Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Hartlepool Bombardment: 16 December 1914
  2. First major attack on British soil of WW1
  3. More than 1,000 shells fired over 40 minutes
  4. Scarborough and Whitby also attacked

Live Reporting

By Kristie Kinghorn

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodbye

Kristie Kinghorn

BBC News Online

That brings us to the end of our dedicated coverage of the centenary of the Hartlepool Bombardment.

The Commemoration Society 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry at the plaque in Hartlepool
Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

There will be further updates on the

BBC North East Local Live page. And here are links to our other coverage of the bombardment -
an audio slideshow with archive pictures and first-hand accounts,
a feature looking at Hartlepool then and now and the
German perspective on the bombardment.

Painting depicts bombardment

Hartlepool-born James Clark produced this oil on canvas of the bombardment just weeks after the attack in 1915.

The Bombardment of the Hartlepools shows a young girl being taken to safety by a local fisherman as soldiers from the Heugh Battery defend the town.

The Bombardment of the Hartlepools (16 December 1914)
James Clark

Performance on the Headland

This evening, to commemorate the centenary, a special performance is taking place on the Headland.

Periplum in action. Photography by Richard Osborne
Richard Osborne

Homecoming by Periplum is a

free outdoor arts event telling the stories of Tees Valley residents' contribution to the war efforts, both on the home front and overseas on foreign battlefields.

Tynemouth's warning

Tynemouth 1914-18

tweets: After the attack on Hartlepool the Borough of Tynemouth braced itself for an attack.

Newspaper cutting
Tynemouth 1914-18

Medals commemorate bombardment

These medals commemorate the bombardment of Scarborough and Hartlepool.

Medals
Hartlepool Culture and Information

Memorial marks first shell

A memorial stone stands on the town's coastline between the battery and the North Sea coast path marking the site of where the first shell fell. Each year a memorial service is held at the site on 16 December.

Memorial
BBC

A £400,000 project has been taking place across Hartlepool to bring to life the centenary through a series of events, exhibitions and outreach projects in the Tees Valley.

The programme of events, funded by the Arts Council, is to

help young people learn about World War One and about their own families' involvement in the bombardment.

The soldiers who manned the battery

These officers and men were in charge of the Hartlepool Battery on the day of the bombardment.

Officers and men in charge of the Hartlepool Batteries
Hartlepool Culture and Information

Recruitment and fundraising boost

Mark Simmons said the bombardment caused a huge spike in terms of raising money for the war effort and recruitment.

Between August 1914 and July 1919 people in the borough raised £545m for the war effort and more than 21,000 men were signed up through the town's recruitment office.

The attack on Scarborough was used in recruitment posters.

A poster encouraging men to enlist after the 1914 German bombardment of Scarborough
Scarborough Museums Trust

Sense of sadness

Hartlepool museums manager Mark Simmons said his research into the bombardment had been a poignant experience for him, particularly researching footage of one of the military funerals.

He said: "You always feel to yourself a sense of sadness because you are looking at real people's lives and you are looking at their deaths and whenever you see that footage I see the grief in the people.

"I have that with all the bombardment victims, that sense of the more I know about them the more I feel for the real people that they are."

5th Battalion Green Howards on duty at the castle in Scarborough after the 1914 German bombardment
Scarborough Museums Trust

British Navy 'did not rule the waves'

Letters and diary notes from the German sailors involved reveal their perspective of the attack.

"Our ships showed that not only does Britannia not rule the waves, but that it cannot even protect its coast."

This was the scathing summary of one young German sailor, writing in his diary, after the bombardment of Hartlepool.

German sailors' drill
Deutsches Navy Museum

And as far as this sailor was concerned, victory over the British Navy was decisive. Britannia most certainly did not rule the waves, as the song claimed.

Frozen in a chair

Mrs Chapman said her grandfather went to see his parents and sister and found his sister frozen in her chair from the shock.

Children standing outside of St. Barnabas Church on Hart Road
Hartlepool Culture and Information

She said her mother recalled everyone was running to the station because they thought it was an invasion.

Mrs Chapman said her mother remembered it "not with horror" but spoke about it a lot.

Losing a shoe

Angela Chapman's mother Mary Almond was four at the time of the bombardment and lived in Kinburn Street, near the seafront, with her two-year-old brother Fred and parents.

She said: "It was her mother's birthday. Her father had gone to work and they were having breakfast at the table with her mother spooning porridge into Fred's mouth when they heard a noise which her mother said was thunder.

