John Gick went missing on February 1, 1969, from Liverpool. What happened to him? Could he be Fred? This is what we know.
The Pierhead in Liverpool on Saturday, February 1st 1969 was cold and blustery. But the city was thronging with people, crossing from Birkenhead on the “Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey” in preparation for a busy afternoon’s shopping or on their way to Anfield to watch Liverpool FC. Liverpool at the end of the 1960s was a bustling, cosmopolitan city, famous the world over for its music, football and culture.
The Isle of Man ferry also was docking, and amongst the passengers who disembarked from the Island was a party of boy scouts. Leading that party was a man called John Gick. a 37-year-old man from Douglas devoted to his work with the scouts he was Commissioner of Cub Scouts for the Isle of Man. The party were travelling to Birkenhead on the other side of the Mersey to attend a gang show on the Saturday evening.
John Gick worked in the accounts department of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, the business that ran the ferry service between Douglas and Liverpool. He’s brought his car with him, a Mini Estate. The slim, 5’7” bachelor was described as diligent and hardworking.
John Gick took the group of scouts across to Birkenhead, settled them at a local scout hut, and announced he was planning to travel back to Liverpool, this time alone, to return a book, roughly a 20-minute journey. They could expect him back shortly, when all of the scouts would then travel to Liverpool for some sightseeing.
That was the last any of those scouts would see of John Gick.
He visited the wife of a scout leader in Prenton, Birkenhead and after staying for half an hour he left for Liverpool.
And that was the beginning of a 50 year old mystery.
There are however two Post Scripts to this unusual story…
A few weeks later it emerged that around 5 p.m. on that Saturday afternoon of February 1st, John Gick was attacked by a group of youths in a Liverpool Gents toilet In James Street, Liverpool. His Post Office bank passbook was stolen, and he was left injured on the steps of the toilets in Liverpool City Centre.
His Mini Estate car was found at the Pier Head, with bloodstains on the passenger seat and bloodstained handkerchiefs in the driver’s side pocket.
Three months later a colleague from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company was waiting at Morpeth Dock in Birkenhead at a level crossing gate, when he recognised, standing no more than 5 feet away, a man he was sure at the time was John Gick. As John Gick was a person he knew well by sight. He said “Good morning” the man grunted a reply, and as the gates opened the man ran off at a jog trot.
John Gick was never traced, and in 1973, the process to official declare John Gick dead was begun by his family. To this day, John Gick has never been traced and we don´t know exactly what happened to him on Saturday 1st February 1969 and exactly why he disappeared without trace.
Fred the Head
Do you want to stay up to date on the latest developments in our investigation? Follow our blog and join the discussion. We will also host online meetings where we will answer your questions in real time.
Sometimes, we need an expert’s opinion on a specific matter. Maybe it’s you or someone you know! Join the discussion and become part of the live investigation.