When Germans opened fire on the east coast: Search for descendants of first WW1 victim

AN APPEAL has been launched to find relatives or descendants of the first soldier to die on British soil in the First World War.

Theo Jones, whose story may yet have more twists.

Theo Jones was killed during the bombardment of Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in 1914 - the first of one of 130 people to die.

Campaigners are now examining his story more closely and hoping to find a living descendant.

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On the morning of his death, his company left Hartlepool Borough Hall at about 7am and marched up to the Heugh Battery singing Tipperary.

The bombardment of the Hartlepools.

But a shot from the German warship Seydlitz struck just in front of the slipway, fatally wounding Jones, Corporal Liddle, and Privates Clark and Turner.

Now both museum officials in Hartlepool, and campaigners in Leicestershire who are hoping to name a street after Theo, are appealing for help to find a living relative.

Mark Simmons, the Hartlepool Museums Manager, said Theo was born in Darlington in 1887, moving to West Hartlepool soon after.

He had two brothers, and Mrs Lettie Jones, of Ashgrove Avenue, West Hartlepool, was his mother.

The bombardment of the Hartlepools.

By the time he was 18, he was the equivalent to a modern Assistant Headmaster at St Aiden’s School, West Hartlepool, in 1905.

In 1913, he became headmaster of Thringstone School in Leicestershire, only returning home to volunteer for the Army when war broke out.

Mr Simmons said: “Despite our efforts over the years, we’ve never been able to track down any living relatives.

“I suspect that the fact that his mother later remarried, and some suggestions that his brothers moved out of the area, may have led to a break in his family chain.”

If you can help trace a relative, contact Chris Cordner on (0191) 501 7473 or email [email protected]