Backers needed for site of battery which repelled German ships during the Bombardment of Hartlepool

Wally Stewart. Bombardment of Hartlepool.
Wally Stewart. Bombardment of Hartlepool.

A BATTERY guardian is offering people a chance to play a unique role in Hartlepool’s history.

Would-be financial backers are needed to support the Heugh Gun Battery on the Headland which played a vital part in the defence of Hartlepool.

Wally Stewart. Bombardment of Hartlepool.

Wally Stewart. Bombardment of Hartlepool.

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.

They returned fire when three German ships shelled Hartlepool. More than 40 minutes of bombardment led to the deaths of 130 people but the heroic defences of the town saved even more people from dying.

Those who do come on board as a backer will get to sponsor one of around 15 items of military history.

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

Wally Stewart. Bombardment of Hartlepool.

Wally Stewart. Bombardment of Hartlepool.

“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.