Unsolved Murders

Dorothy Rose Chapman

Age: 14

Sex: female

Date: 13 Apr 1937

Place: River Trent, Walkeringham, Gainsborough

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Dorothy Rose Chapman was found dead in the River Trent two miles north of Gainsborough on the night of 13 April 1937.

Her body was found on the warp, just above the water at Walkeringham by a farm worker at about 8pm. After seeing her body, he had gone off to fetch help and the darkness made recovering her body very difficult and it wasn't until 9.30pm that her body was brought to the bank.

She was identified the following day.

Her father travelled 30 miles to identify her body, and although she had been in the water for a long time, her features were still recognisable.

Dorothy Chapman had lived with her parents in West Street, Barnet by but had gone to stay with her aunt in Etherington Street in Gainsborough and would visit her home once a month. She had left her aunt’s house on 22 January 1937 and disappeared. Her aunt said that Dorothy Chapman had left home at 1pm in her usual spirits and said that she could give no reason why she should be found in the river.

A 21-year old man said that he saw Dorothy Chapman at about 1.20pm on 22 January 1937 and said that she told him that she was going for a walk.

She had gone to live with her aunt because there were more work opportunities in Gainsborough and was to visit her parents on the weekend that she disappeared.

She had ordered articles of clothing before she had vanished which were later delivered after she vanished, and her father said that he had a letter from her two days before she vanished which stated that she said that she would be home at the weekend.

Her father said that she had no male friends and no reason to leave home.

After she vanished but before her body was found, searches were made, and the police went to Newark after a rumour was heard that she was working in a bake house there. The police appealed to all bakers who had employed strange girls within the past few weeks.

The doctor that examined her body said that her death was due to drowning and said that she had evidently been in the water for a considerable time, probably the whole three months that she had been missing.

At her inquest, an open verdict of found drowned was returned.


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


see Lincolnshire Echo - Friday 16 April 1937

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 16 February 1937

see Lincolnshire Echo - Wednesday 14 April 1937

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Thursday 15 April 1937