A memorial bench at Wheatsheaf Green to commemorate the Zepplin attack in April 1916
But in the first “total war” the whole nation had to be mobilised to fight, and Sunderland with its busy shipyards was both a hive of activity and a perilous place facing marauding U-boats and Zepplein attacks. Here we look at some of the city’s First World War sites which still remain with us today:
In its day, the acoustic mirror was a hi-tech early warning system against air raids. It was set up in 1917 after the deadly Zeppelin attack in Sunderland the previous year. The device reflected sound detected by a microphone in front of the dish to an operator who could alert the authorities of approaching Zeppelins, giving them a 15-minute warning.
Now the home of the North East Land, Sea and Air Museums, what was Sunderland Airport started out in October 1916 as a Flight Station for the Royal Flying Corps to help protect the North East coast from German Zeppelin attacks.
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Another former Sunderland High School building, now home to the Bethany City Church, Bede Tower was used as a military hospital during World War One to help cope with the huge number of casualties from the front line.
The childhood home of Captain George Allan Maling, the only Sunderland-born man awarded the Victoria Cross. He served as a medic in World War One, and was awarded the medal for rescuing and treating 300 men during the Battle of Loos on September 25 1915. The building became part of the now-closed Sunderland High School, and a planning application has been submitted to turn it into flats.
One of the buildings hit in the deadly Zeppelin raid on April 1 1916, which claimed 22 lives. The bombing raid destroyed the roof which went over the railway tracks at the station.
Now the Emmanuel Free Church. It was opened by local German businessmen in 1873 and served Wearside's flourishing German population, as well as visiting German seamen. The First World War saw the church closed and turned into a warehouse, and the pastor, Paul Herzog, arrested.
Later the Mowbray Park Hotel, now converted into apartments. The Palatine Hotel was a regular meeting place for the Legion of Frontiersmen, a volunteer force founded by Roger Pocock which discussed preparing for war and potential invasion.
The castle and grounds were used as a training camp and depot during the war. The 3rd (Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions of the Sherwood Foresters, based there as part of what was then the Tyne Garrison.
One of the highest points in Sunderland, Tunstall Hill was used for an anti-aircraft gun emplacement during World War One as part of network of artillery stations placed at strategic points around County Durham ports.
The Royal Navy's detonation of a 99-year-old German torpedo off the Sunderland coast in 2016 was a reminder of the remains of war which still lie silently beneath the waves. Among them are the SM UC-32, a minelaying submarine sunk near Sunderland in February 1917 when one of her own charges detonated, and the SS Hebble, a requisitioned freight ship sunk by a mine 1.5 nautical miles east of Roker.
Sunderland's war memorial was unveiled by Col. Vaux and dedicated by the Bishop of Durham on December 26, 1922. The column weighs 85 tons and is topped by a winged statue symbolising victory. The monument and its surrounding Brothers in Arms memorial wall are now used to remember the fallen in both world wars and subsequent conflicts.