"Her father came running in and said 'get the children and run'."

She said they ran to another home belonging to the family in Corporation Road and her mother remembered losing her shoe and "making a big fuss about it".

'Keeping memories alive'

The students from Dyke House School who produced the poem said it had meant a great deal to them to be involved.

Rebekah said: "It's really important that teenagers our age know what happened 100 years ago," while Will said: "It's given me a different perspective on history."

Students from Dyke House School with poet Kate Fox
BBC

Liam said: "People think nothing has ever happened in Hartlepool but this project is keeping alive the memories of people who lived 100 years ago." That was something fellow pupil Sophie agreed with, saying: "It's been a great experience because Hartlepool is often seen in a negative way but this project has shone some light on Hartlepool's history."

The school's head of history Jonathan McDaid said: "The best thing about this project has been hearing the stories of people who have died and then sharing them with the students."

Poem written by students

As part of the World War One At Home project, 80 hours of audio was discovered at Teesside Archives. It was recorded in the 1980s with people who were teenagers at the time of the bombardment giving their first-hand accounts.

Pupils from Dyke House School, in Hartlepool, listened to the audio and with the help of performance poet Kate Fox produced a poem.

They thought about what it was like for teenagers 100 years ago who were on their way to school when the bombardment started.

Listen to the poem here.

Bells ring out

To commemorate the centenary of the bombardment, church bells will ring out across Hartlepool to pay tribute to those killed in the attack.

Bellringers across the town will ring the bells at several churches throughout the day.

Some of the Hartlepool bellringers practice at All Saints Stranton for Tuesday's bombardment commemoration
Hartlepool Council

Later this evening, the events on the Headland will draw to a close when the bells of the former Christ Church, St Oswald's in Brougham Terrace and St Aidan's in Stockton Road - 24 bells in total - will be rung for an hour.

Bombardment artefact

David Rose emailed us about his personal connection to the Hartlepool bombardment.

He wrote: "I actually have a piece mounted on a plinth of one of the first shells to drop on Hartlepool. It was given to me by my late grandfather Edgar Leonard who fought in WW1."

Names of victims read out

Among the groups involved in today's memorial were the Commemoration Society 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

The Commemoration Society 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry at the plaque in Hartlepool
PA

The names of the 130 people who died were read out.

Ceramic poppies remember those who died

The events for the centenary include 130 of the ceramic poppies from the artwork entitled Blood-Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which were at the Tower of London, being planted next to the memorial to represent each of those who died.

Ceramic poppy at the Tower of London
PA

It is the first time the poppies have been used at a public event since they were removed from London. Hartlepool's museum manager Mark Simmons said they were "very privileged" to be given the opportunity.

Floral tributes laid

Some of the floral tributes left in Hartlepool this morning to mark the 100th anniversary of the town's bombardment.

Floral tributes
BBC

The military remembers

Four military organisations have been invited to lay plaques at the new memorial.

Lt Col Richard Hart, Commanding Officer of the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "We are privileged to play our part in this important commemoration to remember the civilians and military personnel killed during the bombardment.

Memorial plaque in Hartlepool as the town devastated by the 1914 German bombardment of the North East coast is preparing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the attack
Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

"The serving military and the veterans' associations are hugely supportive of this event, which is a most fitting tribute."

New memorial unveiled

Hartlepool is paying tribute to those it lost in a day of civic and community events organised by Hartlepool Council in partnership with the Heugh Gun Battery Trust.

The highlight will be the unveiling of the new Bombardment Memorial on land near the Headland lighthouse by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon.

Memorial
BBC

Hartlepool pays tribute

100 years to the day, Hartlepool is paying tribute to those it lost in a day of civic and community events organised by Hartlepool Council in partnership with the Heugh Gun Battery Trust.

Representatives of the four military organisations which lost personnel in the bombardment, the Durham Light Infantry, the Royal Engineers, the Royal Artillery and the Royal Navy, will lay plaques at the memorial.

Memorial
Hartlepool Council

Tug Wilson, chairman of the Hartlepool Combined Ex-Service Association, said: "In presenting our standards at the new memorial we will proudly honour the memory of all those so tragically killed on that fateful day in December 1914."

Getting ready for school

Mrs Jobling was getting ready for school when the shells began to drop.

She recalls hearing what she thought was thunder.

