Hartlepool’s young war poets commemorate the horrors of 1914 bombardment

Anna Kroon is the winner of the Hartlepool Mail War Poetry competition.
Anna Kroon is the winner of the Hartlepool Mail War Poetry competition.

MEET the winners of our fantastic poetry competition – held to commemorate the Bombardment of Hartlepool.

Dozens of superb entries were received in the contest which was held when the Hartlepool Mail teamed up with Hartlepool Borough Council to ask the youth of the town to write about the darkest day in Hartlepool’s history.

Hartlepool Mail's War poem winner Riya Nighoskar

Hartlepool Mail's War poem winner Riya Nighoskar

We asked students to study Hartlepool artist James Clark’s painting of the bombardment before writing a poem of no more than 100 words on it.

Our winners were the impressive efforts submitted by Anna Kroon, 10, from the Bishop Cuthbert area of town, and Riya Nighoskar, 15, from Elwick.

Anna is a student of Sacred Heart Primary School and told us: “I spent about two months putting the poem together. I started it in the summer holidays and I would take walks to the Headland to put it in perspective.

“Then, we went on our school’s literacy trip and we saw the painting. It was really sad.”

Proud dad Johann Kroon, who is a research scientist at Durham University, said: “I am really proud of her. She has done really well.”

Anna admitted she “jumped for joy” when she found out she had won the competition but she is no stranger to success.

She has already had two poems published through the Young Writers’ Association.

Riya is a student at The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College. She used the inspiration of her school lessons about the Bombardment to write her poem.

She said: “I wanted my poem to be something that was quite emotional. I wanted it to rhyme because I am rhythmic through doing music.”

Riya got to know of her success when her teacher Emma Fox told her. I was rehearsing in an orchestra when she took me to one side and told me,” she said. “I was quite shocked and it wasn’t my intention to win when I wrote it. I just wanted to write a poem that I was pleased with.”

The winning entries will have their work published in an official brochure and will have their work read out at a civic reception. They will also receive personal prizes.

The winning poems

The Bomb by Anna Kroon

It was dark that night, the night it happened to me,

I was sitting in my room, gazing out to sea.

I was watching all the fishing boats, nose against the glass,

Watching the waves come and go, waiting for time to pass.

I was waiting very patiently for Daddy to come home,

Fishing in the icy sea, sailing all alone,

My Grandpa was looking after me, was growing grey and old,

They stayed with me forever, the stories that he told.

The time with my Grandpa was always safe and snug,

Cuddled in the comfy chair, next to Grandma’s rug,

Then there came a tumbling, a rumbling from the sky,

A noise so loud and scary that it made me start to cry.

I opened up my window and then slammed shut my door,

But all I saw out of that glass was rubble and bricks galore.

I could hear a siren whirring, a whirring in my head,

Screams and cries, a child has died; the streets are full of dead.

That was the day my childhood stopped, my innocence gone forever,

Fond I was of the memories of the days we’d had together.

As the darkness folded in, his body was carried home,

Never would he sail again, all across the foam

Poem by Riya Nighoskar

Darkness and cold surrounds me,

As I walk down Victoria Street,

Embracing the hustle and bustle,

Greeting the people I meet.

Then suddenly, a deafening bang sounds,

And everyone crouches down low,

I see bodies lying calm and still,

Like angels in the snow.

The sun has graced us with its presence,

By falling from the sky,

Balls of fire latch on to buildings,

Onto people passing by.

The smoke continues to cloud my vision,

My view is black and grey,

The sun has decided to leave us again,

It decided not to stay.

But then time flies among the chaos,

The smoke has cleared the air,

Several bodies cover the ground,

As well as a single Teddy bear.

And when I look and gaze and stare,

I know there’ll be no more sun,

The peace, serenity, is undoubtedly gone,

The war against Britain has begun.

The full list of winners

Under-11 winner – Anna Kroon.

Under-11 runner-up – Charlotte Newbegin.

Under-11 third place – Amber Miley.

Over-11 winner – Riya Nighoskar.

Over-11 runner-up – Lauren Howells.

Over-11 third place – Holly Bate, Catherine Wates and Lilly Mulcahy.