678 users online (73 members and 605 guests)  


Websleuths News


Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,397

    UK - Maria Aldridge, 17, Birmingham, 29 February 1968

    I see Maria is mentioned in relation to a skull found a few years ago but doesn't seem to have her own thread here yet.

    'I hope somebody killed her': Mother-of-five says it is too painful to imagine that her sister who has been missing for 50 years is being held captive


    • Student nurse Maria Aldridge, of Stourport, Worcs, vanished, aged 17, in 1968
    • Maria had been working at Birmingham's Dudley Road Hospital
    • Mysterious personal ad to 'Nurse M' ran in Birmingham Mail, 1968 - but all police leads went cold


    A man believed to be called Paul Gough travelled to Maria's family home in Stourport, Worcestershire, to tell her mother that she had disappeared from the hospital dormitory where she was living during her training.

    Mary [her mother] and Cathy [her sister] went looking for her but were instead handed her belongings by a matron who said she was no longer there.


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-50-years.html

    It rather sounds as though her exact date of disappearance isn't known for definite.

    Needless to say, the idea that she would have been held captive for 50 years is highly unlikely.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,397
    Doe Network entry for Maria:

    Name

    Maria Bernadette ALDRIDGE

    Missing since February 29, 1968 from Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom

    Classification: Endangered Runaway

    Case File 1352DFUK

    Vital Statistics

    Date of Birth - 2 October 1950
    Age at time of Disappearance - 17
    Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'5" (165 cm)
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Light brown short wavy hair; brown eyes. Medium build. She wore glasses.

    Circumstances of Disappearance

    Maria, who was a student nurse at Dudley Road Hospital in Birmingham, went missing in 1968.

    She was last seen sometime between February and June 1968. It was assumed at the time she had just run away from the Old Hulme nurses training centre which is where she lived whilst working at the hospital, which is now known as City Hospital.

    Maria lived in Kidderminster with her family before she moved to Birmingham to work. No trace of her has previously been found. But the case was reopened in 2009 when a letter from Maria to her mother was discovered, which was dated 28 February 1968. The letter discussed her life in Birmingham and mentioned several friends including “Sue” and “Evelyn”, who police believe may also have been cadet nurses.

    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases-int/1352dfuk.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    263
    I have never heard of this case although I was born in Birmingham and was at school there in 1968.


    I am very surprised if the police were unable to trace any former staff when they reopened the case in 2009. My sister was a student nurse about 6 years later (1974) in Birmingham and I know she remains in contact with some from that time and could certainly give numerous names - unfortunately she was at another hospital. I also suspect some of the names may be doubtful. No one named Olfrey appears in Ancestry databases to fit the Dave Olfrey named. It is easy for a name to be slightly misremembered.


    On a quick look one thing came up which may merit a look by the authorities. In April 1968 a 3 month old baby died as a result of a mistake in medicine dosage at Dudley Road. It sounds as though the authorities conspired at the inquest to blame the student nurse who fetched the drug (but passed it to a doctor to administer). Details can be found at https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debat...8-07-11a.885.7. I have no reason to think the student nurse in question was Maria but given the timing it would be worth checking the records of the inquest. Unfortunately I cannot do so as they are not on line and I no longer live in the area. At minimum this would rule this out as a motive for disappearance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,397
    Quote Originally Posted by alb1on View Post
    I have never heard of this case although I was born in Birmingham and was at school there in 1968.


    I am very surprised if the police were unable to trace any former staff when they reopened the case in 2009. My sister was a student nurse about 6 years later (1974) in Birmingham and I know she remains in contact with some from that time and could certainly give numerous names - unfortunately she was at another hospital.
    Indeed. It seems to me that student nurses who were 18 in 1968, and therefore born in 1950 +/- 1 year or so, would only be 67 now, and many might well have still been employed in the NHS until just a few years ago. No doubt some of that cohort may have died in the meantime, or emigrated, but I would have thought it possible to find at least some of them.

