Knitters create colourful commemoration of Hartlepool Bombardment

Diane Stephens with one of the knitted bombardment murals that hang in the Heugh Battery Museum, showing the names and ages of  victims.
Diane Stephens with one of the knitted bombardment murals that hang in the Heugh Battery Museum, showing the names and ages of victims.
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Urban knitters have spun a colourful yarn or two to mark the most significant day in Hartlepool’s modern history.

Secret yarners on the town’s Headland have been working overtime to finish their crotcheted creations in time for the Bombardment commemoration service.

Tomorrow is the 102nd anniversary of the German Navy attack on the Hartlepools, as they were then known, in which around 130 people were killed and another 500 were wounded.

The exact figure is debated because some casualties died years later from injuries associated with the attack.

The mystery yarners have already created two military tributes, made largely of poppies, over the last year.

Now they have used collections of 2016 poppies to help them make two new 6ft-high creations specifically linked to the Bombardment.

One reproduces part of artist James Clark’s famous painting of the attack in which a child and adult are fleeing the attack.

The other includes the names of all known victims of the First World War onslaught.

Both are on display at the Heugh Battery Museum, in Moor Terrace, on the Headland, which was one of the areas targeted by three enemy battle cruisers.

Diane Stephens, manager of the Heugh Battery Museum, said: “What a surprise when we found out that the fairies had visited us again.

“Their work is wonderful and they must have put hours of work in to complete it all so quickly.”

People are urged to assemble at the battery from 7.45am before five minutes’ silence begins at 7.55am.

A slow march led by uniformed members of the ATC Cadets youth organisation and Durham Pals living history group then takes place to the nearby Redheugh Gardens war memorial, before another five minutes’ silence is observed at 8am.

The battery’s museum flag will be lowered at 8.05am, before museum director Ralph Keeton, who has organised the event, makes a formal address.

A gun salute follows at 8.10am to mark the exact moment the first shells are thought to have been fired.

A minute’s silence and the national anthem follow, before the Reverend Verity Brown, of nearby St Hilda’s Church, reads a reading and prayer at 8.13am.

The town’s MP, Iain Wright, and mayor, Councillor Rob Cook, will make addresses at 8.15am and 8.25am respectively before the names of the 37 known child fatalities are read out at 8.30am.

A wreath will be laid by pupils from St Helen’s School, on the Headland, before the Rev Brown offers addresses, prayers and blessings.

The Last Post will be played at 8.50am before everyone marches back to the trust at 8.51am.

Another gun salute follows at 9am with the museum flag raised a minute later to mark the end of the service.

The length of the commemoration marks the amount of time the three German battle cruisers spent shelling the town.