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.

4 thoughts on “Apple Orchard Bridge – Missing Inscription

  1. I have wondered what the inscription was on Apple Orchard Bridge, since I saw it first in 1957. I just wish I had asked an adult then! Too late now all gone.

  2. If there is no record of what was originally on the stone how can anyone be sure that whatever was inscribed on the stone was removed pre/during WW2 as a way of confusing any invading enemies that turned up in the Skelton area? Apple Orchard bridge being of strategic importance !!!!

    • I have no definite proof, but the same was done at Great Ayton and Lingdale It would have been of strategy importance as beach between Redcar and Saltburn is a prime landing site.

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