Archeology project explores Yorkshire First World War trenches

Trench

A community archaeology project supported by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) is looking to uncover a forgotten aspect of the First World War.

Members of the local community are being invited to help shed some light on three military training sites in the Settle area.

Among them are two possible trenches within the grounds of the Giggleswick School estate. These may have been used to give soldiers some insight into what they would face on the Western Front.

Training and Trenches

The Training and Trenches project has been awarded £7,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and excavation of the suspected training trenches will take place from 18-23 June.

James Spry, the YDNPA’s Community Archaeology Training Placement Holder and Project Manager, said: ‘The project will involve documentary research, a survey of the Castleberg Drill Hall in Settle and a firing range at the base of Attermire Scar, and the excavation.

‘The drill hall and the firing range were used by members of the Craven Territorials, later the 1/6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment, the Village Guard and the Giggleswick School Officer Training Corps.

Officer Training Corps

‘The trenches may have even been dug by members of the school’s Officer Training Corps, either before or during the war. If the excavation and further research reveals this to be the case, it will be a poignant story as many of those schoolboy officers went on to fight and die in the war and are commemorated in the school’s chapel.

‘The aim of the project is to look at the physical legacy of the First World War in Britain rather than in Europe, where the battles were fought. We also want to try to find out more about the beginnings of trench warfare.

‘We are hoping that people will contact the National Park Authority perhaps with memories of family members who were involved in the three sites or with letters, records or photographs that can shed light on their history.’

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