Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage paid his respects on Armistice Day at a memorial to the 130 people who were killed when the German navy bombarded Hartlepool during the First World War.
He visited the Heugh Battery on the Headland, and a stone marking the spot where the first British soldier was killed on UK soil in the war.
The bombardment of Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby in December 1914 caused outrage, as it brought civilians into the front line of the war.
Mr Farage said the visit came on the right day, November 11, and said he believed few people now were aware of the bombardment.
He said: “There are things in history that stand out and we all know, and there are things we don’t (all) know.
“I think the idea that the German navy bombarded Hartlepool is something that probably, today, very few people actually know.
“It is but a little example of the extraordinary hardships generations before went through.
“It makes the Brexit battle seem quite easy, doesn’t it?”
The attack spurred 22,000 people from the town to join up, and Hartlepool was awarded three times for being the place which raised the most money for the war effort.
Mr Farage was in Hartlepool to make a major announcement, saying his party would not contest seats in the General Election that are currently held by the Tories, for fear of helping to bring about a hung parliament.