    I wonder if they could be found on Facebook? Or could your sister ask around her contacts and see if any of the names rings bells? She might have worked with one or two over the years if she remained in the area.

    I also suspect some of the names may be doubtful. No one named Olfrey appears in Ancestry databases to fit the Dave Olfrey named. It is easy for a name to be slightly misremembered.
    I do not have a subscription to Ancestry but I do use other genealogical resources, including FreeBMD (www.freebmd.org.uk/) which you are no doubt familiar with. OLFREY seems to be a pretty rare surname in the UK, but OLFORD seems to be more common. It would be useful to know if any of the names which are mentioned were of people around Maria's age, who might have been her fellow students, or perhaps somewhat older, such as supervisors. I noticed that there were a handful of David OLFORD's listed, of whom the following seems the most promising.

    Births Sep 1937
    Olford David G Pearce St.Austell 5c 81

    On a quick look one thing came up which may merit a look by the authorities. In April 1968 a 3 month old baby died as a result of a mistake in medicine dosage at Dudley Road. It sounds as though the authorities conspired at the inquest to blame the student nurse who fetched the drug (but passed it to a doctor to administer). Details can be found at https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debat...8-07-11a.885.7. I have no reason to think the student nurse in question was Maria but given the timing it would be worth checking the records of the inquest. Unfortunately I cannot do so as they are not on line and I no longer live in the area. At minimum this would rule this out as a motive for disappearance.
    Now that is interesting. Aren't inquest records sealed, though there may be a report on the inquest in the local papers?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,397
    Just thinking about this, and I could be waaaaaay off base, but.

    Although the surname Aldridge is a local (West Midlands) place-name based one, the names of Mary (the mother) and Maria Bernadette suggest (dare I say it?) an Irish Catholic background.

    The Daily Mail article linked to in my initial post includes a photo of Maria and her sister Cathy in what appear to be First Communion dresses.

    I wonder if Maria simply made a bid for freedom and walked away from what might have been a very old fashioned and strict family environment. Maybe she simply ran away to join a commune or a group of hippies and spent the next 20 years living in a tipi in deepest, darkest Wales.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    263
    Unfortunately my sister was in specialist training at Selly Oak, miles across the city and gave up nursing in the 80s.

    I had forgotten about inquest records being closed for 75 years so, as you say, the only option is local paper coverage. I have checked the British Newspaper Archive which is on line but unfortunately the main local papers (the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Post) are only included up to 1954. In practice this means they can only be checked on microfiche at Birmingham Central Library. I will do so when I get a chance but it is likely to be a few months.


    I cannot rule out your David Olford, but St Austell is as far from Birmingham as you can get in England! Unfortunately I suspect the answer could be any number of name variants.


    I am pretty sure the family of Maria was at least catholic on her mothers side given a maiden name of McGinty. However, I do not see it as a very strict household given her letter home talking about boyfriends and clubs. I knew a few catholic families in Birmingham at that time and they seemed no different or even more religious than anyone else.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    UK - Midlands
    Posts
    210
    Article from two years ago about her sister who has never stopped searching

    http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news...issing-7731091

    A devoted sister has told of her heartbreaking search for her elder sibling who went missing 46 years ago in the hope that Midlanders can help reveal her whereabouts.

    Cathy Phillips has relived her anguish in the lead up to Maria Aldridge’s 63rd birthday.


    Maria was 17 when she disappeared without a trace while working as a student nurse in Birmingham.

    Latest figures have revealed that there are currently 136 British children who are missing – six of these are from Birmingham.

    Cathy, who lives in Canada, said: “I need to connect with people in the Midlands. I hope they can help me to find Maria.”

    Back in 1968 the mysterious message almost went unnoticed.

    It read: “NURSE M – Meet 7p.m. 63 bus, Monday, June 3rd. Hope to see you, Simon”.

