Friday, 17 October 2014

Mara and the Bombardment of Hartlepool.

Venue:  Central Library Hartlepool 21st October 2-4pm
Join me in Hartlepool at for my talk about my novel Children of the Storm. This story starts one morning with pupil teacher Mara Scorton, walking to school in Hartlepool  on December 18th 1914, the day Hartlepool was bombed by the Germans. Her pupils are coming from another direction. He headmaster, the fearsome Mr Clonmel, is in the school, preparing for his day,

My novel re-imagines these events through the eyes of young Mara.   Extract :
‘Mara turned a corner by one of the shipyards and nearly tripped over a man in working clo thes. He was kneeling by another man who was lying white and still in the road. Beside him stood a much younger man nervously clutching his cap. The man in the ground croaked something, but the man tending his shook his head. ‘Ah canna make out a word he’s sayin’, Tadger,’ he said,
‘The gadgie’s a Frenchie,’ said the younger man. ’Ah seen him down the dock, unloading, working like fury. The lads telt us he was a Frenchie, like.’
‘That’s what he’s talking,’ said Mara. ‘French.’
‘D’yer ken that crack, hinney?’ said the old man. ‘A bairn like you?’

The Bombardment
Hartlepool was the first place on mainland Britain to be bombed by the Germans. In the bombardment  over 100 people died as more than 1,000 shells rained down on the town for about 40 minutes from the three heavy cruisers Blucher, Seydlitz and Moltke which emerged from the mist shortly after 8am on December 16 1914. Amongst the casualties was Theo Jones, the first soldier to die on British soil in the Great War.
At dawn, six miles east of Hartlepool, shots were exchanged between them and the destroyers of the Local Defence Patrol who left to raise the
alarm. No-one in the town heard anything. The ‘Seydiltz’, ‘Moltke’ and ‘Blucher’ continued to steam towards the nearest target and the rest headed for Scarborourgh.
At 8.10 a.m. as the inhabitants were readying themselves for the day’s work, the first shell was fired. They were aiming at the shore batteries and the Lighthouse. The shell cut all the lines of communications between the batteries throwing them into confusion.
By 8.25 a.m. most of the ships had come as close as four thousand yards and had begun to pour their fire into the gun emplacements and the docks. Some of the armour piercing shells had delayed action fuses and a number bounced off the batteries into the town.
Henry Smith Terrace was dangerously close to the action. There were hundreds of people milling about, taken totally by surprise, the coastguards were doing their best to evacuate everybody safely. The air was filled with black smoke, the screams of shells passing overhead and the cries of children separated from their families. For about three quarters of an hour the bombardment continued, 1,150 shells were fired into the area killing 112 and wounding over 200.
 Amongst the casualties was Theo Jones, the first soldier to die on British soil in the Great War.

Note:  Children of the Storm is the middle novel in
Wendy Robertson's Kitty Rainbow Trilogy.

Details of Event:
Date: 21st Oct 14
Location: Central Library, 124 York Road, Hartlepool, TS26 9DE
Phone:01429 272905
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Cost: £2.00
From the brochure.
‘A talk with local author Wendy Robertson.
Wendy Robertson is a renowned local author of historical family stories, she will be talking about her work and reading from her early novel Children of the Storm, which opens with the Bombardment of Hartlepool.'

Refreshments will be provided.
Copies of the novel will be available

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