A MYSTERY object from the First World War has come to light. What appears to be a grave marker relating to the so-called Old Contemptibles who were regular soldiers involved in early battles in the war, has been handed in to the Heugh Battery Museum in Hartlepool.
The museum at the site of the town’s former gun battery is one of the main places associated with the bombardment of Hartlepool on December 16, 1914, and will be at the centre of some of the region’s most important First World War centenary events.
John Southcott, chairman of the Heugh Battery Museum, explained a family in Hartlepool donated the ‘grave marker.’
He said: “We’d love to know more about it. Apparently the chap it belonged to was great mates with Sidney Godley, who was the first private soldier to win the Victoria Cross in the war.”
Other items on display include a 1cm-wide necklace made from shell fragment that fell on Hartlepool in the bombardment. The necklace is believed to have been made for a little girl who survived the bombing and was returned to the town by a New Zealand family.
A total of 112 people, including 40 children, died in the bombardment from a German warship. A moving ceremony, involving the release of 40 balloons by Hartlepool schoolchildren, is planned for December 16 and the event will be one of region’s key commemorations of the First World War.
*Anyone with information about the ‘grave marker’ is asked to call the Heugh Battery on 01429-270746.