FOR FAKES SAKE !!!!!!! PROSPECTIVE BUYERS , AUCTION HOUSES AND PRIVATE INVESTORS, PLEASE DO BEWARE OF THE SHEER MASS OF FAKE KRAYS AND CHARLES BRONSON MEMORABILIA OUT THERE IN THE MARKET PLACE ….

The Crime Through Time Collection here at Littledean Jail has recently confiscated a mass of astonishingly pathetic so say Kray and Bronson memorabilia as seen here in the gallery below .

Sadly a middle aged gentleman had been duped out of many thousands of hard earned pounds, now known to be one of a great many in a similar situation . 

These were all purchased from and through an alleged former fellow inmate and exceptionally close friend of Reg Kray whilst being his personal golpher in HMP Wayland, .This conman and forger trades under the name “Clive ” …In fact this man has never even met Reg Kray . 

He apparently has personally persuaded several so say reputable auction houses up and down the country to sell a great many of these fake items. Many of these auctions have featured in both local and national press (see HERE ) which has aided him to authenticate these paintings and other memorabilia items . The likes of which he has referred all his buyers and collectors to for reference for at least the last 5 years or so . ….. 

Despite having been informed by reputable collectors and indeed Kray and Bronson family and friends that these items are not genuine and are definitely fake , many auction houses have flagrantly dismissed all advises and proceeded to sell these items which have allegedly  totalled many tens of thousands of pounds over the years .

WE BELIEVE IT IS ONLY RIGHT AND PROPER, THAT ALL THESE  SEEMINGLY UNSCRUPULOUS  AUCTION HOUSES, WHO WE FEEL ARE AS EQUALLY FRAUDULENT AS THIS CONMAN “CLIVE” ….. REIMBURSE ALL DUPED BUYERS OF THIS ABSOLUTELY  WORTHLESS PILE OF CRAP …..

HOPEFULLY THIS SKY NEWS ARTICLE  LINK HERE AND  SOME OF THESE IMAGES BELOW WILL NOW ACT AS A REFERENCE LIBRARY IN PROVIDING SOME EXAMPLES OF THE SHEER SCALE OF FAKE KRAY AND BRONSON MEMORABILIA ITEMS THAT HAVE BEEN SOLD.

HERE ARE SOME LINKS TO SOME  AUCTIONS THAT SOLD FAKE KRAY PAINTINGS IN RECENT YEARS ….. 

BATEMANS AUCTION HOUSE , LINCOLNSHIRE    …. HERE

JAMES AND SONS AUCTIONEERS , FAKENHAM … HERE

LAIDLAWS AUCTIONEERS  ….. HERE

AND MANY OTHERS…… BUYERS BEWARE

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GREAT TRAIN ROBBER RONNIE BIGGS FUNERAL – THE FINAL JOURNEY 3RD JANUARY 2014

BELOW ORDER OF SERVICE FOR THE FUNERAL OF RONNIE BIGGS1497963_10153639642285456_772394335_o

RONNIE’S SON MICHAEL IN A PRIVATE MOMENT OUTSIDE  HIS HOME PRIOR TO THE HEARSE TAKING RONNIE ON HIS  FINAL JOURNEY TO GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM

JSN_5970RONNIE’S  WICKER COFFIN INSIDE GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM ADORNED WITH THE BRAZILIAN AND ENGLISH NATIONAL FLAGS, HIS ARSENAL SCARF AND TRILBY HAT 
JSN_6151BELOW ARE A COUPLE OF NEWS VIDEO FOOTAGE COVERING THE FUNERAL 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4xVLlV5EMU

BELOW IS HOW THE DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER REPORTED THE FUNERAL

Ageing gangsters, Hell’s Angels taking selfies, a coffin draped in the BRAZILIAN flag… and a two-fingered floral salute: A fittingly tacky send-off for Ronnie Biggs

  • Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber, died last month aged 84
  • Notorious prisoner Charles Bronson sent a bouquet of flowers
  • He said in a message read to the funeral: ‘I do hope the royal family show their respect with a nice train wreath’
  • Brazilian flag draped across Ronnie Biggs’ coffin
  • Freddie Foreman, who had links to the Kray twins, among the mourners
  • Biggs gave a two-fingered salute last time he was seen in public
  • Today his coffin was taken to Golders Green Crematorium, north London with a similar floral tribute
  • Great Train Robbers fled with £2.6m in 1963 – £46m in today’s money
  • Train driver Jack Mills was beaten over the head and never fully recovered

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, who spent much of his life cocking a snook at authority, was given an appropriate send off today.

He stuck two-fingers to the authorities for one last time – with an offensive floral tribute in the back of his hearse.

And in what could be seen as a final dig at British justice, the criminal’s coffin had a Union Flag draped across it which was almost completely covered by a Brazilian flag in reference to the time he spent on the run there.

After being jailed, Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison in 1965 and made his way to Rio five years later where he could not be extradited back to his homeland. He stayed there for 27 years before finally returning to the country.

At his funeral today, some of Britain’s best-known villains paid their respects in person – and those behind bars sent their messages of condolence.

 

Mourners: Ronnie Biggs' coffin is carried into Golders Green crematorium, draped in a Brazilian flag with his trademark cap on the top. the criminal spent 27 years in Brazil before he returned to BritainMourners: Ronnie Biggs’ coffin is carried into Golders Green crematorium, draped in a Brazilian flag with his trademark cap on the top. the criminal spent 27 years in Brazil before he returned to Britain

The Great Train Robber's coffin, draped with a Union Flag, a Brazilian flag and a scarf of his beloved Arsenal football team is carried into Golders Green CrematoriumThe Great Train Robber’s coffin, draped with a Union Flag, a Brazilian flag and a scarf of his beloved Arsenal football team is carried into Golders Green Crematorium

Funeral: Ronnie Biggs son Michael holds his father's cap as he is comforted by Great Train Robbery ringleader Bruce Reynolds' son NickFuneral: Ronnie Biggs son Michael holds his father’s cap as he is comforted by Great Train Robbery ringleader Bruce Reynolds’ son Nick

Biggs's granddaughter Ingrid speaking during the funeral service
Michael Biggs speaking during the funeral service of his father Ronnie Biggs

Tribute: Biggs’s granddaughter Ingrid and son Michael speak during the funeral service

Emotion: Biggs's granddaughter Ingrid is consoled by her father Michael, after giving her speech during the serviceEmotion: Biggs’s granddaughter Ingrid is consoled by her father Michael, after delivering her speech

In loving memory: A copy of the order of service for the funeral of Ronnie BiggsIn loving memory: A copy of the order of service for the funeral of Ronnie Biggs
Nick Reynolds, son of Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds gives a reading during the funeral serviceNick Reynolds, son of Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds gives a reading during the funeral service

Charles Bronson, one of the country’s longest-serving prisoners, sent a bouquet containing an old ten-bob note with the words ‘Ronnie Biggs RIP’ scrawled across it.

Biggs, who spend 36 years on the run in total, died last month aged 84 after a long battle with illness.

When Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the notorious Great Train Robbery in 1963, died last year, Biggs took the opportunity to swear at journalists one last time.

Today Bruce’s son Nick was among the mourners at Golders Green Crematorium, in north London.

Freddie Foreman, a notorious East End crook with links to the Kray twins, and self-proclaimed former gangster Dave Courtney were also in attendance.

