Unsolved Murders

Myrtle Ford

Age: 27

Sex: female

Date: 23 Sep 1922

Place: Mount Pleasant Road, Camborne, Cornwall

Myrtle Ford disappeared from her home in Camborne on 23 September 1922.

Myrtle Ford had lived in Dolcoat Avenue and had been employed as a day servant. She was last seen at the house that she worked at in Mount Pleasant Road, Camborne on 23 September 1922 at about 6pm when she left for home.

When she failed to reach home the police were informed and searches were made from the North Cliffs to Porthtowan, but no trace of her was found.

On the night that she vanished there was heavy misty rain.

Nothing more was heard from her until it was claimed that she was later seen wandering about in Illogan Woods with a bandage on her head. The man that said he saw her said that when she saw him, she ran wildly away. He said that he had been going through Illogan Woods on the Sunday night on 8 October 1922 at about 9.30pm and had seen her in his flash-light running away through some bushes.

After the sighting, the man told the police who searched the woods, but they found nothing to indicate where she was.

It was reported that many local women took up 'night duty', accompanied by their husbands or brothers, on lonely vigils in Illogan Woods in an effort to find her. It was said that the silence of the woods at night was weird and was broken only by the cries of the screech owl.

It was said by one woman that the women had gone out with the men because the men were afraid. The woman said, 'They simply stood on the hedges and looked for her with their eyes shut'.

It was also claimed that she had been sighted twice at Portreath and once at Bridge, which was close to Illogan Woods.

It was said that on the day that she had vanished that she had been quiet and depressed all day and had complained of pains in her head.

It was noted that on the day of her disappearance that Myrtle Ford had been wearing a white bandage around her head and that when her employer questioned her over that, Myrtle Ford had said that she had undergone an operation and had had some liquid taken off her brain. However, it was later proved to have been pure imagination on the part of Myrtle Ford.

When the question of whether Myrtle Ford had been hiding in Illogan Woods was raised it was asked how she had managed to exist there, it being noted that unlike many plantations and woods, Illogan Woods was not known as a spot where there was an abundant growth of berries and nuts and as such, the theory that she had been living on those things did not hold water.

It was thought that after she had left her employers house that she had been seen walking in the direction of Pendarves which was said to have been within easy reach of the plantations in Pendarves Estate as well as a number of abandoned mine shafts.

It was also said that she had been seen about two hours later at Roscroggan.

It was also said that on the Sunday morning a woman was seen by a man wandering the road near Home Farm in Tehidy.

The disused mine shafts were searched to the adit level at Roskear, but with no discoveries.

It was also suggested that she might have fallen into the reservoir by Mount Pleasant Road which supplied the towns water and it was emptied sufficiently to show that there was no trace of her in it.

After the search of the abandoned mine shafts and plantations was made and the coastlines searched, it was considered that Myrtle Ford might have lost her memory and was still wandering and that she might have been taken in by people in an isolated cottage that had befriended her and were yet unaware that she was being searched for.

It was noted that wherever she had gone that she must have left on foot and that she would have only had a few coppers on her. It was suggested that if it was her that was seen in Tehidy early on the Sunday that it was quite possible that she might have covered a considerable distance before the hue and cry of her disappearance was raised.

On Wednesday 11 October 1922, it was stated in the Cornishman newspaper, 'Thus stands at present one of the biggest mysteries that has happened in the district and as far as appearances go the mystery is likely to remain unsolved'.

Her disappearance was initially described as a mystery at the time and associated with the disappearance of Yetta Greenburg, a nurse from Sudbury in London who was last seen near the cliffs at St Agnes Head which was six or seven miles from Illogan Woods. Yetta Greenburg was later found dead in the sea some months after she vanished.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Western Morning News - Friday 12 January 1923

see Cornishman - Wednesday 11 October 1922

see Western Morning News - Thursday 05 October 1922