Child victims of darkest day

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ONE of the saddest aspects of the Bombardment of Hartlepool was the number of children to die.

Infants as young as six months perished during the attack.

Records show that three sets of siblings all died on December 16, 1914, in Turnbull Street.

Harold Cook, aged 10, and his eight-year-old brother Wilfred lost their lives. So did five-year-old William Peart and his two-year-old brother Charles, as well as nine-year-old Albert Walker and his six-year-old brother Stanley.

Yet they were not the only residents to perish in Turnbull Street. Also killed were Mary Ann Harrison, a 60-year-old widow, and Joseph Henderson, a 47-year-old labourer.

Turnbull Street was in West Hartlepool and sadly, the children in the Hartlepool area fared little better. Bertie Young, from Princess Street in Middleton, was only 13 years old when he died.

Selina Herbert, aged three, died in William Street where eight-year-old Peter Whitecross and his brother, John Matthew Whitecross, aged six, also died.

In every one of the above cases, death was either instantaneous or within a few hours of the German attack.

Others clung on the life for longer. Martha Jane Woods, aged six, died on February 7 in 1915 and a man called Beart Beaumont Austin, 33, was fatally injured in Middleton shipyard but died on March 10 the next year.

Documents from the time tell us that 110 people died. There were 42 men, 31 women and 37 children.

The Mail wants to hear from anyone whose relatives were involved in the bombardment.

Get in touch with Chris Cordner by calling (01429) 239377 or emailing