Apple Orchard Bridge – Missing Inscription

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This almost blank stone tells an interesting story, all that remains is the name R Sawtell, County Surveyor, the rest has been chipped away.

During 1940/1941 the threat of German invasion was great enough that many signs and markers were removed, to confuse the potential invaders.

Apple Orchard Bridge Skelton
Apple Orchard Bridge Plaque

Mr. Ronald Sawtell, is the county surveyor by 1934, and there are many news reports from 1934 complaining of the state of the previous bridge which must have prompted the current one to be built some time after that.

Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough – Friday 04 May 1934

So the inscription is only likely to have been in place for a few years in the late 1930s. I have been unable to discover exactly what it said. Presumably it mentioned “Skelton” or “Apple Orchard Bridge” which would have helped invaders confirm their location.

Tom Dresser V.C. Memorial

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A memorial to Private Tom Dresser was unveiled on 12th May 2017 to mark the centenary of the actions that saw him awarded the Victoria Cross.

Tom Dresser Memorial, Middlesbrough

The sculptor of the memorial was Brian Alabaster and it stands outside the Dorman Museum.

Tom Dresser Memorial, Middlesbrough
this stone is incorrect it should read Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment not Prince.

Tom Dresser was serving as a private in the 7th Battalion The Green Howards in the Battle of Arras and despite being shot twice, conveyed an important message from battalion headquarters to the front line trenches.


Tom Dresser being awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V on July 21st 1917

As well as the V.C. Tom was presented with a gold watch and 100 guineas by the people of Middlesbrough, he died 9th April 1982 and is buried in Thorntree Cemetery,

Pillbox East of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington

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This pillbox is only a short distance from the one on the opposite side of the bridge, but of a completely different construction.
Pillbox East of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington
It’s been made from concrete blocks and beams, with a couple of rows of bricks at the top.
Pillbox East of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington
The roof is now gone and the walls badly cracked, so i’m not sure it would have stood up to any heavy attack should it ever have been needed.
Pillbox East of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington

Pillbox West of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington

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This Pillbox is one of a pair defending the Blackwell Bridge crossing of the River Skerne in Darlington
Pillbox West of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington
The structure is now deeply buried in the undergrowth and tricky to approach
Pillbox West of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington
The pillbox itself is not like any other i’ve ever seen, it seems to have been constructed from pre-fabricated sections
Pillbox West of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington
Several areas have ripples that look like they were cast against corrugated iron sheets
Pillbox West of Blackwell Bridge, Darlington

Letter from the Front – Friday 23rd March – Loftus Town Hall

Explore Our Heritage In Loftus Town Hall
Letters from the Front
An Illustrated talk by Mr Peter Appleton from Skelton History Group
Friday 23 March 2018 ​
7 for 7.30pm
Loftus Town Hall
TS13 4HG

Everyone welcome – free entry – Tea and Coffee (but donations towards costs welcomed!)

This is the first in a short series of local interest talks for 2018 organised by Loftus Town Council with the active support of local experts, mostly held on the 4th Friday in the month

RAF Croft Memorial

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This sculpture of an airman stands by the side of the Northallerton Road at Dalton-on-Tees.
Croft Airman Memorial, Dalton-on-Tees
Per Ardua Ad Astra
In memory of and to honour those who served at Croft during World War II.
Dedicated by the members of 431 Iroquois and 434 Bluenose R.C.A.F Squadrons. 6 Group Bomber Command. 26 September 1987.Croft Airman Memorial, Dalton-on-Tees The sculptor was Helen Granger Young
Croft Airman Memorial, Dalton-on-Tees

Skinningrove Pillbox

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This Second World War Pillbox now rests on the beach, just to the north of Skinningrove
Skinningrove Pill Box
It was originally higher up the cliff, but has fallen here due to coastal erosion over the last 70 years.
Skinningrove Pill Box
It actually upside down as the doorway would have been at ground level.
Skinningrove Pill Box

The remains of the metal shutters to cover the firing position are still in place.
Skinningrove Pill Box