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WWI warship raid remembered.

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

ANEW museum gallery opens today which will tell the story of the German Navy's First World War attack on a North East town.

Just after 8am on December 16, 1914, German warships fired more than a thousand shells at Hartlepool, killing a total of 130 civilians and military personnel and wounding more than 500.

The Heugh Gun Battery on the Headland returned fire in what was the only battle to be fought on British soil during the war.

One of the battery's soldiers, Theo Jones of the Durham Light Infantry, became the first British soldier to be killed by enemy action on home ground.

Now the momentous day will be recalled in a new permanent gallery at the Museum of Hartlepool at Hartlepool's Maritime Experience which will be officially opened by Coun Kevin Cranney, chairman of Hartlepool Council's regeneration services policy committee.

He said: "The bombardment was an event of massive significance, not only locally but nationally."

The gallery includes: | An audio-visual presentation, new photographs and recently-discovered archive footage of the day's events and the aftermath.

| The 130 ceramic poppies which formed part of the artwork Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London last year and which were used in the subsequent dedication ceremony for the new Headland memorial to the casualties of the bombardment.

| A roll of honour of the names of all the 130 Hartlepool people known to have died in the bombardment. | The return to display of objects including the 'Bombardment Clock' - which stopped when it was pierced by a shell fragment - and James Clark's oil painting The Bombardment of the Hartlepools.

| New exhibits such as a six-inch shell from the German battlecruiser Blucher, which took part in the attack, and the official Government order to the Hartlepools to cease hostilities on November 11, 1918.

The exhibition has been produced by Hartlepool Council's Museums Service. The Imperial War Museum helped the project by allowing the use of its archive footage.

Mark Simmons, the council's museums manager, said: "This is the best interpretation of the bombardment and Hartlepool's role in the wider war which the museum has ever had.

"Previously our First World War exhibits were just among the other displays.

"Now they have their own dedicated gallery which tells the full story of the bombardment in a powerful and memorable way."

The force which attacked Hartlepool included the battlecruisers Seydlitz and Moltke, and the armoured cruiser Blucher.

The raid had an enormous effect upon British public opinion because of its targeting of civilians, and became part of a British propaganda and recruitment campaign.

Last year the centenary of the attack was marked by the unveiling of a new bombardment memorial near the Headland lighthouse.


Last year, Hartlepool marked the centenary of its bombardment by the German Navy in the First World War

<BThe Bombardment of the Hartlepools, oil painting by James Clark

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 16, 2015
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