A stunning 2018 tribute to Hartlepool’s First World War hero

Damages properties during the Bombardment of Hartlepool.
Damages properties during the Bombardment of Hartlepool.

One hundred lifesize military statues are being created in a stunning tribute to Britain’s First World War heroes - including one in memory of a brave soldier killed in the Bombardment of Hartlepool.

They will form part of a display which will tour the different sites of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, including in Hartlepool.

Private Theo Jones who was killed in the Bombardment of Hartlepool.

Private Theo Jones who was killed in the Bombardment of Hartlepool.

And 12 of them will eventually get to stay on permanent show in the town.

One of the statues looks set to be dedicated to the memory of Theo Jones, the Private from the Durham Light Infantry, who died during the Bombardment of Hartlepool.

That attack by the German fleet on the town claimed more than 130 lives but Private Jones, a 27-year-old former headteacher from Leicestershire, was the first person to be killed in the bombardment and the first soldier to die on English soil during the war.

Plans to pay tribute to him were revealed by Hartlepool Borough Council leader, Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, and the authority’s chief executive Gill Alexander.

I think that is a significant story and it is unique to Hartlepool

Christopher Akers-Belcher

Both are trustees of the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool and Coun Akers-Belcher said: “We have been working with them on bringing forward some of their plans.

“One of the things that they want to do is they are commissioning 100 lifesize military statues that at some point next year, they will be in Hartlepool - all 100 to commemorate the homecoming after the First World War.

“I think that will be a significant event in Hartlepool”

Coun Akers-Belcher added: “One of the things Gill and I have secured is, after that has been roadshowed around all of their sites around the country, we will be retaining 12 of them in Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Council Leader Christopher Akers-Belcher and Chief Executive Gill Alexander.''Picture: TOM BANKS

Hartlepool Council Leader Christopher Akers-Belcher and Chief Executive Gill Alexander.''Picture: TOM BANKS

“We have also asked that one of the statues is dedicated to the memory of Theo Jones who was the first military personnel to be killed on English soil.

“I think marrying that up with the Bombardment, and the work that we did in securing the 130 poppies from the Tower of London, we have recently bought Theo Jones prayer book. I think that is a significant story and it is unique to Hartlepool.

“People, if they see the exhibition of the 100 statues which we are hoping to display on the waterfront site, then to know that we will get 12 of those to keep in Hartlepool is really important.”

Gill Alexander said that 2018 would be a “really important year in terms of the homecoming after the First World War.”