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Fishburn

Hartlepool Bombardment Memorial
Conductor: Lewis Wilkinson
Soloists: Keeley Brickle, John Gill, Joanne Behan, David Conway
St Hilda's Church, Hartlepool
Saturday 21st April

This impressive concert was held at St Hilda’s Church in the historic Hartlepool headland to commemorate the 1914 bombardment suffered by the town during the First World War.

With a night of commissioned works, traditional pieces, and exceptional soloists, the full audience were not disappointed.

Tribute

The first half saw the band pay tribute to the lives lost, particularly those of the headland bombardment on December 16th 1914, when the Germany Navy began an attack on the town, killing over 100 people. 

It took place early in the morning, with families on their way to school when the attack began - many only able to grab their belongings before fleeing to County Durham on foot. Private Theo Jones, aged 27, based at the Heugh Battery that was severely hit, was to become the first soldier to die on English soil during the emerging conflict.

To remember this tragic event and recognise the spirit and recovery of the people of Hartlepool, Fishburn Band commissioned local composer Lee Morris to write ‘A Headland Overture’ which formed the finale of the first half. 

It told the story of that morning; starting with the bangs and booms of the guns on the headland, moving through military fanfares, a moving hymn tribute to Private Jones before a traditional march depicting the undiminished spirit of the people of Hartlepool. The work was conducted by the composer and was a poignant end to the first half.

To remember this tragic event and recognise the spirit and recovery of the people of Hartlepool, Fishburn Band commissioned local composer Lee Morris to write ‘A Headland Overture’ which formed the finale of the first half. 

100 yards away

Many audience members commented on how much they enjoyed the piece and how pleased they were to now have a musical work commemorating a large part of the town’s history – the performance taking place just 100 yards from where some of the first shells landed.

Before the concert and during the interval there was the opportunity for members of the audience to look at artefacts on display from the Heugh Battery Museum. 

The second half presented a more familiar concert programme of band classics from ‘Breezin’ down Broadway’ to ‘Rhapsody for Euphonium’ and ‘Georgia on my Mind’.

The concert ended with a rousing rendition of ‘The Dambusters’ march resulting in a standing ovation from the audience. 

It was a great evening of music making and local history - one that was honoured in the most fitting way.



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Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author