Defiance as the shells fell

GEORGE Jobling aged 77 who refused to leave his almost demolished hosue in Dock Street, Hartlepool
GEORGE Jobling aged 77 who refused to leave his almost demolished hosue in Dock Street, Hartlepool

IN Hartlepool’s most momentous year, we plan to share memories of the town bombardment of 1914.

In this instalment, we look at how the people of Hartlepool reacted to the shelling.

A message rang around Hartlepool as the German Navy did their worst. “Keep inside while the shells are flying,” the locals were told.

It was bad advice. Terrified people fled for safer haven, dressed in “very scanty attire”.

Yet while chaos ensued all around, the epitome of calmness could be found at the Hartlepool Hospital. Miraculously, not one shell landed on it. But the matron was not to know, nor her nurses and staff.

“In the firing line, they stuck to their posts, doing everything possible to calm the patients in their charge and removing those in the more exposed parts of the building to less dangerous positions,” said one report.

Elsewhere, and despite being seriously injured from shell fragments, workmen crawled to help more seriously injured comrades.

And one of the most remarkable tales concerned 77-year-old George Jobling. His house in Dock Street was shelled almost to smithereens.

Yet once the Germans finished the shelling, he went back home and refused to leave despite the building being nothing much more than rubble.

But a common denominator from the experience was – Hartlepool showed its mettle that day.

l A session on family history is being planned at the Central Library, in Hartlepool, later this month.

It will run from 6pm to 8pm on Wednesday, January 29.

The session is free and staff will be on hand to help. Those interested must book their place in advance by contacting Irene Cross on (01429) 855560 or via email on irene.cross@hartlepool.gov.uk