World War One re-enactors recreate Hartlepool’s home front patrols

HALT: From left, Dave Wilson, Mark Naylor and Paul Morris of the Durham Pals who will be in Hartlepool this coming weekend
HALT: From left, Dave Wilson, Mark Naylor and Paul Morris of the Durham Pals who will be in Hartlepool this coming weekend

HOME front patrols like those carried out regularly during the First World War will be re-created in Hartlepool.

Members of the Durham Pals – a group which portrays the recruits of the 18th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry – will be in character and traditional uniform during the event

Part of the Remembering Our War programme, the re-enactments will focus on the roles and activities undertaken by local volunteers during the First World War. They will take place at the marina next to the Museum of Hartlepool where a special free exhibition, Voices of the Bombardment, is being staged.

Visitors to the museum will also be able to view an array of artefacts from the bombardment of the Hartlepools, as well as James Clark’s magnificent painting, which vividly depicts the moment that German shells struck the towns in December 1914.

The public can come along to see the exhibition and enjoy the re-enactments between 10am and 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Durham Pals member Mark Naylor, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the exhibition with a series of live performances inspired by the volunteers who played an important role in keeping the home shores safe during the First World War.

“The Durham Pals portray the recruits of the 18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry at the start of the war, how they dressed, were equipped and trained. This is done through public displays and working with schools to deliver parts of the curriculum.”

Research has found that a number of volunteer units just like the 18th DLI, were involved in preventing people from entering secure zones along the coast, at shipyards - including Richardsons, Grays, and Irvines and at the dockyards – where merchant ships loaded and unloaded.

Details of their work was kept secret but included guarding entrances, checking the identities of those coming and going and looking out for people acting suspiciously.

They would also have helped customs officers in their searches for contraband.

All units encouraged civilians to volunteer for the forces and young men were sent to the recruiting station in West Hartlepool in the building next to the old library on Church Square, which is now part of the Cleveland College for Art and Design.

The Remembering Our War initiative is being delivered by Hartlepool, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton councils – together with the Heugh Gun Battery in Hartlepool – using a £400,000 grant from Arts Council England.

David Worthington, head of culture and information at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Having the Durham Pals staging a live re-enactment alongside our museum exhibition offers a great opportunity for people to find out more about an important part of the history of our region. It comes on the back of a number of Great War commemoration events, including the first two of five highly visual outdoor performances delivered by internationally acclaimed theatre company Periplum.”

The next of these takes place at Albert Park, Middlesbrough on the 1st November before the penultimate show at the Market Square in Darlington on the 14th November. The final performance takes place in Hartlepool Town Square on the 16th December - which will mark 100 years to the day since the bombardment of the towns.

To book free tickets for the outdoor spectacular events or for more information about any events taking place as part of the Remembering Our War programme, visit: http://www.rememberingourwar.co.uk/