The Heugh Battery Museum at Hartlepool Headland
Museum Hartlepool County Durham

The Heugh Battery Museum at Hartlepool Headland

Museum In Hartlepool, County Durham

The site preserves the only First World War battle site in Blighty.

A visit around Hartlepool's Headland is an eclectic mix of history, birds, the port, lighthouses, churches, art and sculptures. Today we had a stop off for a look around the well-kept Heugh Battery Museum which is near the War Memorial and Heugh Lighthouse.

Starting at the museum gate, the emblem on the left-hand side is that of the Royal Engineers 'Ubique Quo fas et Gloria Ducant' which translates from Latin to Everywhere, Whither Right and Glory Lead. It has been said the sappers use the colloquialism 'Anytime, Anyplace Anywhere'.

The emblem on the Right is The Durham Light Infantry whose motto was The Faithful Durhams. They had the nickname Dirty little Imps which is probably a mining reference. They were in existence from 1881 to 1969

You are greeted warmly into the Museum and the admission is just a donation. Volunteers since 2000 have restored the Battery and happily give information, with information boards, equipment, and of course guns.

There is a display of muskets and rifles in date order and you can see how they have evolved from 1837 to 1886 when the army issue was the bolt action rifle till 1954.

There is an Armory room that is worth asking to be shown.

Outside you get an idea about the strategic position The Heugh offers. In 1795 defence emplacements were constructed due to the Napoleonic Wars (1803 to 1815). During the Crimean War (1853 to 1856) two coastal gun batteries were built to guard against The Imperial Russian Navy. Briton was successful in this campaign and see The Heugh for details.

In 1860 it was considered that the fast-growing port of Hartlepool needed more robust protection. So gun batteries were placed near the lighthouse with another at the cemetery and the third at Fairy Cove. There is a good view of the coast from each of these.

Great Britton entered the First World War on August 4th, 1914 and the Bombardment of Hartlepool occurred on the morning of Wednesday 16th December 1914.

Part of Hartlepool's defence was the 18th Battalion which was a Pais Battalion. They were part of the British Army where comrades were kept together and reported for duty from home daily.

The Kaiserlich Marine's (Imperial German Navy) target was to damage the shipbuilding and engineering works around Hartlepool's docks.

It was a ship-to-shore battle between German Naval Destroyers and the guns at Heugh Battery and the neighbouring Lighthouse Battery. It lasted 40 minutes. more than 1,150 shells hit 300 houses, 7 churches, the railways, steel and gas works.

It was quite unknown to attack the civilian population and approximately (reports vary) 130 civilians,9 soldiers, and 7 sailors were killed. Many more injured and scared townsfolk took to the countryside for refuge.

There is a thoughtful memorial held on 16th December each year with the firing of a 25lb gun at 8h10.

A former headteacher from Leicestershire called Private Theo Jones around the age of 27 was the first person to be killed in this bombardment. He was the first soldier in this war to die on British soil. Eight German sailors were killed and 12 injured. Thousands from Hartlepool joined the military as a result of this bombing.

The museum now has many ground-to-air missile launchers and the odd tank. Somebody has a sense of humour (See the legs!)

There is also an air raid shelter and underground reconstructed tunnels.

The control tower was where the commands came from. On the glass is a depiction of what the German warships would have looked like from this point.

After you're done I can recommend a brew and a scone in the Poppys Tea Room. The tables and walls have remarkable accounts of animals used during the wars.

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54.696785, -1.176628

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Parking is available outside the museum.

Contributed by Rosalind Parker

Thanks for reading through and getting to the end of this post. I enjoy exploring the Fabulous North (Especially as a Southerner residing up North). I like 'snippets' of information, and more so, if they are obscure, amusing or meaningful. The photographs are taken on a mobile phone, without any enhancements.

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Rosalind Parker

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