Remembering lives lost in bombardment

Men in first world war uniforms stand at the Headland War Memorial as people gather to commemorate the anniversary of the bombardment of Hartlepool.
Men in first world war uniforms stand at the Headland War Memorial as people gather to commemorate the anniversary of the bombardment of Hartlepool.

PEOPLE can remember those who lost their life on a dark day in the First World War at the 98th anniversary of the Bombardment of Hartlepool this weekend.

Thirty-seven balloons will be let off in tribute to the children who died during the attack on December 16, 1914, as part of a service to be held this Sunday.

Town dignitaries will pay their respects and residents are welcome along to remember the 150 people who died in the bombardment or later as a result of injuries suffered during the attack.

Volunteers from the 18th Battalion will also be at the service and will dress in First World War uniform.

The service, which will start in the Memorial Gardens, on the Headland, will get underway at 8.10am on Sunday to mark the exact time when the Imperial German Navy ships started firing 1,150 shells at the town.

Residents and invited guests can then make their way to the Heugh Gun Battery where another service will be held indoors and will include poignant readings from town primary school pupils.

Andy Shepherd, outreach officer at the Heugh Gun Battery and organiser of this year’s service, said: “It will be a poignant way to remember all of those who lost their lives and as usual we are hoping for a big turn out.

“The bombardment is obviously a significant part of the town’s history and we want make everyone aware of the opportunity to come along on Sunday and pay their respects.”

The Reverend Chris Collison, of St Hilda’s Church, on the Headland, will conduct the service.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond and town MP Iain Wright have both been invited and Mr Shepherd confirmed vice-chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council, councillor Kevin Cranney, will be attending.

Mr Shepherd added: “Everybody is welcome along. All of the primary schools are aware of the service but with it being on a Sunday this year I don’t know how many children will be there.”

Organisers also confirmed that plans are already under way to “build interest” in the service ahead of the 100 year anniversary of the bombardment in 2014.

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