Final journey: Ronnie Biggs' body is taken to his funeral escorted by Hells Angels outriders

Final journey: Ronnie Biggs’ body is taken to his funeral escorted by Hells Angels outriders

Defiance: A two-fingered floral tribute is displayed in the back of Ronnie Biggs' hearse this afternoon as his body is taken to the crematorium. He died last month aged 84Defiance: A two-fingered floral tribute is displayed in the back of Ronnie Biggs’ hearse this afternoon as his body is taken to the crematorium. He died last month aged 84

Funeral: Flanked by a posse of Hells Angels, the coffin is driven to the crematorium draped in two flags - and with Biggs' cap on topFuneral: Flanked by a posse of Hells Angels, the coffin is driven to the crematorium draped in two flags – and with Biggs’ cap on top

Final journey: Ronnie Biggs' coffin is carried into the crematorium by Nick Reynolds, son of the Great Train Robbery ringleader BruceFinal journey: Ronnie Biggs’ coffin is carried into the crematorium by Nick Reynolds, son of the Great Train Robbery ringleader Bruce

Respects: Ronnie Biggs' coffin is carried into the crematorium this afternoonRespects: Ronnie Biggs’ coffin is carried into the crematorium this afternoon
Mourners: Hells Angel bikers and other wellwishers attend the funeral in north LondonMourners: Hells Angel bikers and other wellwishers attend the funeral in north London
Escort: A police van and a row of cars follow the hearse to the funeral in north LondonEscort: A police van and a row of cars follow the hearse to the funeral in north London
Grief: Michael Biggs, the Great Train Robber's son, is seen in sunglasses at the funeral in north LondonGrief: Michael Biggs, the Great Train Robber’s son, is seen in sunglasses at the funeral in north London

Send off: The Hells Angels bikers arrive at the funeral, leading the coffin to the crematoriumSend off: The Hells Angels bikers arrive at the funeral, leading the coffin to the crematorium

Send-off: The bikers arrive at the crematorium in Golders Green, north London, this afternoonSend-off: The bikers arrive at the crematorium in Golders Green, north London, this afternoon
Tribute: A brass band at Biggs' funeralTribute: A six-piece Dixie band joined the procession for the final part of the journey to the crematorium.
Leading the hearse and funeral cars, it played songs including When the Saints Come Marching In

Criminal: Notorious prisoner Charles Bronson sent a bouquet of flowers with an old ten bob note with 'Ronnie Biggs RIP' written on itCriminal: Notorious prisoner Charles Bronson sent a bouquet of flowers with an old ten bob note with ‘Ronnie Biggs RIP’ written on it
Final journey: The coffin is carried into Golders Green Crematorium this afternoon as Biggs is given a final send-off from family, gangsters and roguesFinal journey: The coffin is carried into Golders Green Crematorium this afternoon as Biggs is given a final send-off from family, gangsters and rogues
Ronnie Biggs gives a two-fingered salute
Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs

Defiance: Ronnie Biggs, seen last year when he made his final public appearance (left), gives a two-fingered salute. He was involved in the Great Train Robbery when he was much younger (right) in 1963

 

Friends say final farewell to Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs

Biggs’ coffin had both the Union Jack and the Brazilian flag draped across it – in reference to the time he spent on the run.

The robber and his co-conspirators made off with £2.6million – which is £46million in today’s money – when they hijacked a Royal Mail train in Ledburn, Buckinghamshire.

Jack Mills, the driver, was coshed over the head with an iron bar and never properly recovered from his injuries.

At Biggs’ funeral today, the Reverend Dave Thompson said: ‘People have asked me “How can you take part in the funeral of a Great Train Robber?”

‘What we need to remember is that Jesus didn’t hang out with hoity-toity folk, he just treated people as people.’

Mourners entered the church to the sound of the London Dixieland Jazz Band before the service began with the hymn Abide With Me by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis LyteMourners entered the church to the sound of the London Dixieland Jazz Band before the service began with the hymn Abide With Me by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte

A eulogy was read by Biggs's son Michael before a Shakespeare sonnet chosen by Charmain Biggs and two of Biggs's own poems read by his friend CookieA eulogy was read by Biggs’s son Michael before a Shakespeare sonnet chosen by Charmain Biggs and two of Biggs’s own poems read by his friend Cookie
Grief: Michael Biggs, pictured at the funeral this week, will tattoo in some of his father's ashes into his armGrief: Michael Biggs, pictured at the funeral this week, will tattoo in some of his father’s ashes into his arm
Respects: The actor Steven Berkoff was among the mourners at the funeral in north London todayRespects: The actor Steven Berkoff was among the mourners at the funeral in north London today
Ex-wife: Charmain Powell, the former wife of Ronnie Biggs, is seen today on her way to the funeralEx-wife: Charmain Powell, the former wife of Ronnie Biggs, is seen today on her way to the funeral
Mourner: Charmain Powell, the ex-wife of Ronnie Biggs, makes her way to his funeral in north London todayMourner: Charmain Powell, the ex-wife of Ronnie Biggs, makes her way to his funeral in north London today

Old criminal: Freddie Foreman, a notorious East End crook with links to the Kray twins, arrives at Ronnie Biggs' funeralOld criminal: Freddie Foreman, a notorious East End crook with links to the Kray twins, arrives at Ronnie Biggs’ funeral

Tribute: Nick Reynolds, son of Bruce Reynolds who was the ringleader of the Great Train Robbery, arrives at Golders Green crematorium in north LondonTribute: Nick Reynolds, son of Bruce Reynolds who was the ringleader of the Great Train Robbery, arrives at Golders Green crematorium in north London

Mourner: Harold Marks arrives at the funeral this afternoon in north LondonMourner: Howard Marks arrives at the funeral this afternoon in north London

Mourner: His face covered in tattoos, a mourner arrives at Ronnie Biggs' funeral in Golders Green, north London, this afternoonMourner: His face covered in tattoos, a mourner arrives at Ronnie Biggs’ funeral in Golders Green, north London, this afternoon

Biggs’s son Michael cried as he paid homage to his father, saying; ‘I’m here to talk about Ron, Ronnie, to me simply dad.

‘Dad always had a way of looking at things and saying something that was fair and often funny.

‘Dad never made enemies and after arriving in Brazil he embraced the culture and became a carioca, someone from Rio.

‘He always had soft spot for the underdog and he considered himself to be one, he always had a few pennies for the street beggars.

‘He spoke the lingo and enjoyed the samba.

‘And parties, he knew about great parties, some were memorable and to this day there are still old hippies that I meet in Rio and say the biggest party they ever went to were with dad.

‘Dad thank you for all your love and strength when necessary, your screwed up way of parenting that many people did not understand, however it has worked.

‘Let’s celebrate his life with a proper booze up later on, ashes to ashes and dust to the beach.

‘Don’t worry mate, you are not paying for the booze.’

Funeral selfie: Hells Angel bikers pose for a selfie as they arrive at Ronnie Biggs' funeral at Golders Green crematorium this afternoonFuneral selfie: Hells Angel bikers pose for a selfie as they arrive at Ronnie Biggs’ funeral at Golders Green crematorium this afternoon
Mourner: A man arrives at Ronnie Biggs' funeral at Golders Green crematorium this afternoonMourner: A man arrives at Ronnie Biggs’ funeral at Golders Green crematorium this afternoon

Mourners: Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber who spent 36 years on the run, died last month at the age of 83Mourners: Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber who spent 36 years on the run, died last month at the age of 83Bruce Reynolds’ son Nick described Biggs as ‘a great character, with charisma and what he called his kind of luck’.

Speaking about the ill health he had suffered in his last years, Mr Reynolds said: ‘Ronnie managed to hang on to life with great tenacity, dignity and humour.

‘The house was a wreck but the lights were on and Ron was very much at home.

‘The word legend is defined in the dictionary as an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field, and Ron certainly fits that description.’

