Hartlepool Battery still gunning for more help

VITAL SUPPORT: Left to right, Rotarians Alan Lakey, Rotary Club president Barbra Midgley, and Jim Haydon with Wally Stewart, second right, from the Heugh Gun Battery
VITAL SUPPORT: Left to right, Rotarians Alan Lakey, Rotary Club president Barbra Midgley, and Jim Haydon with Wally Stewart, second right, from the Heugh Gun Battery
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A GUN battery is winning the fight to get sponsors to help continue its future.

In January, we told how would-be financial backers were needed to support the Heugh Gun Battery on the Headland which played a vital part in the defence of Hartlepool.

The story of the bombardment is well known to all ‘Poolies’, so it is very important that the battery is fully maintained as a permanent reminder to those unfortunate people who lost their lives on that fateful day.

Wally Stewart, volunteer

The appeal worked wonders, and the Rotary Club of Hartlepool has agreed to sponsor the Chieftain tank at the site.

Club president Barbra Midgley told Community Centres they decided to support the cause after spotting the appeal in the Hartlepool Mail.

“It is there for posterity and giving a small amount of money is the least we can do to preserve the artefact.

“The fact that we are Hartlepool Rotary Club means that most of us live in the town and this is part of our history.”

Heugh Gun Battery volunteer Wally Stewart said the agreement to sponsor the tank – which is also called the “Cold War veteran” – is for a year.

Wally added that another piece of Battery equipment – the battery gate guardian, a 5.5 inch Howitzer had also secured backing.

Wally said: “The sponsorship appeal is off and running now and I will be contacting other firms in the near future.”

The historic site is famous for its actions in the bombardment of the town. The battery, along with the nearby Lighthouse Battery, defiantly replied to the attacking German ships on December 16, 1914.

We told previously how firms were needed to sponsor one of around 15 items of military history.

Wally added: “It is a totally unique spot. Not only is it a First World War battle site but also it is the only coastal gun battery to have fired in anger at an enemy.

“The story of the bombardment is well known to all ‘Poolies’ and so it is very important that the battery, being a heritage site, is fully maintained as a permanent reminder to those unfortunate people who lost their lives on that fateful day.” Maintaining both the site and its exhibits is “no cheap thing”, said Wally. He said the battery, which is “completely independent and relies on any funding we can get, along with the admission fees”, needs money on an annual basis.

Wally added: “That is why the battery is inviting any firm or company to come along and choose any exhibit, whether it be a gun, an armoured personnel carrier or even the Chieftain tank. It costs, on average, £150 per year to maintain each piece of equipment to a good museum standard and that cost is dependent on the size of the item.”

Any organisation which sponsors an item will have its logo and brief details on a prominent board alongside the piece of history it give backing to.

Wally said the Battery Trust was “very keen for the battery to become an important tourist attraction and to make it an exciting addition to the town”.

He added: “It would be nice to have the town companies on board to assist us in our endeavours.”

Any company or firm who is interested in becoming a sponsor should contact the battery (01429) 270746.