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  1. #1
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    UK - Sheila Fox, 6, Bolton England, 18 Aug 1944

    Sheila Fox
    Missing since August 18, 1944 from Bolton, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom.
    Classification: Endangered Missing

    Vital Statistics
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 6 years old
    Clothing: Blue flowered frock, green coat, stockings and shoes. She had pink ribbons in her hair.

    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Sheila Fox was last seen after leaving St James's Primary School in New Bury, Farnworth, Bolton on August 18, 1944.

    It was Friday afternoon and that brought the prospect of two days playing out with her New Bury mates, two days of hide-and-seek and skipping.

    As Sheila planned her weekend fun and games, so the country's leaders were putting the preparations together for the final push that would win the Second World War.
    But Sheila Fox would never celebrate the repatriation of France and demise of the German forces.

    And she would never taste the jelly and sandwiches served at street parties around the town, as residents later celebrated the end of the war.

    At some point as she made her way home to her family's house on Macdonald Avenue, New Bury, Sheila Fox disappeared, never to be seen again.
    Within hours of reports that she was missing an exhaustive search of the Farnworth area began.

    Young playmates of Sheila told how they had seen their friend riding on the crossbar of a mystery man's bicycle.

    Another school friend said she had seen Sheila walking with a man. Her young pal even asked Sheila where she was going. The six-year-old girl is said to have replied: "I am going with this man."

    That night police and neighbours combed the district, shouting her name in a desperate bid to find the little girl. Air raid shelters and farm buildings were scoured as the volunteers continued their hunt and hedgerows and fields were systematically searched as fears for Sheila's safety mounted. Over the weekend, the County Police were joined by air raid wardens and Army cadets as their search was stepped up. The hunt went on throughout the weekend, unbroken.

    After the Bolton Evening News carried reports of her disappearance, other readers came forward to claim they had seen a child on the cross bars of a bike being ridden by a man. It was the same information that had been passed on from Sheila's seven-year-old friend.

    By the end of August several cyclists, who had given rides to children on their bikes on the day of Sheila's disappearance had been ruled out of the inquiry after contacting police officers.

    But one cyclist had still not been tracked down.

    The man had been riding on Newbrook Road, Atherton, with a little girl on the cross bar who wore a green dress and had ribbons in her hair. Witnesses claimed the child was aged five or six and the cyclist had headed off towards Leigh, riding past Atherton Parish Church.

    In 2001, British detectives began digging up a garden of a house that stands on the route that six-year-old Sheila Fox would have taken as she walked home from school 57 years ago. They acted on a tip off that a man had been seen digging in a back garden in the Farnworth area after midnight around the time that the girl went missing. The digging was witnessed by a neighbour who was a schoolboy at the time, and now in his seventies, the knowledge preyed on his mind.

    Authorities have established that the man who dug the hole was Richard Ryan, a convicted rapist, who died 12 years ago.

    The dig is the latest twist in a mystery that left many people baffled during the war. Sheila, the youngest of five children, was reported to have last been seen on the handlebars of a bicycle ridden by a man. The dig proved unsuccessful.

    Sheila's parents said that she would have had to know the man very well because she was very shy. They always believed that Sheila had tried to head to London, as some of her wartime schoolmates were refugee children from the capital.

    The youngster’s sister Betty said that she could remember a couple commenting on Sheila about three months before she vanished. She said the couple sounded as if they were Londoners, or from the south. She said she had never seen them before or since, but they commented on what a lovely child Sheila was and said they would have liked to take her with them.

    Today, Greater Manchester Police said that, because no body was ever found, the case is still being treated as a missing person inquiry.

    Investigators
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact: Greater Manchester Police 0161 856 5965
    Or
    Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

    Source Information:
    BBC News
    This is Lancashire 6/5/01
    iVenus
    Manchester News 6/5/02
    Manchester News 8/18/04
    The Doe Network: Case File 732DFUK

    Link:
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/732dfuk.html
    Last edited by SheWhoMustNotBeNamed; 04-29-2010 at 10:04 PM. Reason: updated doe network link


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  3. #2
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    60 Year Anniversary Article...

