SPECTATOR cannot be the only one moved by the story of George Thompson, the Green Howard who died in early 1945 during the infamous forced marches of PoWs across Europe

His burial place in a German cemetery was marked simply as an unknown English soldier for more than 70 years – but is finally being put right.

The Long March was a truly horrific affair – prisoners were forced to hike through deep snow, with basic clothes, hardly any food and suffered particularly cruel treatment from the guards.

Many died from malnutrition or, like George, from dysentery. Others were shot or beaten to death by their captors.

Readers may be interested to know that the German officer in charge of George’s particular column of prisoners, a Hauptmann Mackensen, did not escape justice.

He stood trial after the war for his treatment of the defenceless men in his charge – at least 30 of whom died.

Mackensen originally denied his guilt but seeing the weight of evidence against him he changed his plea. He was executed at Hameln prison on March 8, 1946.

ON a lighter note - Middleham Stables Open Day has been running since the early 1990s, but it still feels a delightful surprise to find that among the Yorkshire Dales stone cottages are hundreds of the country’s most well-known racehorses at some of the UK’s leading stables.

Last year’s event was cancelled when Easter fell early and there were worries that bad weather would ruin the day.

But if this year’s event was anything to go back, this marvellous day is firmly back on the calendar – and long may it be so..