Message in a bottle written 82 years ago is FOUND

Message in a bottle written 82 years ago by a man asking the finder to ‘send a photograph’ is FOUND 245 miles away on the Channel Islands – sparking hunt for the sender

  • Nigel Hill, 55, found the bottle at Bel Royal beach on the Channel Island of Jersey
  • The message was signed by a John Stapleford and dated September 5 1938
  • The note written on cardboard had miraculously survived 82 years in the water 

A message in a bottle that asked the finder to ‘send a photograph’ has been found more than 80 years after it was thrown into the sea.

Nigel Hill, 55, found the bottle at Bel Royal on the Channel Island of Jersey on Tuesday while walking his pet dog and was pleasantly surprised to find a message written on cardboard inside.  

The note was signed by a John Stapleford and dated September 5 1938, and asked the finder to ‘communicate with a photograph’ to an address 245 miles away in Barnet, Hertfordshire.

Mr Hill sparked a hunt to find the relatives of the writer – and was astounded when social media helped him to track down the current owner of the address on the message. 

Nigel Hill, 55, found the bottle at Bel Royal on the Channel Island of Jersey on Tuesday while walking his pet dog and was pleasantly surprised to find a message written on cardboard inside

Nigel said: ‘I was just walking along and saw it and thought it looked interesting. Then I saw the note inside.

‘Unfortunately, I had to break it to get the note out.’

The note was written on the back of an old cake box from Cawley Bros Ltd, and was placed in a Smith’s bottle, both of which were based on the island.

The message read: ‘Will the finder of this bottle please communicate with: John Stapleford, 18 Fitzjohn Avenue, Barnet, Herts, England. With a photograph.’

Nigel, who has worked in the finance industry, shared his find on Facebook and was soon able to track down the current resident of 18 Fitzjohn Avenue.

He said: ‘I thought at first this might be a hoax but it’s definitely not.

The note was signed by a John Stapleford and dated September 5 1938, and miraculously it has survived 82 years in the water

‘As is the way with Jersey, I had lots of people contact me to help and I have been able to track down the lady who currently lives in the property.

‘She says she does not recall a John Stapleford and she has lived there for 30 years.

‘But she has looked into the deeds of her home and found that a John Stapleford did buy the place in 1921.

‘If he bought it then and was presumably in Jersey in 1938 it’s likely that he may have passed away.

The note was written on the back of an old cake box from Cawley Bros Ltd, and was placed in a Smith’s bottle, both of which were based on the island

‘It would be really nice if I could give the bottle and the note back to members of his family. It could be an heirloom for them.’

According to the Jersey Financial Services Commission’s public registry, Cawley Brothers Limited was first registered as a company in 1931.

It ceased to be registered on 3 August 1976. Another firm called Cawley Bros Bakery was registered in 1956 and was dissolved in 1993.

Birth and death records show that Mr Stapleton was born on 4 August 1889 and had worked as a civil servant as well as chief accountant with Customs and Excise.

It is believed he had a wife called Nellie and that he died on 2 December 1980, aged 91. His address then was St George House, 11 London Road, Norfolk.

Mr Hill sparked a hunt to find the relatives of the writer – and was astounded when social media helped him to track down the current owner of the address on the message

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