Community turns out in force to honour Hartlepool bombardment victims 105 years on

The community gathered on Hartlepool’s Headland to remember the 105th anniversary of the bombardment of the town.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 10:25 am
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 4:14 pm

A moving ceremony has taken place around the war memorial in Redheugh Gardens at the exact moment shells rained down on the Hartlepools on December 16 in 1914 causing widespread death and destruction.

Despite the cold, the event organised by the Heugh Battery Museum was once again extremely well supported.

It began at 8am with a short parade from the museum to the memorial which looks out onto the sea where in 1914 three German warships opened fire on the town.

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Hartlepool Bombardment annual memorial service

On parade were ex-servicemen and organisations, the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Brenda Loynes, school children from St Bega’s and St Helen’s primaries, Hartlepool Air Cadets and members of the public.

It was led by piper Steve Wright and a horse rider, provided by the Hartlepool Field of Remembrance Project.

This year, around 50 small wooden crosses were planted around the war memorial with each one dedicated to a child or serviceman who lost their life on that day.

Their names were read out by museum volunteer Wally Stewart.

Hartlepool Bombardment annual memorial service

He said: “Thank you so much for turning out on a very cold December day.

“I know the people of the Headland appreciate it, the memory to those who died on the 16th of December 1914.”

At 8.10am, when the first shell hit, a canon was fired by Stephen Picton, who was one of the organisers of May’s Tommy To Tommy sponsored walk which raised more than £20,000 for the museum’s survival.

A number of poppy wreaths were laid at the war memorial around which stood museum members of the Durham Pals Living History Group in First World War battledress.

Hartlepool Air Cadets plant crosses in memory of children and servicemen who died in the bombardment of Hartlepool at the annual commemoration service.

Prayers and a blessing was led by Reverend Verity Brown of St Hilda’s Church.

Diane Stephens, manager of the Heugh Battery Museum, said: “We want to make sure this continues. It’s so important to remember things when they happened and stop and think at the exact time those actions were happening.

“I’m delighted that as always local people came out and supported the event. And the horse and piper gave extra poignancy.

“We are so grateful to the Field of Remembrance people.”