He also read out an email from Bronson, who described Biggs as ‘staunch, solid, loyal to the end’.

‘Much respect to a diamond geezer,’ Bronson wrote. ‘I do hope the royal family show their respect with a nice train wreath.

‘Three cheers to you Ron, we love you buddy.’

Tribute: A man carries a floral tribute sent by Charles Bronson to the funeral. A note from the notorious criminal, daubed on an old ten bob note read 'Ronnie Biggs RIP'Tribute: A man carries a floral tribute sent by Charles Bronson to the funeral. A note from the notorious criminal, daubed on an old ten bob note read ‘Ronnie Biggs RIP’

Grief: Guests arrive at Ronnie Biggs' funeral in north London today after he died last month following a long illnessGrief: Guests arrive at Ronnie Biggs’ funeral in north London today after he died last month following a long illness
Crowd: Old criminals, family and friends of Ronnie Biggs attend the funeral of the convicted thief who spent 36 years on the runCrowd: Old criminals, family and friends of Ronnie Biggs attend the funeral of the convicted thief who spent 36 years on the run
'From all your friends': A bouquet of flowers from the Hells Angels bikers with a note which says 'rest in peace Ron, love and respect'‘From all your friends’: A bouquet of flowers from the Hells Angels bikers with a note which says ‘rest in peace Ron, love and respect’
Self-proclaimed English former gangster Dave Courtney arrives at the Crematorium for the funeral of Ronnie Biggs
Self-proclaimed English former gangster Dave Courtney (in white coat) arrives at the Crematorium for the funeral of Ronnie Biggs

Funeral: Self-proclaimed English former gangster Dave Courtney arrives at Ronnie Biggs’ funeral at Golders Green Crematorium today

Earlier, the funeral cortege, with a guard of honour formed by 13 Hells Angels bikers, left the home of Biggs’ son Michael and daughter-in-law Veronica in Barnet, north London.

Michael, who was wearing dark glasses and jeans with a skull and crossbones belt, met with mourners before the cortege set off.

Ronald Arthur ‘Ronnie’ Biggs, who spent more than three decades on the run, had been cared for at Carlton Court Care Home in East Barnet, north London, after suffering several strokes in recent years.

Funeral: Two men embrace outside Golders Green crematorium where Ronnie Biggs' funeral was heldFuneral: Two men embrace outside Golders Green crematorium where Ronnie Biggs’ funeral was held
Mourners: Dressed in black, these people arrive at Ronnie Biggs' funeral in Golders Green this afternoonMourners: Dressed in black, these people arrive at Ronnie Biggs’ funeral in Golders Green this afternoon

His carers at the home were among those joining the funeral procession today.

Close friend and writer Chris Pickard, who helped Biggs put together his autobiography Odd Man Out, said: ‘I am going to remember him as a great friend. He was great fun to be around.

‘I knew him in Rio and he was a great host and a very generous man.

‘People forget he was involved in just one major incident, one of the iconic crimes of the 20th century.

‘He always said he was the best witness to the Great Train Robbery, he played a very minor part in it, but people always link it to him.

‘But if he hadn’t gone over the prison wall, he wouldn’t have been remembered – there were 16 people at the track but it’s only people like him, Buster Edwards and Bruce Reynolds that get remembered all these years later.

‘Ronnie kept in the news by being on the run for all those years, getting himself kidnapped, it is amazing – he has been in the news virtually every year for the last 50 years and very few people can say that.’

Press pack: Photographers compete for space outside Golders Green CrematoriumPress pack: Photographers compete for space outside Golders Green Crematorium
Grief: The crowd of mourners at Golders Green crematorium in north London this afternoonGrief: The crowd of mourners at Golders Green crematorium in north London this afternoon

Crowd: People watch as Ronnie Biggs' coffin leaves his home and heads to the crematorium in north LondonCrowd: People watch as Ronnie Biggs’ coffin leaves his home and heads to the crematorium in north LondonAsked about the presence of former gangsters at the funeral, Mr Pickard said: ‘He probably wouldn’t know them – he wasn’t involved in that, he was more involved, especially in Brazil, with the arts, music, things like that.

‘His friends were from a huge base of artists and musicians, he didn’t really have that many friends in the criminal fraternity.’

Biggs was released from prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds due to ill health, despite being re-arrested in 2001 upon his return to the UK after evading the authorities since his first escape from Wandsworth Prison in 1965.

At the time of his escape, Biggs had served just 15 months of the 30-year sentence he was handed for his part in the robbery of a Royal Mail freight train between London and Glasgow on August 8, 1963.

After having plastic surgery, he lived as a fugitive for 36 years first in Australia then Brazil, where Michael was born. His son later became the key to him being allowed to stay in the country and not face extradition. Biggs’s money eventually ran out and he traded on his notoriety to scrape a living.

Speaking last year, he said he was proud to have been part of the gang behind the robbery, which saw 15 men escape with a record haul.

Biggs, who could not speak due to his strokes and communicated through a spelling board, said: ‘If you want to ask me if I have any regrets about being one of the train robbers, my answer is, “No”.

‘I will go further: I am proud to have been one of them.’

He did admit to some regrets, however.

‘It is regrettable, as I have said many times, that the train driver was injured,’ he said.

Final sendoff: Draped in both a British flag and a Brazilian flag - in honour of the South American country where he spent so many years on the run - Ronnie Biggs' coffin is taken to his funeralFinal sendoff: Draped in both a British flag and a Brazilian flag – in honour of the South American country where he spent so many years on the run – Ronnie Biggs’ coffin is taken to his funeral

Hells Angels: The bikers went in front of the funeral cortege as the coffin was driven to the crematoriumHells Angels: The bikers went in front of the funeral cortege as the coffin was driven to the crematorium
Tribute act: The bikers arrive at Ronnie Biggs' family's home in Barnet, north London, to make the journey to the crematoriumTribute act: The bikers arrive at Ronnie Biggs’ family’s home in Barnet, north London, to make the journey to the crematorium
Defiant to the last: Thief Ronnie Biggs swears at photographers at the funeral of fellow Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds last yearDefiant to the last: Thief Ronnie Biggs swears at photographers at the funeral of fellow Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds last year
Living it up: Ronnie Biggs relaxes in Brazil in 1997 where he spent 36 years on the run from British justice before returning to get medical careLiving it up: Ronnie Biggs relaxes in Brazil in 1997 where he spent 36 years on the run from British justice before returning to get medical care
Notorious: Ronnie Biggs, who died last month, revelled in the fame his heinous crime brought himNotorious: Ronnie Biggs, who died last month, revelled in the fame his heinous crime brought him

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R.I.P GREAT TRAIN ROBBER AND ICONIC FIGURE RONNIE BIGGS …8TH AUGUST 1929 – 18TH DECEMBER 2013

LOVE HIM OR LOATHE HIM …. CERTAINLY ONE OF THE UK’S MOST ICONIC PETTY CRIMINALS WHO BECAME A HOUSEHOLD NAME WORLDWIDE AS A RESULT OF BEING PART OF THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY GANG OF 1963. SUBSEQUENTLY ESCAPING TO A CELEBRITY LIFESTYLE IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL BEFORE RETUNING TO THE UK WHERE HE SERVED A FURTHER TERM IN PRISON BEFORE BEING RELEASED IN 2009 ON COMPASSIONATE GROUNDS. SPENDING THE REMAINDER  OF HIS LIFE UNDER PRISON LICENCE IN A CARE HOME IN BARNET UNTIL HIS SUDDEN DEATH ON 18TH DECEMBER  2013 , AGED 84.

