A dedicated heritage trust has been formed to drive preservation and appreciation of the vital part played by the city of Ripon in Britain’s military history.

Since the First World War, vast numbers of troops have passed through the training camps and barracks in the city, and with the redevelopment of Claro and Deverall barracks planned by the MOD, people have come together to form the trust.

The group wants to see the development of a special centre, and preservation of existing structures.

A spokesperson said: “We are firmly of the opinion that these heritage assets are of great significance which, at present, is not formally recognised within the development masterplan.

"Furthermore, they are all at risk. The trust is advocating that a number of surviving structures be preserved on a site at Laver Banks and that a military heritage centre is developed, alongside a military heritage trail.

“The city of Ripon has played a vital role in Britain’s military history. It is rightly, remembered for its great First World War training camps, which stretched right across the city. Vast numbers of troops transited through these camps at both the beginning and end of the war, yet by the mid-1920s much of the landscape had been turned back to agricultural use.

“It had a more secret and forgotten role in the Second World War; one of international significance as it helped train huge numbers of American and Canadian sappers on the new Bailey bridges. In the emerging discipline of bomb disposal the city also played an important role in solidifying the coalition between the Allies.

“As the home of the Royal Engineer’s School of Military Engineering from 1940, the barracks trained soldiers for most of the major battles and operations during the war. This training role continued throughout the Cold War, preparing troops for potential threats in central Europe.

“Formation of the Ripon Military Heritage Trust, RMHT, has been established to research, conserve, interpret and provide access to the tangible and intangible military heritage of the city of Ripon and its environs.

“The trust was formed as a result of extensive research carried out by the Ripon Civic Society in response to a planning application for a new urban extension on land currently used by the MoD at Claro and Deverell Barracks. When these proposals were being developed there was no clear understanding of the significance and importance of the military heritage at the site.

“Some limited work had been carried out at Deverell Barracks but no adequate study of the whole area had been undertaken. Work carried out by RMHT has shown, without question, that the site is one of very considerable national and international importance.

“At a planning committee held in February, Harrogate Borough Councillors wholeheartedly supported the aims of the trust. A Section 106 Agreement is to be drawn up which will include a provision to devise a strategy to secure military heritage within the site. A specific condition has also been attached whereby RMHT will work with the developer, Homes England, to produce a military heritage management report for each phase of the development.”

Members of RMHT will be at Market Square, Ripon on Saturday, May 20 to talk about the campaign.