologists excavate part of Skipton's First World War POW camp

Local residents will have the chance to hear more about an exciting project to excavate part of Skipton's First World War Prisoner of War camp at a special event taking place at Skipton Town Hall on Tuesday 12th July.

students

The 'In Search of Raikeswood Camp' project which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund will see young archaeologists from schools across Craven spend a week in August surveying and excavating part of the former Raikeswood camp site, which was set up as a training camp for the Bradford Pals in 1915 and later used as a POW camp for captured German Officers.

Upper Wharfedale school are leading on the project and heading a partnership of local schools, Skipton Library, the Craven and the First World War project, University of Leeds, archaeologists and historians.

Project Director, Mr Mitton said: "The school is delighted to have been successful in obtaining a substantial Heritage Lottery Fund award. Competition for funding is very fierce but I believe the exciting aims of the project clearly made it a winner."

The project began a few weeks ago with a visit to the site at the top of Raikeswood Drive where the students will work alongside archaeologists during the summer holidays to excavate areas of it. Participants will also visit the Imperial War Museum North to understand more about the First World War. The project will keep people up to date on its progress via a dedicated website and the findings will be displayed in a travelling exhibition, which will eventually be situated in the library at Skipton.

At the Town Hall event on the 12th July, as well as a chance to find out how to get involved in the dig, there will also be an update on the project to translate the diary kept by German prisoners interned at the camp. The translation is being done by staff and students at the University of Leeds and is helping to shed light on the exact location of the camp, as well as giving an idea of what life was like for the prisoners there.

Craven and the First World War Project Officer, Rob Freeman, said: "The camp is rarely mentioned in the histories of the town (and then only briefly), and these two projects to excavate part of the site and translate the POW will allow residents and local historians to learn from the experiences of the soldiers in the camp, reshaping accounts of Skipton and its past."  

The event on the 12th July will take place at Skipton Town Hall from 7pm-8.30pm and is free to attend. For more information, contact Rob Freeman on rfreeman@cravendc.gov.uk.