Community pays respects to victims of Bombardment of Hartlepool 102 years on
Commemorations have taken place to remember the 102nd anniversary of the Bombardment of Hartlepool.
Civic dignitaries, school children and members of the public attended the event at the Heugh Gun Battery museum and war memorial in Redheugh Gardens.
Around 130 people were killed and another 424 injured when three German battleships opened fire off the coast of Hartlepool at 8.10am on December 16, 1914.
Readings at this year’s service drew similarities between the innocent civilians affected by the bombardment and of the current people’s suffering in Syria.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: “May none of us from the Hartlepools or indeed any other town here in the United Kingdom or around the world have to endure again horror, tragedy and loss in our own streets and communities.
“Tragically, ladies and gentlemen, as we see the events unfold in Aleppo I think that hope is still far from us.”
Reverend Verity Brown led prayers for all armed forces and for civilians affected by war or terror making a special mention for those in Syria.
Rev Brown also spoke about her grandfather Robert Webster, who was stationed in Hartlepool with the Durham Light Infantry during the bombardment and who later wrote about how he helped carry the injured to the Borough Hall.
The names of 37 children who lost their lives as a result of the attack were read out as wreaths were laid.
Children and staff from St Helen’s and St Bega’s primary schools on the Headland also held pieces of paper with the individual victims’ names.
Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Rob Cook said: “Hartlepool people should be proud of the fact that a small force stood firm in the face of danger and returned shell fire and caused damage to one of those ships.
“When something as devastating as this happens to our town it brings us closer together. It is important we remember those people not only today but always.
“The ultimate sacrifice that civilians as well as our armed forces gave during those dark times is unprecedented.”
The event was supported by the ATC Cadets youth organisation and Durham Pals living history group as well as the gun battery museum.
A gun salute rang out at 8.10 marking the moment the first shells were fired and a minute’s silence was held followed by the playing of the national anthem.
The Last Post was also played as standards were lowered in front of the war memorial before the parade marched back to the gun battery for the close of the service.