Mesogenic cellulose derivative chains cross-linked into free-standing thin films were prepared by a shear-casting technique from anisotropic precursor solutions of thermotropic (acetoxypropyl)cellulose. After shear cessation a macroscopically oriented serpentine structure with the director in average along the shear direction is locked resulting in anisotropic optical and mechanical properties of the material. These films were submitted to an external uniaxial mechanical field perpendicular and parallel to the shear direction. Stretching perpendicular to the shear direction produced significant director rotations and a reset of order of the director order parameter for a deformation in the range 2-3 as detected by X-rays and optical microscopy. The different response found for strains imposed parallel and perpendicular to the initial average director orientation indicates that even though our system shows a serpentine director modulation that is either attenuated or reinforced by deformations parallel or perpendicular to the shear direction, its behaviour is similar to theoretical predictions for monodomain nematic elastomers described in the literature.