A young girl holding a small child outside a shell damaged house in Sussex Street
Hartlepool Culture and Information

Scarborough homes damaged

Red Lea on Prince of Wales Terrace in Scarborough after the 1914 German bombardment (left) and how the same building looks now.

Scarborough Museums Trust of Lonsdale Road in Scarborough after the 1914 German bombardment (left) and how the same building looks now
Scarborough Museums Trust/PA Wire

Streets in the firing line

Hartlepool was the only one of the three towns which was defended. More than 1,000 shells were fired at it by three German cruisers over 40 minutes. The town had major shipyards and marine engine works.

The neighbouring Heugh Battery meant Moor Terrace was in the firing line of the German attackers.

Moor terrace looking towards the sea
Hartlepool Culture and Information

The street suffered extensive damage but looks relatively unchanged 100 years on.

Take a look at this and more photos comparing the town at the time of the bombardment and today.

Clock stopped

This

metal alarm clock represents the point when the first of 1,150 shells rained down on Hartlepool.

A piece of German naval shell is embedded in the face of the clock which was stopped by a piece of shrapnel, it also shows the place of manufacture - Germany.

Clock
Hartlepool Cluture and Information

The clock can still be seen to this day at The Heugh Gun Battery.

Paying respects to victims

Peter Harris

Look North

I'm in Hartlepool and dozens of people have arrived to pay their respects to the victims of the German bombardment 100 years ago. More than 100 civilians died.

People paying respects in Hartlepool
BBC

Grandmother's birthday on day of bombardment

Suzie Lennox

tweets: 100yrs ago tdy my Gt grandmother had her 21st birthday the same day #Hartlepool was bombed #ww1athome

Grandfather injured at Heugh Battery

John Parker emailed about his personal connection to the Hartlepool Bombardment. His grandfather Pte David Lamb, of the Durham Light Infantry, was wounded by the shellfire at Heugh Battery.

He wrote: "His wounds were serious enough for him to be kept in hospital for several months. Had he received similar wounds on the Western Front, he might well have not survived.

"So in a way I may owe my existence - indirectly - to the German Navy and am reflecting on that twist of fate this morning."

Mr Parker said his grandfather was discharged on medical grounds and returned to civilian life as a teacher. He was awarded a medal for "services rendered at Hartlepool" - but also had a white feather pushed through his letterbox.

'Terrible noise'

Edith Reed remembers the moment she heard the shells being fired: "I was walking and this terrible, terrible noise started. Windows rattled, you thought the world was coming to an end.

"They [the shells] just came in and shattered the whole place."

Bombed piano
Hartlepool Culture and Information

Man found grand-daughters buried in rubble

George Jobling refused to leave his home on the corner of South Street and Dock Street in West Hartlepool during the bombardment.

George Jobling
Hartlepool Museum Archive

He found the dead bodies of his two grand-daughters, Sarah, six, and Hannah, four, buried in the rubble outside.

Many houses damaged

This photo shows damage from the bombardment to houses on Lilly Street. This street no longer exists but ran between Thorpe Street and Arabella Street on the Headland.

Lilly Street
Hartlepool Culture and Information

Soldiers defended the town

Lt Col Lancelot Robson was a fire commander of Durham Royal Garrison Artillery and helped defend the town, along with his fellow soldiers, as Hartlepool came under fire.

Lieutenant Colonel Lancelot Robson
Hartlepool Culture and Information

130 known deaths on the day of the bombardment

Hartlepool Borough Council museums manager Mark Simmons has spent the last two years researching to find the true number of those who died in Hartlepool during the bombardment after discovering there were discrepancies in the accounts.

He trawled through documents including coroner and newspaper reports and found 114 civilians, nine soldiers and seven sailors died on the actual day, although he is sure that will not be the final figure.

Mark Simmons
BBC

Mr Simmons said: "I know that it will never end. There are potentially people who were never reported."

Soldier's memoir of attack

Alongside Theo Jones in combat was 19-year-old Private Robert Webster.

In the days after the bombardment he wrote a short memoir about the attack -

listen to his account.

Theophilus Jones thought to be first soldier killed

Although Pte Theophilus Jones is almost universally credited with being the first soldier to die during the bombardment, conclusive evidence is scarce.

Theophilus Jones
Hartlepool Culture and Information

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

can only narrow it down to the few members of the 18th battalion of the DLI killed on duty that day.

Walter Rogers, LD Turner, Alix Oliffe Liddle, CS Clarke and Thomas Minks - all from County Durham or Teesside - were with Pte Jones as the battery returned fire.