SECRET diaries kept by German soldiers in a prisoner-of-war in a camp near Skipton have been translated into English in a book launched this week.

German Prisoners of the Great War: Life in a Yorkshire Camp by Anne Buckley is the first full English translation of the account of life in Raikeswood camp during the First World War. Described as a “rare view of a hitherto neglected part of WW1 history”, it's a vivid insight into the soldiers’ experiences, in their own words, alongside their drawings of the camp. It reveals work done with the Craven community to uncover the story of the prison camp, including archaeological digs at the site involving children from local schools.

In 1920, shortly after the end of the war, the book was smuggled into Germany and published in Munich. It describes the German soldiers’ experience of captivity, their feelings about the war and their captors and their longing to go home. They record the conditions, food, daily routines, prison authorities, activities, entertainment and challenges, and the community they created within the confines of the camp.

When a copy of the original German book was found in Skipton Library it came to the attention of Anne Buckley, a lecturer in German and Translation Studies at the University of Leeds. Her research if the experiences of German prisoners-of-war led to a First World War Heritage Lottery funded project aimed at building a greater understanding of life in Craven during the 1914-18 conflict.

Anne said the book "represents the culmination of five years’ work by a large number of people, in particular the 30 translators". She added: "I hope it will enable more local people to learn about the camp and the German prisoners who spent almost two years here in Skipton."

The book will be launched online on Thursday, and Wolf Khaler, the grandson of imprisoned senior officer Fritz Sachsse, will give a talk. Wolf, an actor who appeared in hit movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, visited Skipton in 2019 to unveil an information board near the entrance to the former Raikeswood camp, which housed captured German officers until October 1919.

Fritz Sachsse had escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp in Japan and made his way through Japan, Korea, China then to America. He was found hiding on a ship heading for Germany and, in 1918, sent to Raikeswood where he helped re-build the morale of prisoners following the Spanish flu outbreak that killed 47 men.

* German Prisoners of the Great War is published Pen & Sword priced £25. To attend the online book launch on Thursday April 29 go to