    Manchester News
    Wednesday, 18th August 2004
    Search continues 60 years on
    by Paul Britton

    WHEN six-year-old Sheila Fox failed to arrive home from school one afternoon in wartime Bolton, a huge search operation involving police, air raid wardens and scouts was mounted. But she was never found and her disappearance remains a mystery to this day.

    Today, exactly 60 years on, police confirmed that the long-running investigation is still active and appealed again for anyone with information to come forward. The case is one of Britain's longest unsolved disappearances.

    Known as "the girl in the green mac", Sheila disappeared as she walked home alone from St James's Primary School in New Bury, Farnworth, Bolton, on August 18, 1944. She was the youngest of five children and lived with her family in McDonald Avenue, Farnworth.

    Sightings

    There were several unconfirmed sightings of a girl matching Sheila's description wearing a blue dress and a green coat riding on the handlebars of a man's bike that afternoon.
    Detectives have returned to the case several times. Three years ago, police dramatically dug up the manicured back garden of a semi in nearby Barton Road after a 70-year-old man came forward to reveal that, as a schoolboy, he had seen a man digging the garden at the time.

    The dig, and the new information, was shrouded in mystery but the M.E.N established that the man seen digging was a convicted rapist who had since died. It proved unsuccessful.

    Today, Greater Manchester Police said that, because no body was ever found, the case is still being treated as a missing person inquiry.


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  5. #3
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    BBC news Article about Sheila Fox

    Thursday, 7 June, 2001, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
    Dig for missing girl extended


    Police hunting for a girl who went missing 57 years ago have extended their search in a garden once owned by a convicted rapist. Six-year-old Sheila Fox vanished in August 1944 after leaving her school in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Richard Ryan, a 20-year-old man who was later convicted of rape, lived at the property in Barton Road, which was on the route between Sheila's school and home. No trace of her was found despite a massive search by special constables, air raid wardens and


    Digging began on Tuesday after a witness, who was a young child at the time, said he had seen a man digging in the back garden of a nearby house at midnight. The neighbour, now in his 70s, said it had preyed on his mind, but he had not wanted to start a "wild goose chase". With three days of searching behind them, police officers have now expanded the digging area within the garden. Sheila disappeared as she made the short journey from St James' Primary School to her home on Macdonald Avenue. She was last seen riding on the crossbar of a bike with a man who had befriended her.


    Mysterious disappearance


    Detective Chief Inspector Paul Buchanan, who is leading the inquiry, said the excavation would be a "slow and painstaking process" which would last several days. He said: "The disappearance of Sheila has remained a mystery for over 50 years and this is the first piece of information we have received in that time relating to her

    "It is very early days for this line of inquiry and at this stage I don't want to speculate whether or not we will be successful in our search for Sheila." Police said they hoped the operation might jog the memories of residents who might have information about the girl's disappearance. Officers stressed that the current owner of the house moved to the property long after 1944 and was not connected with the inquiry. Mr Ryan, a miner, died 12 years ago. He moved from the house in 1948, then in 1950, six years after Sheila's disappearance, he was convicted of rape. In 1965 he was charged with indecently assaulting a child.

    Source:
    BBC News | UK | Dig for missing girl extended


    LINK:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1374545.stm


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  7. #4
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    Aw I had never heard of Sheilas case. Lets hope that the couple just fell in love with her and took her to London rather than the unspeakable.


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  9. #5
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    67 Years Ago...

    Bumping case up. This year will mark the 67th anniversary of this little girl's disappearance.


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  11. #6
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    70 year anniversary of this unsolved case has just passed.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Sheila Fox

    New Bury, Farnworth, Bolton

    Friday 18th August 1944.

    It was Friday afternoon and that brought the prospect of two days playing out with her New Bury mates, two days of hide-and-seek and skipping.

    As Sheila planned her weekend fun and games, so the country's leaders were putting the preparations together for the final push that would win the Second World War.

    But Sheila Fox would never celebrate the repatriation of France and demise of the German forces. ...

    LINK:

    http://www.historicbolton.yolasite.com/sheila-fox.php


  12. #7
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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1370907.stm

    Dig for wartime girl's body resumed
    Police officers
    Police say the search will be slow and painstaking
    Detectives searching for a girl who went missing in the 1940s are resuming their excavation of the garden of a house that belonged to a man later convicted of rape.
    Six-year-old Sheila Fox vanished 57 years ago - in August 1944 - after leaving her school in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

    Richard Ryan, a 20-year-old man who was later convicted of rape, lived at the property in Barton Road, which was on the route between Sheila's school and home.

