In Yorkshire, to demonstrate that the local oat cakes were the best, the German word for oats, haver, was adopted and the term caught on.
The West Riding Regiment became famous for their use of the local havercakes to entice young men to join up, when hunger was an everyday experience for many.
An eyewitness described the following march, on a route through Bradford which was well used when the Regiment marched to York to build the ranges on Strensall Common, in the late 19th Century:
“…a party of the West Riding Regiment in their red kerseys marching down the road to Bradford Moor Barracks, in fours, and they were carrying wooden ‘templates’ shaped like havercakes. A proper Havercake oatmeal would not have stood up to the strain and, in any case, some of the hungry soldiers would have arrived at Bradford Moor with their havercakes missing.”
Mr Lord, Havercake baker, Bradford, interviewed in 1957.
The art of Havercake making has all but disappeared, but the Regimental Headquarters was able to obtain supplies for events from a baker in Bradford up until 2002.
A further link to the Regiment was established during the interview with Mr Lord, the oats supplied were from a mill owned by Brigadier General R E Sugden, who had fought with and commanded, the 4th Battalion of the Regiment during the First World War.