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The Great Train Robbery happened here in Bucks 60 years ago

Cheddington historian John Smith talks us through the events of Thursday 8th August 1963 (this was first recorded 11 years ago).

 

The Great Train Robbery was the robbery of £2.6 million from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London on the West Coast Main Line in the early hours of 8 August 1963 at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn, near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire.

It has been 60 years since the infamous Great Train Robbery.

 

After tampering with the lineside signals to bring the train to a halt, a gang of 15, led by Bruce Reynolds, attacked the train. Other gang members included Gordon Goody,Buster Edwards, Charlie Wilson, Roy James, John Daly, Jimmy White, Ronnie Biggs, Tommy Wisbey, Jim Hussey, Bob Welch and Roger Cordrey, as well as three men known only as numbers "1", "2" and "3", two of whom later turned out to be Harry Smith and Danny Pembroke. A 16th man, an unnamed retired train driver, was also present.

With careful planning based on inside information from an individual known as "The Ulsterman", named (erroneously) as Patrick McKenna in 2014, the robbers escaped with over £2.6 million (equivalent to £58 million today). The bulk of the stolen money was never recovered. The gang did not use any firearms; Jack Mills, the train driver, was beaten over the head with a metal bar. Mills suffered serious head injuries. After his partial recovery, he returned to work doing light duties. He retired in 1967 and died in 1970 due to an unrelated illness. He never overcame the trauma of the robbery. After the robbery, the gang hid at Leatherslade Farm. The police found this hideout, and incriminating evidence led to the eventual arrest and conviction of most of the gang. The ringleaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail.

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