A FAKE Iron Cross medal produced after the Bombardment of Hartlepool and the east coast has been unearthed.
The spoof British-made version of the German medal was produced as a propaganda tool in the First World War.
It was after German warships fired hundreds of shells on Hartlepool, Scarborough, and Whitby when hundreds died, and many were injured.
Shortly after the 1914 Bombardment, crosses with the names of the three towns attacked appeared spelled ‘Hartlepools, Scarboro, and Whitby’.
The death of so many innocent people sparked an impassioned recruitment drive by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, but also led to other propaganda opportunities.
For some time, an unknown person, who some have suggested may have been Gordon Selfridge, founder of the famous department store, produced spoof German Iron Crosses to ridicule the enemy.
Museum staff were delighted when they spotted one up for auction in Scarborough recently.
They snapped it up for £65 and will be part of a new exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery.
“We couldn’t believe our luck when we spotted the Cross in Duggleby’s sale,” says Debbie Seymour, Chief Executive of Scarborough Museums Trust.
“We just had to have it for the Scarborough Collections – it’s such an important part of the town’s history.”
Next month, John Southcott, chair of Hartlepool’s Heugh Battery Trust, will visit the gallery to speak about the Hartlepool bombardment.
John said: “The talk will be about the Bombardment of Hartlepool and the reasons behind it.
“Hartlepool is the only World War One battlefield in the country. The action incurred significant numbers of civilian casualties including children.
“In addition, several decorations were awarded to the military personnel.
“The reasons behind the attack will be examined and hopefully explained.”