    We have a duty to the family to find out what happened

    Detective Chief Inspector Paul Buchanan

    No trace of her was found despite a massive search by special constables, air raid wardens and neighbours.

    Police re-opened the investigation after a witness, who was a young child at the time, came forward to say he had seen a man digging a hole in the back garden of a nearby house at midnight.

    The neighbour, who is now in his 70s, said it had preyed on his mind, but he had not wanted to lead police on a "wild goose chase".

    Sheila disappeared as she made the short journey from St James' Primary School to her home on Macdonald Avenue.

    She was last seen riding on the crossbar of a bike with a man who had befriended her.

    Mysterious disappearance

    Detective Chief Inspector Paul Buchanan, who is leading the inquiry, said the excavation would be a "slow and painstaking process" which would last several days.

    Sheila Fox
    Sheila Fox disappeared in 1944

    He said: "The disappearance of Sheila has remained a mystery for over 50 years and this is the first piece of information we have received in that time relating to her whereabouts.

    "It is very early days for this line of inquiry and at this stage I don't want to speculate whether or not we will be successful in our search for Sheila."

    Police said they hoped the operation might jog the memories of residents who might have information about the girl's disappearance.

    Officers stressed that the current owner of the house moved to the property long after 1944 and was not connected with the inquiry.

    Family traumatised

    Mr Buchanan went on: "We have a duty to the family to find out what happened. The whereabouts of this little girl are still not known.

    "The family are still clearly traumatised by her disappearance."
    Police dig up the back garden
    Forensic teams were digging at the house all day
    Sheila's older sister Rene, 69, who was told about the lead last month, said: "I've hardly been able to sleep properly after I found out about it. I hope to God she is there so I will at least know where she is then."

    She told the Bolton Evening News: "I will be so glad if they do find her because it was so sudden. It left us all feeling so empty.

    "It was a terrible time. We never even found her shoes or a ribbon. It was just as if the earth had swallowed her up."

    Rape charges

    Neighbour Ann Howarth, 54, said her aunt, Linda Neary, who died when in her 80s, lived next door to Sheila Fox's family.

    It was just as if the earth had swallowed her up

    Sheila's older sister Rene

    She said: "They always said at the time that Sheila was killed by someone she knew. She was so timid and soft she would not have gone with a stranger."

    Mr Ryan, a miner, died 12 years ago.

    He moved from the house in 1948, then in 1950, six years after Sheila's disappearance, he was convicted of rape.

    In 1965 he was charged with indecently assaulting a child.


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  14. #8
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    http://www.boltonrevisited.org.uk/s-...rth-tales.html

    Farnworth Tales
    by Frank Holt
    I was born in Farnworth on February 17th 1927.
    Railway View
    I lived in Railway View, Moses Gate, next to the railway. It was a busy line. My father was an engine driver, based at Bolton, and was always on shift work.
    Grandfather
    Michael Morre and grandson Frank HoltMy Grandfather Michael Moore was Irish, born in Co Clare in 1857. He came over in the 1860's to Wigan. He was a miner, and started work at 8 years old in a coal mine. He used to open a trap door to let miners out, and sat there in the dark with a lamp. He joined up in 1870, won the Godiva star and fought in Zululand, South Africa and Egypt. He was at the bombardment of Alexandria and the Battle of Majuba Hill.
    He was an instructor in World War 1, based at Felixstowe. His son, Tommy Moore, worked at Mosley Common Pit, and enlisted aged 16, as a drummer, in the Loyal North Lancs. Regiment. He was killed in action on the Somme aged 16 in August 1916, and is on the Farnworth War Memorial.
    My Grandfather was one of the founders the Old Vets, for vets of the colonial wars. In 1912 the Old Vets was formed. Two cottages on the same site were knocked together to form one. I was made an Honorary Member in 1945, when on leave. My Grandfather was buried from the Vets in 1946.
    St Gregory's
    I went to St Gregory's. On walking days at St Gregory's you had to have a brown cord suit. In the 1930's, someone with six kids could not afford it. We all looked like a band of monkeys. Father Cobb used to walk at the front, as we walked up Market Street. Father Cobb was a fanatic. He used to arrange marriages. "What are you marrying that girl for?" he would say. Why don't you marry a girl you went to school with? (Father, that would be like marrying your own sister). You had to marry a Catholic or there was no marriage according to him.

