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Great Train Robbery (1963)

In the early hours of 8 August 1963 an armed gang of 15 men held up the overnight Glasgow-to-London Travelling Post Office train in what soon became known as The Great Train Robbery.

The robbers used four six-volt batteries to trigger a red light on the track near the village of Linslade in Buckinghamshire.

When the train stopped, they struck driver Jack Mills with an iron bar, uncoupled the engine and some carriages, and drove them further along the line to Bridego Bridge where the contents were loaded into a lorry in one of the most meticulously planned operations police had seen.

ronniebiggsThe gang – Stan Agate, Ronnie Biggs, Roger Cordrey, Buster Edwards, Gordon Goody, Jim Hussey, Roy James, Bill Jennings, Frank Munroe, Alf Thomas, Bob Welch, Jimmy White, Tommy Wisbey and Charlie Wilson – stole 120 bags containing used banknotes from the train. The notes were to have been pulped upon arrival in London.

Initial reports gave the haul as £1 million, but in fact, they netted mailbags worth more than £2.5 million.

Police soon found their hideout at a remote farm and identified the men responsible. Charlie Wilson was the first to be charged, later the same month.

Wilson escaped from Winson Green prison on 12 August 1964. He was recaptured in Canada on 25 January 1968.

Ronnie Biggs (pictured at left) escaped to Australia, where he ran a guest house in Adelaide before moving to Melbourne, where he worked as a carpenter. He fled finally to Brazil, in 1970. Having suffered several strokes, he gave himself up to the British authorities in 2001.

Buster Edwards fled to Mexico after the robbery but gave himself up after three years. He ended his days selling flowers outside Waterloo Station in London.

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