 

 

‘I hope he will be remembered as a gentle, fine man’: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs’ son pays tribute to his father as he reveals he plans to scatter his ashes in Brazil

  • Legendary criminal dies at North London home at the age of 84
  • He had been in poor health since returning to Britain from Brazil in 2001
  • Found fame as he taunted the authorities during his decades on the run
  • Biggs was part of the gang which targeted a train in 1963 and made off with £2.6million in cash – worth £40million today
  • Two-part drama about the Great Train Robbery begins tonight on BBC1

The son of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs today paid tribute to his son saying he hoped he would be remembered as ‘gentle, generous and fine man’.

His son Michael announced the death of his father this morning – less than 24 hours before a TV drama about the notorious crime is broadcast on BBC1.

Speaking from his house on Stanhope Road, which is close to the care home, Michael, 39, said: ‘I want to say thanks to him for all the love he gave me and who he turned me into as a person.

Old age: Biggs with his son Michael who paid tribute to his father and said he hoped to bury his ashes in BrazilOld age: Biggs with his son Michael who paid tribute to his father and said he hoped to bury his ashes in Brazil

 

‘He was always present, very present in my life. He was always there for me and when my mother left, he was my mum and my dad all my life.

‘I always knew about everything growing up but it was just part of my life.

‘I’m sad for all the family. Hopefully he will be remembered as a good father, and a gentle, generous and fine man.

‘I haven’t thought about the funeral yet as it’s only been 12 hours since he died but I’ll maybe scatter his ashes in Brazil.’

But today many people spoke out against such warm descriptions of Biggs, saying that his crimes mean he does not deserve to be celebrated.

Mugshot: Biggs was jailed for his role in the Great Train Robbery, but escaped after just 15 monthsMugshot: Biggs was jailed for his role in the Great Train Robbery, but escaped after just 15 months

 

‘Ronnie Biggs was a violent criminal who evaded facing justice for decades,’ tweeted Tory MEP candidate Daniel Hamilton. ‘I find today’s gushing eulogies slightly offensive.’

Mick Whelan, general secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, added: ‘While naturally we feel sorry for Mr Biggs’s family at this time, we have always regarded Biggs as a nonentity, and a criminal, who took part in a violent robbery which resulted in the death of a train driver.

‘Jack Mills, who was 57 at the time of the robbery, never properly recovered from the injuries he suffered after being savagely coshed by the gang of which Biggs was a member that night.’

In a remarkable coincidence, tonight the BBC is showing the first part of a drama series which marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Great Train Robbery.

The first film, A Robber’s Tale, focuses on the story of mastermind Bruce Reynolds as he masterminds the raid on the Royal Mail train, while the second instalment, A Copper’s Tale, tells the story from the perspective of DCS Tommy Butler, the officer leading the investigation.

Biggs became a household name as a result of his part in the gang which stole £2.6million (the equivalent of £40million today) from a train that they forced to stop at a bridge in Cheddington, Buckinghamshire.

He shot to legendary status a couple of years later, however, when he escaped from prison and went on the run and he was one of the last known robbers from the incident still alive.

Taunting: Ronnie Biggs, who has died at the age of 84, pictured while on the run in BrazilTaunting: Ronnie Biggs, who has died at the age of 84, pictured while on the run in Brazil

Ronnie Biggs
Ronnie Biggs pictured at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds in East London

Defiant: Biggs flashed the V-sign at photographers at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds in March

Arrest: Biggs pictured after being apprehended by police in the wake of robberyArrest: Biggs pictured after being apprehended by police in the wake of robbery

 

 

He spent 30 years evading British justice, getting plastic surgery in France before heading to Australia and later Brazil where he had a son with a local woman meaning he could not be extradited.

The last time he was seen in public was in March this year when his character shone through as he flicked Vs at photographers despite appearing to be extremely unwell.

 

 

He returned to the UK from exile in Rio de Janeiro in 2001 against the wishes of his family, saying he wanted to go to a pub in Margate ‘as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter’ – a wish he never got to fulfil.

Announcing his death at Carlton Court Care Home in East Barnet, his son Michael said today: ‘I’m sorry to say my Dad passed away in the early hours.’

Biggs’s involvement in the Great Train Robbery has long been debated with some suggesting he was only involved because he could recruit a train driver to move the train once it had been stopped at a false set of signals.

Others suggest that he was the one who hit train driver Jack Mills around the head causing injuries that he never fully recovered from.

 

 

 

 

Still sticking two fingers up: Ronnie Biggs’ defiant March 2013

Biggs, pictured with his wife Charmian in 1974, was sentenced to 30 years' behind bars on April 15, 1964, but was to serve just 15 months in prisonBiggs, pictured with his wife Charmian in 1974, was sentenced to 30 years’ behind bars on April 15, 1964, but was to serve just 15 months in prison

 

 

The wreckage of the car in which Biggs's son Nicholas, aged 10, was killed in a two car crash near MelbourneThe wreckage of the car in which Biggs’s son Nicholas, aged 10, was killed in a two car crash near Melbourne

Speaking to Nicky Campbell on Radio 1 in 2000 – before his return to the UK – Biggs said his share of the money had been £147,000, but he had quickly spent the loot.

‘I squandered it totally – within three years it was all gone,’ he said. Since then he had been ‘living on my name only,’ he added.

His ghostwriter said today that Biggs would be known as ‘one of the great characters’ – but an expert on the robbery dismissed him as an ‘idiot’.

Christopher Pickard, who collaborated on the thief’s memoirs, told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: ‘People will remember him as one of the great characters of the last 50 years.

Youth: Biggs pictured in an early police mugshot, before he left Britain for a life in exile

Youth: Biggs pictured in an early police mugshot, before he left Britain for a life in exile

Biggs and 11 other robbers were jailed for a combined total of more than 300 years for the robbery. Pictured is Biggs's police record sheetBiggs and 11 other robbers were jailed for a combined total of more than 300 years for the robbery. Pictured is Biggs’s police record sheet

Decades earlier: Three of the robbers covered in blankets leave a court hearing in 1963

Decades earlier: Three of the robbers covered in blankets leave a court hearing in 1963

‘You have people who would still say hanging is too good for him and others who like him.’

However, Anthony Delano, who has written a book on the Great Train Robbery, said that Biggs was an ‘idiot’, adding: ‘He was a small-time South London crook who nobody wanted on the team because he was a weak link.’

Biggs always portrayed himself as a lovable personality who spurned violence, insisting he was a ‘crook’ rather than a ‘criminal’.

Lobbyist Alex Deane added: ‘Biggs wasn’t a cuddly heart of gold cockney character to be feted. His gang beat a man with an iron bar, ruining his life.’

And writer Sali Hughes said: ‘RIP member of gang who beat an innocent train driver minding his own business with an iron bar. You were a real “character”.’

Target: The train after it had been ransacked by Biggs and his fellow thieves in BuckinghamshireTarget: The train after it had been ransacked by Biggs and his fellow thieves in Buckinghamshire

Scene: The train parked on an embankment in Buckinghamshire in the aftermath of the robberyScene: The train parked on an embankment in Buckinghamshire in the aftermath of the robbery

 

Investigation: Police walk along the railway lines while looking into the circumstances of the crimeInvestigation: Police walk along the railway lines while looking into the circumstances of the crime

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association today tweeted: ‘In case today’s media confuses you: attacking railway staff with an iron bar to the extent they’re barely able to work again really isn’t OK.’

The retired police officer who was the first person to discover the robbers’ hideaway at Leatherslade Farm said today that Biggs was a ‘self-publicist’ who had managed to inflate his own role at the expense of his fellow plotters.

