Hartlepool honours victims of devastating First World War Bombardment by German navy

Hartlepool has paid moving tribute to the dozens of people killed or injured when the German navy attacked the town.

Sunday, 16th December 2018, 2:27 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th December 2018, 2:38 pm
Planting the crosses
Planting the crosses

At least 127 people died and more than 400 others were injured during the Bombardment of the Hartlepools on December 16, 1914, shortly after the start of the First World War.

The exact number of fatalities is uncertain because casualties were still dying from their wounds years later.

Planting the crosses

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The attack was remembered today on the 104th anniversary, with a ceremony on the Headland.

Members of the public gathered at the Heugh Battery Museum in Moor Terrace before making their way to the nearby Redheugh Gardens.

The ceremony started at 8.10am with a gun salute to mark the exact moment three battleships began shelling both the Headland and West Hartlepool.

Mayor Coun Allan Barclay and Hartlepool MP Mike Hill made speeches and laid wreaths, along with representatives of veteran's organisations, and the names of the 37 children who lost their lives were read out by museum volunteer Wally Stewart, with a small wooden cross planted for each of them.

The standards are carried to the ceremony

Wally said he had been pleased with the turn-out on a bitterly cold winter morning.

"We have got to remember what happened and make sure the town remembers what happened," he said.

Few people nationwide were aware the attack had even taken place, he said: "It was hidden for many years because at the time, they did not want to spread panic around the country.

"It is nice for it to be more widely known now and to tell people that they are standing on a World War One battlefield.

The Mayor pays his respects

"That is quite a bit of a surprise to people."

Mike Hill was delighted to be taking part in his second commemoration ceremony as MP.

"It is very important to remember what is such an important part of the history of the Hartlepools," he said.

"The people of the Heugh battery do an amazing job all year round , but at this time of year they really do excel themsswleves and keep the memories going."

Mike Hill plays his wreath
The wooden crosses