Legacy of the enemy shells

The Baptist Chapel in Hartlepool after the bombardment
The Baptist Chapel in Hartlepool after the bombardment

FROM time to time, we are highlighting stories from the Hartlepool bombardment on these pages.

The aim is to highlight the effect it had on families, and to encourage their descendants to come forward with the stories their ancestors passed on to them.

This week, we look at the legacy the shelling had on those who survived the immediate impact of the bombardment in December 1914, only to die later.

Documents in the Hartlepool Mail archives showed that some people – the old and the invalided – died of shock days after the initial devastation.

Mr Joseph Oliver, 46, of Carlisle Place; Mrs Proctor, 70, and Mr Cuthbert Pounder, 67, of Archer Street, could be counted among that tragic number.

The Bombardment of Hartlepool lasted for 49 minutes. In that time, the German ships off the coast of Hartlepool fired between 800 and 1,000 shells.

They were enormous missiles of war. Some were just under 3ft long and weighed more than a quarter of a ton, and not all of them had the desired effect of hitting the two boroughs of Hartlepool. Inland areas and some to the north of the town were hit.

Towns and villages up to 15 miles away panicked because they had no idea what was happening. In Hartlepool itself, people took to the streets, fearing they would die if they stayed where they were.

Eleven people perished in the open.

Today, we continue our occasional listing of those who died in the bombardment, in the hope of finding out more about them in the coming weeks.

The dead included:

Dorothy Caws, 25, of Grosvenor Street; Nicholas Capeling, 25, of Darlington Street; Alfred Claude, 12, of Gordon Street; Annie Corner, 37, of Dock Street; Catherine Frankland, 4, of Leeds Street; and Mary Ann Harrison, 60 of Turnbull Street; Joseph Henderson, 45, of Turnbull Street and Sarah Wilkinson, 12, of Dene Street.

If you can provide us with more details and reminiscences about any of the above, contact Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk