Hartlepool will pay tribute to the men who fell at the Somme

Heugh Battery Museum director Reg Wright and staff member Diane Stephens.
Picture by Jane Coltman
Heugh Battery Museum director Reg Wright and staff member Diane Stephens. Picture by Jane Coltman

A historic Hartlepool site will pay its own emotional tribute the soldiers who fell at the Battle of the Somme.

The 100th aniversary of the bloodiest battle in British Army history will be marked this Friday.

And the Heugh Gun Battery on the Headland will join in with commemorations which begin at 7am.

Poems, readings and music will be followed by the noise of artillery.

Then, after two minutes silence, whistles will be blown to remember the moment that the soldiers of The Somme were ordered to go “over the top” in the battle which claimed the lives of more than one million people in the First World War.

The sounding of the Last Post and the scattering of petals will bring the ceremony to a close, events will continue at the Battery.

At 10.30am, students from St Joseph’s Primary School will present a short film called Life on the Edge of a Bullet.

It is all about Hartlepool people and the First World War and was compiled by pupils working with the Time Bandits re-enactment group, historians from Tyneside and Yussef Nimer, a film-maker from Middlesbrough.

At 2pm, acoustic folk group Fool’s Gold will perform Beat the Drum - a commemoration of the conflict through the eyes of a newly married couple caught up in the events of 1914.

The story will be told in music and pictures.

Museum manager Diane Stephens said: “The museum will be open as usual throughout the day with displays about the regiments taking part in the Battle of the Somme and the stories of those awarded the Victoria Cross.

“We also hope to have a large art installation ‘Somme’ created by Bethany and Zoltan, young artists from Cleveland College of Art and Design.

“It will consist of body outlines across the parade ground of the museum, symbolising the loss of life in this tragic battle.”

Normal entrance fees apply to the public.

For more details on the event and on the museum, contact (01429) 270746.