Annual service remembers the Bombardment of the Hartlepools by German Navy

Full details have been released for this year's service to commemorate the Bombardment of the Hartlepools.

Friday, 9th December 2016, 11:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 12:36 pm
A picture from the 2015 service.

Around 130 people were killed and another 500 were injured after the German Navy fired more than 1,000 shells on both Hartlepool and West Hartlepool, as they were then known, on December 16, 1914.

The exact number of fatalities is still unknown as casualties were still dying years later from injuries attributed to the attack.

The aftermath of the Bombardment in Church Street.

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This year’s service takes place on Friday, December 16, at the Heugh Battery, in Moor Terrace, on the Headland, which was among the areas targeted during the First World War onslaught.

Battery manager Diane Stephens said: “The Bombardment is an integral part of the town’s history and it is really important that people continue to pay their respects as they have done over the years.”

People are urged to assemble at the battery from 7.45am before five minutes’ silence begins at 7.55am.

A slow march led by uniformed members of the ATC Cadets youth organisation and Durham Pals living history group then takes place to the nearby Redheugh Gardens war memorial before another five minutes’ silence is observed at 8am.

A picture from the 2015 commemorative service.

The battery’s museum flag is lowered at 8.05am before museum director Ralph Keeton, who has organised the event, makes a formal address.

A gun salute follows at 8.10am to mark the exact moment the first shells are thought to have been fired.

A minute’s silence and the national anthem follow before the Reverend Verity Brown, of nearby St Hilda’s Church will read a reading and prayer at 8.13am.

The town’s MP, Iain Wright, and mayor, Councillor Rob Cook, will make addresses at 8.15am and 8.25am respectively before the names of the 37 known child fatalities are read out at 8.30am.

The aftermath of the Bombardment in Church Street.

A wreath will be laid by pupils from St Helen’s School, on the Headland, before the Rev Brown offers addresses, prayers and blessings.

The Last Post will be played at 8.50am before everyone marches back to the trust at 8.51am.

Another gun salute follows at 9am with the museum flag raised a minute later to mark the end of the service.

The length of the commemoration marks the amount of time the three German battle cruisers spent shelling the town.

A picture from the 2015 commemorative service.

Among the areas to be hit were Moor Terrace, Victoria Place and Cliff Terrace, on the Headland, and Grange Road and Church Street, in what was then West Hartlepool.

Private Theo Jones, 27, was the attack’s first fatality and the first soldier to die on English soil during the conflict.

The museum has waived its charges for visitors after the service.