THEY became heroes, they became martyrs and they became symbols of the horrors of war.
Some of the key players in the Bombardment of the Hartlepools emerged from the bleak battle with plaudits and the praise of the British ringing in their ears.
Wally told us: “On April 4, 1916, a new medal was instituted. It was the Military Medal for bravery in the field.”
And the very first people to get it were two of the Heugh Battery gun heroes Sgt Mallin and Acting Bombardier Hope.
On the same day, Lt Col Lancelot Robson received the Distinguished Service Order and Sgt Douthwaite the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
“All members of the Batteries received the British War Medal, although they would have received that anyway, due to further service elsewhere,” said Wally.
Col Robson was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael & St George, and was presented with it by the King when he visited the Hartlepools.
And in October 1917, the Red Cross decoration was awarded to Mrs Alice Flick, Miss Annie Cook Rastall and Miss Annie Stevenson.
The honours did not end there, said Wally.
“In August 1919, those who were in attendance at Hartlepool Hospital during the bombardment were all given a Gold medal from the governors. In January 1919, Miss Randall, the supervisory telephonist during the bombardment received an OBE.”
And the honours kept on coming on the opposite side of the war.
The German crews involved with the Bombardment all received a silver medal inscribed “God Blesses the United Forces.”
On the reverse, it was inscribed with “Bombardment of Scarborough & Hartlepool by German Ships 16th December 1914.”
Of the German ships involved on that fateful day, the Seydlitz and the Moltke were scuttled in Scapa Flow in June 1919. The Blucher was sunk off Dogger Bank in 1915.
“The British ships were sold off and broken up for scrap after the war,” said Wally.
And of the men who defended the Heugh and Lighthouse Batteries? Wally explained: “Fortunately they took no further active part in the war.”