THE Great Train Robbery in 1963 still remains one of the most daring and notorious heists ever carried out in Britain.
The gang is estimated to have stolen more than £2.6million – equivalent to around £50m in today’s money.
A plan was hatched to rob a Royal Mail train on its way from Glasgow to London after a postal worker – nicknamed the Ulsterman – leaked details of a train journey carrying a huge amount of cash.
Gordon Goody and Buster Edwards based the heist on this information bringing in accomplices Bruce Reynolds, Ronnie Biggs, Charlie Wilson and Roy James.
The group later brought in members of the South Coast Raiders – a gang experienced in rigging train signals in order to stop engines.
The train came to a stop at a red signal outside Leighton Buzzard, Buckinghamshire, in the early hours of August 8.
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Jack Mills, the train driver, quickly realised something was wrong and became embroiled in a tussle with one of the robbers, overpowering him before he was hit over the head with a cosh by another member of the gang.
Mills was then forced to drive the train down the line to a designated spot where the sacks of money could be unloaded.
A total of 128 sacks – weighing 2.5 tones – were lifted off the train and the gang had fled the scene within 30 minutes.
The gang then drove to a farmyard barn where they began to distribute the money between themselves.
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Most of the money was never recovered.
Their loot is believed to have been split into £150,000 shares, with smaller amounts for associates who played a lesser role in the heist.
The Ulsterman was one of two plotters never captured by police.
The identity of the man who hit Jack Mills was not established and the train driver never recovered fully from his injuries, dying in 1970.
Police steadily made a number of arrests throughout 1963, making their last one – Bruce Reynolds – in 1968.
Eight of the robbers were sentenced to 30 years behind bars with another three given 25 years.
While the gang comprised of 15 people in total the main members were:
Reynolds was the ringleader of the infamous gang.
After the robbery Reynolds hid out in a London safe house for six months then moved to Mexico with his family before settling in Canada.
After five years the family secretly returned to England and lived in Torquay where Reynolds was arrested in 1986.
On his release in 1978, he struggled to adjust to a life without crime and was jailed again in 1980 for dealing drugs.
He was living on income support before he died in his sleep aged 81 in 2013.
Goody was the deputy in London’s South West gang and plotted the robbery with Reynolds.
Goody, who was 34 at the time, was caught and sentenced to 35 years but only served 12 due to a change in the law.
He revealed some of the details in a memoir, which claimed that it was Patrick McKenna who was the Ulsterman, although this has been disputed.
Goody was released in 1975 and four years later moved to Spain and ran a bar.
He died in 2016.
Londoner Edwards was a career criminal and managed to evade the cops following the robbery.
He and fellow gang member Reynolds, took his family to Mexico but his share of the loot, £150,000 ran out and Edwards's family became homesick, so he negotiated his return to England in 1966.
Edwards was arrested and sentenced to 15 years behind bars.
Having been given early release in 1975 he ran a flower stall outside Waterloo station.
He died in 1963 having been found by his brother, hanging from a steel girder inside a lock-up garage in London.
Biggs was the most infamous of the Great Rain Robbers after escaping from jail and fleeing eventually to Brazil.
He was brought in as part of the gang, having met Reynolds behind bars.
Biggs was jailed for 30 years in 1964 over the heist.
He escaped from Wandsworth Prison using a rope ladder one year later
In Rio de Janeiro, Biggs became a minor celebrity, revelling in his notoriety as he thumbed his nose at the British authorities.
Wanting to return to the UK, Biggs eventually flew back in 2001 on a flight organised by The Sun.
He was re-imprisoned upon his return.
Biggs was eventually released in 2009 – two days short of his 80th birthday, after a series of strokes.
He had served ten out of his 30-year sentence.
Biggs died on December 18, 2013, at a North London care home aged 84.
Welch was the last surviving member of the gang and died in November 2023.
Arsenal supporter Bobby was a nightclub owner prior to the robbery.
Bobby was locked up for 30 years for his role in the robbery, before being released from jail in 1976.
He became became a car dealer and gambler following his release.
But a botched leg operation while inside left him crippled and it was later amputated.
Through his later life he shunned publicity and lived in quiet obscurity with his family.
Cordrey worked as a florist in Brighton.
He had become a compulsive gambler, which had led him to work as a thief.
When he was arrested in Bournemouth, Cordrey hid in his rectum the key to a car in which he was hiding his share of cash from the robbery.
At his trial he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years but was released in 1971.
He moved to the West Country and went back to the flower business.
South London hardman Wisbey was jailed for 30 years for his part — after refusing to pay a bent cop £30,000 to get rid of evidence.
He later said: “The only regret I have got is getting caught. I wanted to go on.”
He was released in 1976 after serving 12½ years.
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In 1989, he got ten years for drug dealing. But he eventually went straight and ran a flower stall.
Arsenal fan Wisbey suffered a stroke at his care home in Eltham, South-East London in December 2016, two days before Christmas.
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