By 1914 the Ilkley Gazette had been in print for over 60 years – commencing in May 1861, although archival records only date from January 1868. The paper in peacetime not only covered local news but aspects of national and international news.
During the First World War a few more photographs began to appear and there were accounts of the achievements of the living and dead on the battlefields of Europe, and the Middle East; at sea globally; and increasingly the activities of Ilkley personnel in the Royal Flying Corps (later the RAF).
Adverts were rather sparse, but there were regular messages from government sources. Sport and items of interest to women and children were included along with increasing acknowledgement of women’s role in the War. The stories of refugees from war-torn Belgium in Ilkley were covered regularly.
Ilkley even in Wartime was seen as a place to holiday, convalesce, walk the Moors, to take the waters and breathe in unpolluted air. People in the pre-radio era relied on the local papers for a great deal of varied information; and the picture houses also played their part.
This booklet is a collection of townsfolk from Ilkley and Ben Rhydding who were a prisoner of war, in the First World War, published by the Ilkley Gazette. The contents page has lists all the people by surname and details such as their age, rank, regiment, awards for gallantry, pre-war occupations, cemetery, cause of death, theatre of war and any accounts which were taken from letters from loved ones or other sources given. An account from Gunner Saunders is used as an example below:
Chauffeur – Mechanic – Mr A. Jenkinson, Iddesleigh, Ilkley
IG 13/10/16; 1/6/17.
Joined up as armoured car driver. On leave Oct 1916 before proceeding overseas with a “tank”, a remarkable engine, modern warfare (shape, propulsion & weight allows to clear away & overcome obstacles). Later POW in Turkish hands. In letter to Saunders’ parents 24/4/17 from Lieutenant Stanley Wray says Saunders set on fire in front of Turkish lines & transpires he was taken prisoner.