Post was extremely important to the German POWs as it was a key contact with the outside world and with their loved ones at home.

They were allowed to send 2 letters per week on special writing paper with 23 lines. They could receive unlimited letters and packages but certain items were not allowed e.g. spirits or weapons. All correspondence in and out of the camp was censored but notes were sometimes successfully smuggled in from Germany in food containers or cigarette boxes.

 

handwritten letter from a german prisoner of war

Letter sent from the camp by Otto Goerg on 24 April 1919 to his family in Birkenfeld, Rheinland-Pfalz.© Ben McKenzie

 

On average 150-200 letters were delivered to Raikeswood Camp every day but sometimes there were problems and days or even weeks could pass by without a delivery.

A lack of mail from home could cause anxiety for the prisoners and they would fear the worst: death or adultery.

illustration of german prisoners gathering around teh list of parcels delivered

Parcel list© Kriegsgefangen in Skipton, p. 284

The names of prisoners in receipt of parcels were listed on a noticeboard. At distribution time the names would be called out in order of rank and the prisoners would go up to collect their parcels. Food parcels were also sent to Raikeswood Camp by the German, Dutch, Spanish and Danish Red Cross. These contained items such as cheese, sausage, butter, ham and tobacco.