    But detectives spotted it among the personal ads running in the Birmingham Mail in 1968.

    And it became a sign of hope for the family of Maria Aldrige, a 17 year-old student nurse who went missing while training at Birmingham’s Dudley Road Hospital (now known as City Hospital) 46 years ago.

    Police believed it was a clue that could lead to them to the whereabouts of the young woman.

    Another lead was a man, believed to be called Paul Gough, who travelled to Maria’s family home in Stourport, Worcestershire, to tell her mum Mary O’Sullivan that she had disappeared.

    Mary and Maria’s younger sister Cathy Phillips then went to the hospital dormitory in search of her.

    But the resident matron told them she was no longer there and handed them all her belongings.

    Paul Gough hasn’t been seen by the family – or police – since.

    Mary spent the rest of her life looking for Maria.

    She even reported to disappearance to police on the Fred and Rose West inquiry in the 1990s.

    But checks against the grisly remains discovered below the patio and in the cellar at 27 Cromwell Street in Gloucester drew a blank.

    Mary died in 2005 aged 93.

    Cathy is still searching

    “I have had a wonderful life but there has always been part of me missing,” said Cathy, now a 61 year-old mum of five, who lives in Ontario, Canada.

    “I will never give up looking for Maria.

    “I need to connect with people in Birmingham and I hope they can share her information so that I can find the man who came to my house and told us Maria was not at the hospital.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    UK - Midlands
    Posts
    210
    I wonder if the sister knows about WS and whether she would want to join in?

    I was under the impression (and admittedly purely through reading rather than any personal experience) that hospitals and nurses were run very strictly in those years. I wonder why the nurses's disappearance wasn't reported more formally.

    My first assumption was to wonder if Maria planned to go away, either for a brief time or for a longer time, and told the hospital this, which is why they didn't initially report her as missing. But then surely when the family went down, they would have been told this. It seems like when they went down, they were just told she had gone and had no further information. As though the hospital didn't care. But surely someone knew something.

    She either left of her own accord or was taken, but wouldn't there at least be friends/work colleagues who could pin point her last shift/evening etc?

    it seems as though the extreme lack of information around the time of her disappearance is the real issue. It's hard to know where to search if you don't have any clue at all.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    UK - Midlands
    Posts
    210
    I don't know if I can link as it's another forum not MSM but they quote an article (sadly the link to the article is missing) saying the police wroge to every person in the UK called Maria Aldridge and said that she could remain anonymous if she wanted, they just wanted to know if she was okay, but nothing came up

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    263
    Quote Originally Posted by Littlegreenlady View Post
    I don't know if I can link as it's another forum not MSM but they quote an article (sadly the link to the article is missing) saying the police wroge to every person in the UK called Maria Aldridge and said that she could remain anonymous if she wanted, they just wanted to know if she was okay, but nothing came up
    I had seen this but it only raised a simple question in my mind; did the police write to every person still called Maria Aldridge or did they extend this to those who now have another name through marriage but were born Maria (or Marie allowing for transcription errors) Aldridge. This is relevant as Ancestry includes marriages of Maria Aldridges (and even one of Marie B Aldridge) from a reasonable time period.


    On the subject of how hospitals were run; I think they were much more relaxed by the late 60s. Certainly Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham was extremely relaxed by 1974 according to my sister.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    9
    Maria's Facbook page
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/112295329030/


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    9



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk



Similar Threads

  1. AL - Birmingham Shooting: Six Shot After Peace Rally
    By GeeEm in forum Up to the Minute
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-12-2016, 10:25 PM
  2. SC SC - James Aldridge, 49, Bluffton, 25 Feb 1977
    By bessie in forum Cold Cases
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-23-2015, 09:32 PM
  3. Casey Aldridge Hospitalized After Car Accident
    By Lovejac in forum Celebrity and Entertainment News
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-28-2009, 07:42 AM

Tags for this Thread