Hartlepool remembers 107th anniversary of devastating bombardment in poignant ceremony

Dozens of people killed in the Bombardment of the Hartlepools were remembered during a poignant ceremony more than 100 years later.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 12:11 pm

People gathered at the war memorial on the Headland early on Thursday morning for the anniversary service exactly 107 years since shells rained down on the town.

Day was just dawning on December 16 in 1914 when German Navy ships opened fire claiming the lives of at least 130 adults and children.

The names of all servicemen and children who died were read out during the service by Diane Stephens, manager of the Heugh Battery Museum, which organises the annual service.

Members of the Durham Pal’s 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry at the Headland memorial. Picture by FRANK REID

Guests were invited to plant a small wooden cross with a poppy and the name of individual victims around the memorial in Redheugh Gardens.

Along with local residents, the service was attended by the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, Brenda Loynes, and her councillor husband Dennis, council leader Shane Moore and parents and children from St Helen’s Primary School.

Diane said: “I think it went really well. The turnout was really good.

"I’m really pleased that people participated in the whole ceremony because it is theirs, not ours.

Parents and children from St Helen's Primary School attending the service held at the Redheugh Gardens. Picture by FRANK REID

"To see them and so many children participate so willingly was lovely to see.”

Due to the ongoing Covid situation the event was kept more low-key than previous years.

At 8.10am – the time the first shell was fired – a 25 pounder gun fired a salute to mark a minute’s silence.

Members of The Durham Pals Living History Group stood guard at the memorial while poppy wreaths were laid by the community.

The Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Brenda Loynes along with her husband and fellow councillor Dennis attending bombardment service. Picture by FRANK REID

Bugler Vicky Coates, principal Cornet player with Hartlepool Youth and Community Band, played Abide With Me and The Last Post.

Mayor of Hartlepool Cllr Loynes said: “It’s very important that we remember those who lost their lives.

"It is very close to my heart as my mam was born three days after the bombardment.

"Things could have been totally different if she had been killed.”

The centenary of the Redheugh Gardens memorial itself will be marked by the Heugh Battery Museum in Moor Terrace with an exhibition from Friday, December 17, until Sunday, December 19.

Local historians will be at the event on Friday and Sunday with the Time Bandits re-enactors present from 1pm-3pm on Saturday.

Entry is free.

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