I can think of many reasons for visiting the Keighley area of West Yorkshire. It’s a popular destination for tourists given that Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters, is just a couple of miles away. The ancient market town of Skipton is also nearby and attracts many visitors.
Keighley is a great place to make your base for exploring the area.
And I have a great Keighly story for you. Entertain your travelling companions with this story that has its roots back in the First World War.
Two German brothers, Paul and Franz Schulte had chosen separate paths in life. As the Great War threatened, The younger brother, Paul began to train for the priesthood. and Franz joined the German Army Flying Corps and acquitted himself admirably – until he was shot down in England and became a prisoner of war. Sadly, Franz died, still in England, in the terrible flu epidemic that tore through Europe and some areas of the United States in 1918 and 1919.
Brother Paul’s career with the priesthood was cut short as he too became a WW1 pilot but after the war he became a full Catholic priest and embarked on missionary work.
We now fast forward to just before the Second World War – to 1936. The German airship service between America and Europe had begun. Paul Schulte asked the pope for permission to be aboard the airship and to celebrate the world’s first mid-aerial mass.
En route from America back to Germany, Shulte persuaded the pilot to fly the airship – named the Hindenburg – over West Yorkshire.
On May 26th, 1936 at about eight in the evening, Keighly residents were amazed to see the huge (and rather eerie) airship passing over them. A parcel was dropped from the airship and was found by two young boys and it contained some carnations, a silver crucifix and a letter.
The letter, from Paul Schulte of course, asked the finder to lay the flowers on the grave of his bother, Lieutenant Franz Schulte, along with the silver crucifix. The boys laid the flowers on the grave but a local priest asked them not to leave the silver cross as it would likely to be stolen.
One theory purports that the airship detoured over Keighly from its regular course because the winds were more favourable. So if that was the case, where did Father Schulte get the carnations from? He was obviously prepared before the airship left America. Another theory says that the airship was on a spying mission but once again if that was the case Father Schulte was privy to that information and quick off the mark.
Besides, I really can’t imagine what could possibly be of interest in Keighly to German spies unless they were diehard Bronte fans.
Father Schulte went on to be known as the Flying Priest as he flew to remote locations throughout his career as a missionary. He died in 1975. And the Hindenburg? That spookily silent airship almost the length of the Titanic?
See the video below:
See also this video about Father Paul Schulte, the Flying Priest.
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.