    fh-st-gregs-school-1934.jpg fh-st-gregs-school-1934.jpg
    Canon Holmes was virtually a saint. He was kindly, from a wealthy family. He gave all his money away to the poor and needy.
    Any unmarried girl getting pregnant was then a terrible thing, Canon Holmes exploded, "They come over from Ireland green as grass, walk down Market Street and they are in the family way", he would say.
    Work
    When I left school at 14, I worked in the building trade, for Bradley's- Civil Engineers. I mostly worked for them on government work, making Nissen Huts, because the war had started.
    I joined the Army when I was 17 in 1944. I went abroad, Austria, India, all over, and I came back to the building trade. I was a steel erector etc. and worked as a miner at Mosley Common for ten years.
    War
    After Railway View I married and lived in Macdonald Street, the next street to Railway View. A lot from that district were killed in WW1. I personally knew lots who were killed in WW2. An Irishman Tommy McClaughlin was killed in Normandy. A lad called Gordon Ainslie was killed in Caen. From the next street, Alf Rule was killed, and Jimmy Bradley was killed at Anzio, also Eckersley, and Riley. I remember them all.
    Unsolved Murders
    There were four unsolved murders in Farnworth. Before the First World War there was an ex policeman called Reuben Mort. He travelled every day from Little Lever up Hall Lane to Farnworth. Then one day he was found battered to death in the cottage he lived in Little Lever. They never got anybody for it but one of the suspects was the local blacksmith. I don't know why. He was a powerful man. Reuben Mort was no chicken so the murderer had to be very strong.
    The next murder was a lady found behind the Savoy. In 1944 Sheila Fox disappeared. She must have been murdered. In 1948 Quentin Smith was murdered. There was lots of police activity, but they got nowhere. People were afraid, but there was no repeat.
    The Hall Lane Boggart
    Hall Lane was then full of houses. There would be a bang on the door, and then when the door was opened you would hear footsteps running away. No one was there and people were terrified. Boggart is a Lancashire name for a poltergeist. My theory is that it was the workings of Ladyshore colliery nearby. As the ground settled, it shook everything and vibrated like someone walking along.
    More Ghosts
    Tom McGuffie lived in Gower Street. He was our wrestling instructor at Bolton United Harriers. Before WW1 there were two brothers. One of them lived near Larkhill in the cottages. All the wrestling was done at Larkhill. I've wrestled there as an amateur. Two brothers were in a very close match. One of them used to live in cottages which had, you know, these old fashioned locks, like a penny latch. He used to rattle that and his brother would come out. Tom was there that day to referee. They put a mat down on Lark Hill and they were wrestling. He picked him up in what we call a leg and arm. Then he reversed it. In most styles of wrestling when shoulders touch the mat you are finished so what you do is go into a bridge, supporting yourself with the crown of the head and your heels, and arching your back to stop your shoulders touching the mat. Greco - Roman wrestlers use it all the time. It's very dangerous. He instinctively fell into a bridge and it broke his neck and killed him. They used to say that the other brother didn't live very long after that. Old people used to say that at these cottages the latch used to start rattling, when nobody was there and it was his brother come to start wrestling. It was just the wind.
    Spanish flu
    Just after World War One Spanish flu killed many people, and my brother caught it. The side effects made people zombies, some completely paralysed, some partially. This strain interfered with the brain. and your arms and legs went. The ward was full, they called it encephalitis. He got over it but not completely.
    Typhoid
    There was an outbreak of typhoid in 1937, Dr Lucas solved the problem. He was well thought of. A sewer had cracked and it was in the drinking water. I think a boy died

