Hartlepool bombardment: Unseen footage of WWI attack found at market

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Boy in front of bomb damagedImage source, NEFA
Image caption,
The footage was filmed by the Gaumont Company

Previously unseen footage of a World War One attack which killed 130 people has been revealed after being found at a market.

The five-minute long newsreel shows the aftermath of the bombardment of Hartlepool on 16 December 1914.

It was found in a box of broken cameras at Tynemouth Market by Mark Simmons, Hartlepool Council's museums curator.

Two German warships fired more than 1,000 shells on the town during the 40-minute dawn attack.

Mr Simmons, who by coincidence had been researching the bombardment since 2011, bought the £20 box of broken cameras and lenses thinking they might useful for art projects.

"On getting home, I just took out a few useful pieces and put the rest in storage," he said.

"It was only later that I got around to sorting through the entire contents.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The attack killed 130 people and injured many hundreds more

"In the bottom of the box, wrapped in sheets of old greaseproof paper, was an old film reel and the title card on the first frames - The Attack on the Hartlepools - was just visible."

The bombardment was carried out by the cruisers Blucher, Seydlitz and Motlke.

Mr Simmons said the film, which has been donated to and restored by the North East Film Archive (NEFA), was "mostly previously unseen footage" by the Gaumont Company.

Mr Simmons said: "It is the best quality of any of the bombardment damage films but, crucially, contains a number of sections that have never been seen before, namely footage of Cleveland Street and the damage to houses at Carlton Terrace - including a close-up of local women and children."

It also includes footage of the German attacks on Scarborough and Whitby the same day.

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