‘The reality is that amongst the robbers, Ronnie Biggs was a bit of a nonentity – not at all involved in planning the robbery or even carrying it out,’ John Woolley told MailOnline.

‘He’s the man who has had all the publicity, and arguably he’s had the benefits because he lived the high life for 30 years.

‘He was a colourful character. Being a bit of a self-publicist, he absolutely capitalised on being involved in the “crime of the century”.’

Bruce Reynolds, one of the suspected robbers involved in the Great Train Robbery
Charles Wilson, a suspect in the Great Train Robbery trail.

Conspirators: Bruce Reynolds, left, and Charlie Wilson, right, two of the ringleaders of the Great Train Robbery

Ronald " Buster " Edwards, one of the Great Train Robbers.
Great Train Robber John Daly

Gang: Buster Roberts, left, and John Daly, right, were both arrested in the wake of the heist

 

Jailed: Roy James spent 12 years in prison for his part in the Great Train RobberyJailed: Roy James spent 12 years in prison for his part in the Great Train Robbery

Mr Woolley added that it is important to remember the violent nature of the Great Train Robbery, even if Biggs was less responsible for this than some of the others.

‘It’s too easy to forget that this was a greedy, vicious crime that completely shattered the life of at least one person,’ he said.

‘The only reason the Great Train Robbery wasn’t recorded as a veritable bloodbath was because the only person who stood in their way was the train driver.’

A detective who was part of the original investigation said he was pleased to have outlived Biggs, who he claimed lived ‘a charmed life’.

Retired Detective Constable John Bailey was first on the scene of the robbery, and took hundreds of photographs which were used as evidence.

The former policeman said today: ‘When I found out about Ronnie Biggs’s death I was glad, he has lived a charmed life, quite frankly.

‘Despite his crimes, he has been living it up. He then came back here on the scrounge and got put in a nursing home.

‘He was a very ordinary bloke really, he needed the money as we all do I suppose. But when this came along he knew the right people as he used to be part of a clan or gang of those sorts.

‘I am glad I have outlived him because otherwise my work would not have been worthwhile.’

But Nick Reynolds, an artist and musician who is the son of robbery mastermind Bruce, insisted that Biggs was a ‘great guy’ who was misunderstood.

‘He was like an uncle figure to me,’ he told Sky News. ‘I used to visit him in Brazil – in fact, I was with him when he flew back.

‘Before he lost the power of speech, he was a great guy. There was a lot more to him that the media cartoon figure that was portrayed – he was very intelligent, very well-read, loved jazz.

‘He was a great wit and raconteur – he was a man’s man.’

 

The gang hid at Leatherslade Farm (pictured) following the train robbery but they quit the site hurriedly after they became aware police were hot on their scentThe gang hid at Leatherslade Farm (pictured) following the train robbery but they quit the site hurriedly after they became aware police were hot on their scent

 

A spade in a hole dug at Leatherslade Farm by the train robbers to burn the mailbagsA spade in a hole dug at Leatherslade Farm by the train robbers to burn the mailbags

Victim: Train driver Jack Mills was unable to work after being attacked during the robberyVictim: Train driver Jack Mills was unable to work after being attacked during the robbery

 

HOW THE ‘CRIME OF THE CENTURY’ UNFOLDED LEADING TO THE THEFT OF £2.6MILLION IN BANKNOTES

The country was left stunned after a train was hijacked and robbed 35 miles from its London destination in August 1963.

A 17-strong gang launched the raid on the overnight service from Glasgow at the Bridego Railway Bridge in Ledburn, Buckinghamshire in the early hours of August 8 in what has been dubbed the ‘crime of the century’.

Led by the charismatic Bruce Reynolds, the group of criminals pulled off the notorious heist, making off with £2.6million – the equivalent of £40million today.

The train was stopped at a set of fixed signals which the gang had switched, leading driver Jack Mills to go and investigate.

He was knocked out by an iron bar wielded by an unknown member of the gang, forcing him to give up work, and he died seven years later.

Following an outcry over Charmian Biggs cashing in on her husband’s crime by selling her story to the Press, the Daily Mail sponsored a fund to help Mills’s family, raising more than £34,000 by the time of his death.

The bulk of the huge haul has never been recovered.

The gang shared out the proceeds at isolated Leatherslade Farm – Biggs taking around £148,000 – but thereafter things started to go badly wrong, with nearly all the gang members being rounded up by the police.

In fact, the Leatherslade Farm hide-out was a huge mistake on the part of the gang. The police were telling reporters that they were looking for an isolated farm which had just changed hands and which was 25 miles from the scene of the crime. Leatherslade met every one of these requirements.

When the gang became aware that the police were hot on their scent, they quit the farm hurriedly, leaving behind scores of tell-tale fingerprints.

Most of the ringleaders were quickly rounded up, and 11 of the robbers got jail sentences ranging from 14 to 30 years.

Despite Biggs’s elevated reputation as a ‘Great Train Robber’, his one job in the robbery on August 8, 1963 – to provide the team with a train driver – was an utter failure.

The robbers needed to move the mail train around half a mile from the signal box where it was stopped to Bridego Bridge, where a truck was waiting to load the loot.

Biggs was tasked with finding a driver and provided a retired railway man known as ‘Stan Agate’. But despite his years of experience, the driver was unable to operate the new-style locomotive.

When it became clear the driver was useless, he and Biggs were banished to the waiting truck to help load the mail bags.

No guns were used, but driver Jack Mills was coshed and left unconscious by an unidentified assailant, suffered constant headaches for the rest of his life and died in 1970 from leukaemia.

Two of the robbers, Charlie Wilson and Biggs, escaped from Wandsworth Prison within two years of being jailed – Biggs scaled a wall with a rope ladder.

Biggs then spent 36 years on the run, living mainly in Brazil where he would taunt the British police and boast about his notoriety to unsuspecting tourists.

However, in 2001 he returned home to face arrest, when he had grown tired of his life in exile and required medical treatment which he could not afford to pay for, after he had suffered three strokes.

He was eventually freed from jail in 2009 on ‘compassionate grounds’ by then Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

Three years before the robbery, Biggs married his wife Charmian, with whom he had three sons.

They joined him in Australia after his escape from prison, and began a new life together using fake new identities.

When police discovered who he really was, they raided the family home – but Biggs had fled a day earlier, leaving his wife and children behind.

The fugitive ended up in Brazil while Charmian and the boys continued living in Australia, where in 1970 son Nicholas died in a car accident at the age of 10.

While living in Rio, Biggs began an affair with Raimunda de Castro, a nightclub dancer 18 years his junior, and the couple had a son, Michael, in 1974.

The birth of the boy meant that Biggs could no longer be extradited, as the parents of Brazilian citizens cannot be deported from the country.

Michael – who later became a well-known musician in his homeland – tried to dissuade his father from returning to Britain, and been one of his most outspoken supporters.

By contrast, his other two surviving sons, Farley and Chris, are said to have little contact with him, as they are angry at him for abandoning them and betraying their mother.

BBC show The Great Train Robbery to air on Wed 18 Dec

Reconstruction: A scene from a BBC drama on the Great Train Robbery which premieres tonightReconstruction: A scene from a BBC drama on the Great Train Robbery which premieres tonight

Cast: The gang of robbers as depicted in the BBC's drama, including Jack Gordon as Biggs, second rightCast: The gang of robbers as depicted in the BBC’s drama, including Jack Gordon as Biggs, second right

 

Gang: The programme's depiction of the thugs who orchestrated the carefully planned robberyGang: The programme’s depiction of the thugs who orchestrated the carefully planned robbery

Portrayal: Jack Gordon playing Biggs in the BBC television drama which will begin tonightPortrayal: Jack Gordon playing Biggs in the BBC television drama which will begin tonight

 

Biggs divorced Charmian even though she had flown to Rio to try and save their marriage, and in 2002 he married Raimunda in a prison chapel.