    Frank Wrestling
    fh wrestling 1950
    Wrestling 1950
    fh-wrestling-group.jpg
    fh-wrestling-bout.jpg
    Wrestling
    I started wrestling at 14 with Bolton United Harriers, a sport I liked. There was no club in Farnworth but there were schools of wrestling all over Lancashire. By the time I started wrestling for money was over. There are 3 styles. Lancashire Catch as catch can, Cumberland and Cornish. Cumberland is still going, and money changes hands. Its all oriental arts now like judo and ju-jitsu. I was wrestling for along time. I later trained under Billy Riley at Wigan. He was the top man as far as wrestling goes. Later Bolton produced some top showmen. Anyone who thinks the stuff they see on television is real belongs in a psychiatric ward. It's an insult to common sense.
    From the age of 14 I won lots of amateur competitions. I finished in my 40's. I wrestled for the British title once at Bolton Grammar School, against a Metropolitan policeman. He was 45. I did everything, and I thought I'd crucified him. I couldn't get him on his shoulders. They gave it him on points, and one fellow said it was the worst decision he'd ever seen in his life.
    Tom MGuffie always said he produced 13 amateur wrestling champions. He lived in Gower Street, and had 12 children. Walter, one of his sons, won the British title. He died a couple of years ago. I'm not sure if any of the others are still living. He was always on about his wife's health being poor but she outlived him by ten years.
    One man lived in Princess Street and he was called Bulldog Bill Clayton, Tommy knew him, Bulldog Bill died 1936. A man argued with him and he held his nose, squeezed it and broke it. He used to practise on potatoes.
    More Wrestling Stories by John Rigby
    Farnworth Stories
    I've heard of Pea Morley. My dad talked about him. He lived near the Rawson Arms. My father remembered Buffalo Bills Wild West show coming to Farnworth. Near the Freemasons Arms one night, he found a Red Indian drunk asleep on the doorstep. Opposite the pub was a tripe shop owned by my father's parents. At six in the morning Grandma always went to the Free Masons for two pennyworth of rum and coffee.
    Sitting Bull was part of Buffalo Bills circus. He went back to America and said "I've been over the water to the land of the great white queen.. I've seen many fantastically dressed people, fantastic buildings, but all around the buildings are hungry children with no shoes on their feet. I've never seen that in an Indian village - there are no hungry children."
    My grandfather told me a story. There was a circus in Farnworth with a performing bear. The keeper put the bear in a shed near the Palace for the night and left the window open. A man climbed in, thinking there was something worth stealing, and jumped on top of the bear. It was a rude awakening.
    Family stories
    I'll tell you about an aunt and uncle of mine. My aunt's first husband was killed in WW1, and she was left with two boys. She remarried a coal merchant called Joe Dickens, and he had a shire horse and cart. He went to a horse auction, and bought a new horse but was advised it was a bit frisky. He was taking coal round Ash Street, near the railway, and a train noise startled the horse and it pulled the coal cart over him, and hurt his back. He ended up in hospital. Mother went to see Alice, her sister in law; and said the horse was in stables, in Lorne Street. (they are still there). She was warned not to go, but took no notice. I think she went to feed it wearing carpet slippers You never see a farm labourer go in quietly. He always sings whistles or makes a noise. It turned suddenly, and knocked the bowl to the ground. It frightened it, and it lashed out with it's back legs. You are dealing with a creature as strong as an elephant. She was less than 7 stone, and it battered her to death. There was nowt left of her. She only lived a few hours, there was nothing left of her stomach. They wanted to send the horse to France for war service, but the RSPCA said no and put it down. Uncle recovered. It was about 1939/40.
    Farnworth
    I never wanted to move from Farnworth, the Army put me off travelling. Farnworth was friendly in the past, though in the 1930's there was lots of violence, But it was 'one on one' slugging it out. I always used the library, I was a big fan. Mr Slinger the Chief Librarian was a relation. There was a corner shop on every street, but supermarkets have killed them off.Cinemas were the Hippodrome, Savoy, Ritz, Palace, and Empire.
    Tognarelli was a very charitable man. He gave a lot to the Catholic Church, and was a good businessman. He opened an Ice Cream parlour and then a bus route. People went there after drinking, for coffee, and also to Powells, which was opposite Littlewoods. They were open after the pubs shut.


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  16. #9
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    My family come from and still live in Farnworth.


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