1857 - 2nd January 1916 (age 58)
The following words can be found on a gravestone in the churchyard at St. Oswald's, Sowerby:
In Loving Memory of
Who Died Aug 15th 1940
And Of Her Beloved Husband
Captain Robert Crudas Appleton
Who Died On War Service At Marseilles
Jan 2nd 1916
Also Winifred Mary
Daughter Of The Above
Who Died Sept 7th 1964
Born at Castleton, the son of Peter and Mary Appleton (nee Frankland), Robert Crudas was baptised at Danby in Cleveland on 30th May 1857. When Robert was around the age of 12, his mother died and his father later remarried to Elizabeth Yeoman in 1870. Tragedy came again when Robert's elder brother Frankland, died at the age of 18 in 1873.
Robert trained in the merchant navy and was certified Master (ordinary) at South Shields in 1882, the same year that he married Jane Sweeting at Hartlepool. A year later, their first son was born at West Hartlepool and they named him Frankland. Three further children, Robert, Winifred & Margaret were born at Sowerby, where the family had moved to live firstly at South Terrace and later at 4 Melbourne Place. Sadly, Frankland was lost at sea in 1902 at the age of 19, at a similar age to his uncle of the same name who had died nearly 30 years earlier.
After the outbreak of war, Robert was employed for some time by the Russian Admiralty in command of vessels running to Archangel. He then entered the employ of the British Admiralty but ill health compelled him to leave his vessel - the Mabel Baird - at Marseilles and he entered a nursing home there. Robert died at 144 Boulevard de la Madeleine, Marseilles, France, leaving all his effects valued at £695-17-5 to his widow Jane.
The Appleton gravestone at Sowerby
The Mabel Baird was to survive almost two years longer before being sunk by a German U boat 4 miles WSW of Lizard 22nd December 1917.
The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.
Part of the St Oswald's Church website