In July, just days before the 50th anniversary of the Great Train Robbery, Biggs insisted he was ‘proud’ of the crime that made him a household name.

‘If you want to ask me if I have any regrets about being one of the train robbers, my answer is no,’ he said via an alphabet board.

‘I will go further: I am proud to have been one of them. I was there that August night and that is what counts. I am one of the few witnesses – living or dead – to what was the crime of the century.’

The small-time crook who became one of the world’s most wanted men but crafted a ‘cheeky chappy’ persona to court public favour

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs’s place in the annals of crime owed more to his status as a notorious fugitive than his prowess as a villain.

His conviction for his part in the most celebrated robbery in the history of British crime and his subsequent escape and high-profile life in Rio de Janeiro brought him worldwide notoriety in which he seemed to revel.

But at the age of 71, and in failing health after three strokes, Biggs announced he was ending his 35-year exile.

He was penniless and needed vital medical treatment in Britain which he could not afford in Brazil.

Biggs holds his son Michael, aged six weeks, while the baby's mother, Raimunda Nascimento de Castro, fixes the infant's clothing

Biggs holds his son Michael, aged six weeks, while the baby’s mother, Raimunda Nascimento de Castro, fixes the infant’s clothing

Biggs, pictured with his son Michael in 1981, the same year the Great Train Robber was kidnapped in Rio by a gang of adventurersBiggs, pictured with his son Michael in 1981, the same year the Great Train Robber was kidnapped in Rio by a gang of adventurers

Ignoring protests from his family, including son Michael who begged him to reconsider, he sent an email to Scotland Yard informing them that he wanted to give himself up and needed a passport.

He struck a deal with The Sun newspaper which flew him back to Britain in May 2001 on an executive jet stocked with curry, Marmite and beer.

Explaining his reasons for turning himself in, Biggs said: ‘I am a sick man. My last wish is to walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter. I hope I live long enough to do that.’

But he was immediately arrested on his arrival in this country and found himself back in a dock later that day, a dribbling husk of the cocky cockney villain he had been last time he faced a judge.

Lambeth-born Ronald Arthur Biggs had been, essentially, a small-time crook who suddenly and unexpectedly found himself in the big league.

He was born on August 8, 1929, and his first court appearance came as a 15-year-old in January 1945 – for stealing pencils from Littlewoods.

In 1950, Biggs cut an absurd figure in the robbery of a bookie in Lambeth Road. His contribution was to ask the bookie’s wife for her handbag.

‘When she did not have one, Biggs picked up a vase as though to hit her,’ reads the court report of the case.

Nine convictions and 13 years later he was given the chance to play a bit part in a robbery on an altogether grander scale and, by accepting it, set himself on the path to a lifetime of infamy.

ARCHIVE: Royal Mail train Biggs held up in Great Train Robbery

 

 

Courting notoriety: Biggs pictured in Brazil in 1992, when he was one of the world's most wanted criminalsCourting notoriety: Biggs pictured in Brazil in 1992, when he was one of the world’s most wanted criminals

 

Ronnie Biggs, pictured in Brazil in 1992, spent 36 years on the run, during which time he would taunt the British police and boast about his notorietyRonnie Biggs, pictured in Brazil in 1992, spent 36 years on the run, during which time he would taunt the British police and boast about his notoriety

 

Biggs, pictured in Brazil in 1992, raised money during lean times in Rio by selling T-shirts of himself and entertaining Japanese tourists, posing in pictures with them for £25 a time
Ronnie Biggs, pictured in Brazil, in 1992, has died at the age of 84

Biggs, pictured in Brazil in 1992, raised money during lean times in Rio by selling T-shirts of himself and entertaining Japanese tourists, posing in pictures with them for £25 a time

 

He joined the gang which held up the Royal Mail night train from Glasgow to London on his 34th birthday, August 8, 1963, and stole £2.6million worth of banknotes.

Biggs’s role was to find a driver for the train, but the man he found was unable to control it properly.

The hold-up, at Sears Crossing in Buckinghamshire, was planned in minute detail and, initially at least, was a spectacular success.

‘One report said that since my time on the run I’ve had 2,500 girlfriends. I mean you got to realise, I’ve been on the run for more than 30 years, I have got to have had more than that.’

The gang shared out the proceeds at isolated Leatherslade Farm – Biggs taking around £148,000 – but thereafter things started to go badly wrong, with nearly all the gang members being rounded up by the police.

When the gang became aware that the police were hot on their scent, they quit the farm hurriedly, leaving tell-tale fingerprints.

It was then but a matter of time before most of the ringleaders were rounded up. Eleven of the robbers got jail sentences ranging from 14 to 30 years.

Sentenced to 30 years’ behind bars on April 15, 1964, Biggs was to serve just 15 months in prison.

On July 8, 1965, he made a daring escape from Wandsworth prison. While other prisoners created a diversion in the exercise yard, Biggs scaled a wall with a rope ladder and dropped onto a furniture van parked alongside.

After a brief stopover in Paris for £40,000 worth of plastic surgery to change his appearance, he travelled to Australia, entering the country on a false passport using an assumed name.

 

Return: Biggs being transported to court after he came back to Britain in 2001

Return: Biggs being transported to court after he came back to Britain in 2001

In the dock: Biggs pictured in court in 2001 after finally agreeing to return to BritainIn the dock: Biggs pictured in court in 2001 after finally agreeing to return to Britain

For several months he ran a boarding house in Adelaide, using the name Terry King, and in June 1966 his wife Charmian and two children joined him, also on false passports.

The family moved first to Perth and then to Melbourne, where Biggs took a job as a foreman carpenter at a local airport in the name of Cooke.

In 1968 came a breakthrough for his pursuers. Biggs had formed a business partnership with another fugitive from British justice. His partner was arrested and the trail began to hot up.

‘There’s a difference between criminals and crooks. Crooks steal. Criminals blow some guy’s brains out. I’m a crook.’

But a year later, a security slip allowed the elusive Biggs to slip the net yet again. A Melbourne newspaper published a story that the manhunt was being renewed in the city and the report was taken up by TV.

A day before police swooped on his home, Biggs had packed a suitcase and disappeared – without even taking the family.

Once again the trail went cold. Throughout 1970 and 1971, there were reports of sightings in Hong Kong, South Africa and Japan, but there were no firm leads as to Biggs’s precise whereabouts.

In fact, he was building a new life for himself in Brazil. In the sunshine city of Rio de Janeiro the fugitive, now calling himself Michael Haynes, carved out a new career as a jobbing carpenter.

Reunion: Biggs with Bruce Reynolds, said to be the mastermind of the robbery, at his 70th birthday partyReunion: Biggs with Bruce Reynolds, said to be the mastermind of the robbery, at his 70th birthday party

 

His peace was shattered on February 1, 1974, when he was tracked down in Rio by the Daily Express reporter Colin MacKenzie – and shortly afterwards by Detective Inspector Jack Slipper of Scotland Yard.

But the Yard’s efforts to get Biggs back to Britain were foiled by Brazilian law.

Biggs had got his Brazilian lover Raimunda de Castro pregnant, and, as the father of a Brazilian child, had won himself immunity from extradition.

‘It has been rumoured that I was the brains of the robbery, but that was totally incorrect. I’ve been described as the tea boy, which is also incorrect.’

Michael, his son, was later to find fame in Brazil as a pop star.

