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Live Reporting

Kristie Kinghorn

All times stated are UK

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  1. 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)
  2. 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

    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.

  3. Tynemouth's warning

    Tynemouth 1914-18 tweets: After the attack on Hartlepool the Borough of Tynemouth braced itself for an attack.

    Newspaper cutting
  4. Medals commemorate bombardment

    These medals commemorate the bombardment of Scarborough and Hartlepool.

  5. 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.


    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.

  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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

    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.

  10. 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

    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.

  11. 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".

  12. '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

    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."

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    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.

  15. 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."

  16. 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

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

  17. 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

    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.

  18. 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
  19. 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

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.


    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."

  22. 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
  23. 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

    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.

  24. 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.


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

  25. 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
  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. '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
  29. 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

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

  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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

    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.

  35. 'Thought it was thunder'

    Edgar Jones remembers walking to school when he heard the ships: "...we heard this, what we thought then, was thunder - bing, bang, bong, you know, and a battleship of the German Navy, the Blucher, was firing shells along the coast."

    German warship Blucher
  36. First-hand accounts recorded

    As part of the WW1 At Home project, 80 hours of audio was found in Teesside Archives.

    The interviews were recorded in the 1980s and featured people who were teenagers at the time of the attack speaking about their experiences.

    Here follow some of the accounts from those recordings.

  37. People emerged from their homes

    In Hartlepool, people began to appear from the shelter of their houses, helping to dig out those around them who were injured.

    Rugby Terrace, West Hartlepool

    The clean-up began.

  38. Whitby also came under attack

    At about 09:00, Whitby felt the weight of the German broadsides as they steamed past the quiet fishing port heading for a rendezvous with the rest of their battle group who had attacked Hartlepool.

    Seven people in Whitby died (although only three were ever officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the bombardment).

    Bombed building in Scarborough

    Young men in their droves rushed to their local recruitment offices to 'avenge' Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool.

    In just 30 minutes on that cold December morning, the Great War had finally become a harsh and bitter reality for the people of Scarborough and Whitby.

  39. Bombardment ends

    The bombardment of Hartlepool ends.

    Bombed street
  40. German ships withdrew

    Shortly before 09:00 the German squadron fired its last shell and as quickly as it had appeared, it withdrew into the mists of the North Sea.

    Baptist Church

    They left 130 people dead including nine soldiers, seven sailors, 15 children and 467 wounded. Seven churches, ten public buildings, five hotels and more than 300 houses were damaged.

  41. More than 1,000 shells fired

    During the 40 minute attack, 1,150 shells were fired, destroying large areas of Hartlepool.

    Three men, one is holding an unexploded 5.9 shell, which was found in the railway sidings in Hartlepool

    This unexploded shell was found in the town's railway sidings.

  42. Soldiers returned fire from battery

    When the German warships shelled Hartlepool, the soldiers manning the Heugh Battery returned fire in anger at the three German cruisers in a fierce battle.

    This battery was the only one in the country to have directly engaged the enemy during World War One.


    But the Germans did not escape completely unscathed, the Heugh battery had fired 123 rounds mainly at the Blucher, smashing her fore-bridge, damaging some of its guns and killing nine.

  43. Attack on Scarborough lasted 30 minutes

    It wasn't just Hartlepool which came under fire.

    That fateful morning 18 people fell victim to the German attack in Scarborough, including 14-month-old baby boy John Shields Ryalls and shoemaker Henry Harland.

    Scarborough was completely unprepared for the attack in 1914

    The attack lasted some 30 minutes.

  44. First civilian fatalities

    Among the first civilian fatalities of the bombardment were Hilda Horsley, a 17-year-old tailoress who was on her way to work, sisters Annie and Florence Kay who lived at 19 Cliff Terrace, and Salvation Army adjutant William G Avery.

    This photo shows Mr Avery, his wife and five children in 1903.

    William Avery and his family
  45. First soldier killed

    Amongst the dead was the first soldier to be killed on British soil during the conflict - Theophilus Jones, a 29-year-old private in the Durham Light Infantry (DLI).

    On the morning of the bombardment, Pte Jones left his homes on Ashgrove Avenue and made his way to the Heugh Gun Battery.

    Theophilus Jones

    As the shells began to fall where the soldiers stood, the battery and the slipway were hit, fatally wounding four soldiers.

  46. Civilians brought into frontline

    The first major home attack of World War One, it brought civilians unexpectedly on to the front line of battle.

    Central Estate bomb damage with kids

    It left 114 civilians dead and hundreds more injured.

  47. Many caught by surprise

    When the shelling started, it caught many of the victims by surprise as they got ready to start their day.

    Many children were having breakfast or heading for school when the attack began.

    Bombardment damage to Central Estate, Hartlepool

    Fathers who had already started their shifts dashed home to collect their families and a handful of belongings before fleeing on foot out into the County Durham countryside.

  48. 'All of a sudden they turned the guns round on the town'

    Jennie Hogg, who was a girl at the time of attack, remembers the moment the bombardment started: "I saw the boats out there. It was smashing watching them firing because they were firing out to sea.

    "Then all of a sudden they turned the guns round on the town."

  49. Ships emerged from the mist

    Three German cruisers, the Blucher, Seydlitz and Moltke, emerged from the North Sea mist just before 08:00.

    SMS Moltke

    The alarm was raised.

  50. German navy decided to carry out raid

    Unable to face the British fleet in a full scale battle, the German navy decided to carry out a raid that would draw a smaller number of British battleships into an ambush in the North Sea.

    Bombardment damage to Uion Road
  51. German warships left base

    Shortly after midnight, the German warships left their base and headed out across the North Sea.

    SMS Seydlitz
  52. Bombardment 'was significant'

    Hartlepool museums manager Mark Simmons said the Hartlepool bombardment was significant because it led to the death of the first British soldier and first British civilian on home soil during the conflict as a result of enemy action and because of coastal defences being used.

    He said that it was well known about in the North East but less so further afield and he believes that was because Scarborough was the place held up as the main victim for the purposes of recruitment.

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

    He said: "It particularly resonates for the people of the North East. No one in Hartlepool was unaffected. People knew someone who was injured or killed. It had an impact on the psychology of the town. The bombardment will never be forgotten in the North East.

    "If you go outside the North East, it doesn't have the resonance as much further away."

  53. Post update

    We will tell the story of the bombardment as it happened 100 years ago over a 40-minute period in between 08:00 and 09:00.

    Over the same period our colleagues on BBC Tees will tell the story of the attack in real time from the moment the first shell struck to the chaos and confusion left behind when the guns fell silent.

    The story will be told through a mixture of the first-hand accounts of those who lived through the attack, pictures from Teesside Archives and look at how the centenary is being marked in the town today.

  54. Post update

    Kristie Kinghorn

    BBC News Online

    On the morning of 16 December 1914 towns on the coast of north-east England were targeted by German ships. Scarborough and Hartlepool were the first hit with Whitby about an hour later.

    They were the first places on mainland Britain to be attacked during World War One.

    Heugh Gun Battery volunteer Gerry Rafell at the memorial in Hartlepool

    One hundred years later, BBC News revisits the events of the day in Hartlepool with pictures and through the words of those who were there. We also look at what effect the bombardment had on the town, what it means for those living there now and how the town will mark it.