Help remember the sacrifices of Hartlepool’s heroic seamen

REMEMBERING THE HEROES: Gary Green who wants to remember the sacrifices of the brave seamen

REMEMBERING THE HEROES: Gary Green who wants to remember the sacrifices of the brave seamen

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RESIDENTS are being urged to join in a drop-in session aimed at boosting an archive to record the sacrifices made by brave Hartlepool seamen in the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets during the First World War.

People are invited to bring along photographs, letters, diaries and other documents relating to their Hartlepool family members who went to sea during the First World War for the archive, called ‘Heroism and Heartbreak’.

These will be copied and added to the new website and the originals will be returned while people wait.

Project volunteers and library staff will also be on hand to advise people on how they can find out more about their ancestor’s war record to create their own lasting family memorial, plus there will be a chance for people to meet Kirsten Luckins, the project’s newly-appointed voluntary Poet in Residence.

The Heritage Lottery-funded project is led by the Nautical Archaeology Society North-East and Hartlepool Borough Council’s Library and Museum Services working in partnership with local groups and volunteers.

The archive was launched earlier this year and the latest event is on Tuesday, May 12, at Hartlepool Central Library in York Road from 10am to 1pm

The organisers aim to build on the success of their previous ‘Hartlepool History - Then and Now‘ online community archive, which now contains almost 7,000 items.

At the outbreak of the First World War, almost every family in the Hartlepools had links with the sea, with many having relatives in the Merchant Navy and local fishing fleets.

As the war progressed, German U-boats and mines took a huge toll on allied shipping. Over 400 merchant ships either built or owned in the town were sunk and more than 260 Hartlepool merchant seamen lost their lives.

Project manager Gary Green said: “This project may be the last opportunity for descendants of Hartlepool seamen to help us preserve the life stories of their ancestors for future generations.

We hope people will come along and share their family photographs and documents with us. It is also a great opportunity for people to discover more about their own family history.”

For more information about the project visit http://www.hhtandn.org/venues/2915/heroism-and-heartbreak-talking-histories.

Alternatively contact Hartlepool Central Library on (01429) 242909 or email: infodesk@hartlepool.gov.uk