A fascinating collection of maps which reveal the Nazis had north east England firmly in their sights have been unearthed after spending decades hidden in a drawer.
The maps were created for Operation Sealion, the planned invasion of Britain, and show targets across the north including Middlesbrough and Darlington.
In one map, dated April 30, 1942, several bridges, industrial depots and the train station in Middlesbrough are all highlighted in red.
The Nazis did strike it lucky just a few months later when a lone Dornier Do 217 dropped a stick of bombs on to the railway station on August 2, causing serious damage to the Victorian glass and steel roof.
The newly-unearthed maps created for the planned invasion of Britain, nicknamed Operation Sealion, show how Hitler targeted railway stations and bridges in north east England (Pictured: map dated April 30, 1942, of Middlesbrough)
Discovered alongside the maps were photos of key targets such as the Staithes Viaduct in North Yorkshire (pictured) or stations
The front cover of this series of maps reads ‘for official use only!’, and the inside details the military geographical details of England
There is also a map of Kingston upon Hull with the Victoria Dock highlighted, and photos of key targets including Staithes viaduct and a bus depot in Darlington.
A map of Long Lawford, near Rugby, in the Midlands highlights a quarry bordering the River Avon which was on their radar.
The collection includes maps of Dover and Folkestone dated August 1941 with Shorncliffe Camp and Western Heights circled as targets.
The maps belong to a vendor from Suffolk who inherited them from his late grandfather who had kept them hidden in a drawer for many decades.
The maps belong to a vendor from Suffolk who inherited them from his late grandfather who had kept them hidden in a drawer for many decades
The unique maps are tipped to sell for as much as £600 (Pictured: United Automobile Services Ltd in Darlington, Durham)
They are tipped to sell for as much as £600.
Ben Jones, from Mullocks’ auctions in Ludlow, Shropshire, who are selling the maps, said: ‘The vendor inherited the maps from their late grandfather who had kept them for many years in a drawer in his house.
‘It is not known if the grandfather had a specific connection to Operation Sealion.
‘Some of the maps are annotated and the Germans have highlighted various railways, bridges and industrial sites, all locations you would want to target to cause disruption to your enemy.’
Ben Jones, from Mullocks’ auctions in Ludlow, Shropshire, who are selling the maps, said: ‘It is not known if the grandfather had a specific connection to Operation Sealion’
Middlesbrough, on Teeside, was the first major British town to be bombed during the Second World War mainly because of its iron and steel industries.
The Luftwaffe first attacked the town on May 25, 1940 when a lone bomber dropped 13 bombs, one falling on the South Bank football ground making a large crater in the pitch.
Two months after the first bombing Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited the town to meet the public and inspect coastal defences.
By the end of the war over 200 buildings had been destroyed within the Middlesbrough area.
Almost 1,000 civilians on the Teeside were killed or maimed by bombing raids.
Middlesbrough, on Teeside, was the first major British town to be bombed during the Second World War mainly because of its iron and steel industries. Hitler postponed Sealion indefinitely on September 17, 1940, and the plan was never put into action
Operation Sealion was Hitler’s code name for an invasion of the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War.
He prefaced the order by stating: ‘As England, in spite of her hopeless military situation, still shows no signs of willingness to come to terms, I have decided to prepare, and if necessary to carry out, a landing operation against her.’
But with air losses increasing, Hitler postponed Sealion indefinitely on September 17, 1940, and it was never put into action.
The auction takes place on February 26.