In March, 1981, Biggs was kidnapped in Rio by a gang of adventurers and smuggled to Barbados by boat. Their aim was to bring him back to Britain.

But the Barbados High Court decided the rules governing extradition to Britain had not been properly put before the island’s Parliament, and Biggs pulled off another Houdini-like escape, being allowed to return to Rio.

In 1978, Biggs made a record, No One is Innocent, with the Sex Pistols. During lean times in Rio, he also raised money by selling T-shirts of himself and entertaining Japanese tourists, posing in pictures with them for £25 a time.

He suffered his first stroke in 1998 and two more quickly followed, ending his days of beaches and parties, and starting the chain of events that led to his return to Britain and a life as prisoner 002731.

Old age: Biggs shown launching his memoirs in 2011, when he was afflicted with illness

Old age: Biggs shown launching his memoirs in 2011, when he was afflicted with illness

Frail: This picture released by Biggs's lawyers in 2009 shows how ill he was during his last few yearsFrail: This picture released by Biggs’s lawyers in 2009 shows how ill he was during his last few years

Barely a month back in his home country, a fourth stroke followed and Biggs was moved from prison to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich.

He was returned to the top-security Belmarsh Prison in south-east London after a week where he was fed through a drip as his health continued to decline.

In August, a few days after his 72nd birthday, he was rushed back to hospital for an emergency blood transfusion.

He was rushed to hospital again three months later after vomiting and passing blood.

On July 10, 2002 Biggs finally married his son Michael’s Brazilian mother Raimunda in a ceremony at Belmarsh jail. He was too ill to say his vows and held up a card which read ‘I do’.

Although permanently linked together by their participation in one of Britain’s most notorious crimes, Biggs and the surviving train robbers saw each other rarely in later years.

The Monopoly set played by the Great Train Robbers while lying low at Leatherslade FarmThe Monopoly set played by the Great Train Robbers while lying low at Leatherslade Farm

 

The robbers were rumoured to have used real cash stolen from the job to play the board game withThe robbers were rumoured to have used real cash stolen from the job to play the board game with

But the gang’s leader Bruce Reynolds did visit his old partner in crime in Belmarsh, and found that he could only communicate using a pointer and alphabet.He said: ‘By that time Ronnie had had three major strokes and he found it difficult to communicate. This guy was a very jovial character with a great sense of humour and a very strong guy physically and my heart was saddened by the condition he was in.’

‘I am no longer a criminal. I gave up that practice years ago.’

Appeals to have Biggs released met with deaf ears. In October 2003 an appeal against his sentence was thrown out by a High Court judge as ‘hopeless’ and ‘misconceived’.

Biggs was moved from Belmarsh to Norwich Prison in July 2007 to live on a unit for elderly inmates.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw refused him parole in 2009 and accused him of being ‘wholly unrepentant’ about his crimes.

But Biggs was old and severely ill, lying in a bed in Norwich Hospital with pneumonia, fractures of the hip, pelvis and spine.

After his four strokes he was unable to eat, speak or walk.

He was finally granted compassionate release from his prison sentence on August 6 2009, just two days before his 80th birthday.

Audacious thieves who shocked the nation: Where all of the Great Train Robbers ended up

Regarded as the mastermind of the Great Train Robbery, Bruce Reynolds died in February aged 81
Charles Wilson, the treasurer whose role was to give the robbers their cut of the haul

Bruce Reynolds (left): The crook regarded as the mastermind of the Great Train robbery died in February aged 81. A career criminal who enjoyed the high life and drove an Aston Martin, Reynolds was a notorious jewel thief and housebreaker who formed the 17-strong gang which held up the Royal Mail travelling post office in Buckinghamshire as it ran between Glasgow and London. After the robbery, using a series of aliases and a false passport, Reynolds went on the run in Mexico and Canada for five years with his wife and young son before returning to Britain when the cash ran out. Justice eventually caught up with him in Torquay in 1968 and he was sentenced to 25 years in jail. He was released on parole in 1978 and moved, penniless, into a tiny flat off London’s Edgware Road. In the 1980s he was jailed for three years for dealing amphetamines. He died earlier this year.

Charles Frederick (Charlie) Wilson (right): The treasurer whose role was to give the robbers their cut of the haul. He earned the nickname ‘the silent man’ after he was captured because he refused to say anything during his trial. Jailed for 30 years but escaped after four months. Was captured in Canada four years later and severed another ten years in jail. Moved to Spain in 1978 where he was shot and killed by a hitman on a bicycle in 1990.

Ronald 'Buster' Edwards fled to Mexico after the robbery but gave himself up in 1966
Chief getaway driver Roy James left a fingerprint at the gang's farm hideout and was caught following a rooftop chase

Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards (left): Fled to Mexico after the robbery but gave himself up in 1966. After nine years in jail he became a familiar figure selling flowers outside London Waterloo. Killed himself in 1994 at the age of 62. He was played by singer Phil Collins in the 1988 film Buster.

Roy James (right): The chief getaway driver left a fingerprint at the gang’s farm hideout and was caught following a rooftop chase. He moved to Spain after serving 12 years of a 30 year sentence. He was jailed again for six years in 1993 for shooting his wife’s father and hitting her with a pistol, and died soon after being released, at the age of 62.

Tommy Wisbey was there to frighten the train staff
Jimmy Hussey died last year after apparently making a deathbed confession claiming he was the gang member who coshed the train driver

Tommy Wisbey (left): One of the ‘heavies’ of the gang, Wisbey was there to frighten the train staff. Was jailed for 30 years and released in 1976 before being jailed for another ten years in 1989 for dealing cocaine. After being released he lived in north London, where he suffered a number of strokes. He is still alive.

Jimmy Hussey (right): ‘Big Jim’ died last year after apparently making a deathbed confession claiming he was the gang member who coshed the train driver. He was sentenced to 30 years for the robbery. After he was released in 1975 he eventually opened a restaurant in Soho after working on a market stall. He was convicted for assault in 1981. He was then jailed for seven years, eight years later, for a drug smuggling conspiracy, along with Wisbey. He died in November 2012, aged 79, from cancer.

Roger Cordrey was jailed for 20 years after being arrested in Bournemouth
Jimmy White, the 'quartermaster' for the robbery

Roger Cordrey (left): Was jailed for 20 years after being arrested in Bournemouth. He was caught after renting a lock-up from a policeman’s widow. His sentence was reduced to 14 years on appeal. The florist returned to the flower business after he was released in 1971 and moved to the West Country. He has now died.

Jimmy White (right): The ‘quartermaster’ for the robbery. The former Paratrooper was caught in Kent after being on the run for three years and was sentenced to 18 years. He moved to Sussex after being released in 1975. He has now died.

 

Douglas Gordon Goody (below): Was released in 1975 after being sentenced to 30 years in jail. After being released the hairdresser moved to Spain to run a bar, and he still lives there.

Douglas Gordon Goody was sentenced to 30 years in jail and was released in 1975Douglas Gordon Goody was sentenced to 30 years in jail and was released in 1975

 

Bobby Welch: Was also jailed for 30 years and released in 1976. The nightclub boss was left crippled after an operation on his leg went wrong. After being released from jail he became a gambler and a car dealer in London. He is still alive

Brian Field: The solicitor was used to make the arrangement to buy the farm hideout used after the robbery. Jailed for 25 years, which was later reduced to five. He later died in a motorway crash in 1979.

John Wheater: A solicitor who was sentenced to three years for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. He was released in 1966 and went to live in Surrey. Believed to be dead.

Bill Boal: An engineer who was arrested with Roger Cordrey in possession of £141,000. Reynolds said he had never heard of Boal. He claimed Boal was not involved in the robbery and was ‘an innocent man’. Boal was charged with receiving stolen goods and jailed for 24 years, which was reduced to 14 on appeal. He died of cancer in jail in 1970.

Leonard Field: A former merchant seaman, Field was sentenced to 25 years, which was later reduced to five. He was released from jail in 1967 and went to live in north London. Believed to be dead.

 

 

 

THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY 50TH ANNIVERSARY …. 8TH AUGUST 2013

5O YEARS ON ….. HERE’S A BIT MORE INTERACTIVE MATERIAL , AND VIDEO FOOTAGE ETC RELATING TO THIS NOW TIMELESS AND ICONIC GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY 133369598__01_437849c N0045611362061783055A train-robbers-2136249

Police investigation into the Great Train Robbery is commemorated on 50th anniversary of infamous crime

Detectives who investigated the Great Train Robbery were praised for solving the ‘crime of the century – 50 years after the infamous heist took place.

Eighteen retired Buckinghamshire Constabulary investigators and backroom staff were reunited at Eynsham Hall in Witney, Oxfordshire.

They received commendations on the eve of the £2.6 million robbery’s 50th anniversary from Thames Valley Police chief constable Sara Thornton.

Twelve of the robbers were jailed for a combined total of more than 300 years after they stopped the Glasgow to Euston overnight mail train, which was carrying huge numbers of used bank notes, as it passed through the Buckinghamshire countryside close to Cheddington on August 8 1963.

Praised: John Woolley (left) and Keith Milner who worked on the case of the Great Train Robbery at a ceremony where they received commendations from current Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton Praised: John Woolley (left) and Keith Milner who worked on the case of the Great Train Robbery at a ceremony where they received commendations from current Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton

 

Anniversary: A cake made to mark the 50th anniversary of the Great Train RobberyAnniversary: A cake made to mark the 50th anniversary of the Great Train Robbery

 

Well done: Keith Milner, who worked on the case of the Great Train Robbery, at a ceremony where he received a commendation from current Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton at Eynsham Hall, Witney, OxfordshireWell done: Keith Milner, who worked on the case of the Great Train Robbery, at a ceremony where he received a commendation from current Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton at Eynsham Hall, Witney, Oxfordshire

Evidence: A Monopoly board used by the robbers in their hideout and some notes stolen from the train were on show at last night's celebrationEvidence: A Monopoly board used by the robbers in their hideout and some notes stolen from the train were on show at last night’s celebration

Keith Milner, now 78, was the duty detective at Aylesbury on the night of the robbery.

Then aged 28, he was woken by a call at 5am letting him know there had been a burglary near Cheddington.

‘I said “what’s gone?” and they said “a train”,’ he explained last night.

 

 

‘An early call generally meant a long day and this was no exception. In those days we got dressed – suit, collar and tie – and off we went.’

After first collecting evidence on the railtrack, Mr Milner spent nine months attached to the investigation as the officer in charge of exhibits.

He was instrumental during the subsequent court case and worked shoulder to shoulder with Scotland Yard legends such as Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read, later responsible for bringing down the East End gangland empire ruled by the Kray twins.

Infamous: Detectives pictured at the scene near Cheddington following the most notorious heist of the 20th century, The Great Train RobberyInfamous: Detectives pictured at the scene near Cheddington following the most notorious heist of the 20th century, The Great Train Robbery

Manhunt: Police Superintendent Malcom Fewtrell of Buckinghamshire Constabulary C.I.D. is pictured (left) with Detective Gerald McArthur (right) of Scotland Yard investigating the mail train robberyManhunt: Police Superintendent Malcom Fewtrell of Buckinghamshire Constabulary C.I.D. is pictured (left) with Detective Gerald McArthur (right) of Scotland Yard investigating the mail train robbery

 

Looking for clues: Investigators are pictured examining the train after the robbery 50 years agoLooking for clues: Investigators are pictured examining the train after the robbery 50 years ago

 

Investigation: Police offfered a £10,000 reward for information on the robbery. Their investigation eventually saw 12 gang members jailed for a combined total of more than 300 yearsInvestigation: Police offfered a £10,000 reward for information on the robbery. Their investigation eventually saw 12 gang members jailed for a combined total of more than 300 years

Closing in: Detective Superintendent Gerald McArthur is pictured searching for clues in the grounds of the suspects' hideoutClosing in: Detective Superintendent Gerald McArthur is pictured searching for clues in the grounds of the suspects’ hideout

John Woolley was a 25-year-old PC who had been on the job for four years when he discovered Leatherslade Farm, the abandoned hideout the men had used after committing their crime.

Now 75, he explained how he was sent to the property to investigate ‘suspicious comings and goings’ after police received a tip off.

Among items officers found at the scene was a Monopoly set which the robbers had used to kill time, playing with real £5 notes taken from their loot.

The original board game was on display last night at the commendation ceremony after it was discovered by TV’s Antiques Roadshow.

‘I just happened to be at that place at that time,’ Mr Woolley said at the ceremony.

‘What I did any of my colleagues could and would have done and perhaps done better.’

Asked about robber Ronnie Biggs, the former policeman said: ‘He is perhaps one of the robbers who got some enjoyment, some satisfaction, out of his share of the loot.

‘He did, for a while, live the high life in Brazil, no doubt about that.

 

How the scene of the infamous Great Train Robbery looks today

Success: The investigation led to 12 of the robbers being caught and jailed for their role in the crime. Here three of the suspects are pictured being led away from Linslade Court with blankets over their headsSuccess: The investigation led to 12 of the robbers being caught and jailed for their role in the crime. Here three of the suspects are pictured being led away from Linslade Court with blankets over their heads

 

Clues: Police officers look pleased with themselves as they load evidence from the gang's hideaway into police carsClues: Police officers look pleased with themselves as they load evidence from the gang’s hideaway into police cars

 

Breakthrough: Police stand guard outside Leatherslade Farm at Oakley in Buckinghamshire, used as a hide-out by the Great Train RobbersBreakthrough: Police stand guard outside Leatherslade Farm at Oakley in Buckinghamshire, used as a hide-out by the Great Train Robbers

 

Wanted: Police issued mugshots of the men wanted in connection with the robbery in the weeks that followed including this one of Buster Edwards and his wife JuneWanted: Police issued mugshots of the men wanted in connection with the robbery in the weeks that followed including this one of Buster Edwards and his wife June

Hunted: Mugshots of Bruce Reynolds (left) and Roy James (right) were also issued by detectives in the aftermath of the £2.6 million robberyHunted: Mugshots of Bruce Reynolds (left) and Roy James (right) were also issued by detectives in the aftermath of the £2.6 million robbery

‘But he was finally arrested, he is now a very sick man and I’m surprised that he is making all these comments after we have been told time and time again that he is hardly able to speak.

‘Good luck to him, but he is a sick man.

‘Me? I’m still surviving, I shall be going home tonight to my home to my supper – he won’t.’

Mr Woolley also said he had been saddened to learn of Reynolds’ death and recalled how the criminal mastermind had even sent him a Christmas card one year.

Chief Constable Thornton said: ‘The coverage in the newspapers and the discussion is always about the offenders in this notorious crime.

‘I wanted to balance that by thanking the police officers and police staff who played a very important role in making sure that those men were brought to justice 50 years ago.’

Scene guard: Police officers are pictured at Leatherslade Farm hideout shortly after it was discovered by officersScene guard: Police officers are pictured at Leatherslade Farm hideout shortly after it was discovered by officers

 

Evidence: Items seized from Leatherslade Farm, including a Monopoly set used by the gang, are picturedEvidence: Items seized from Leatherslade Farm, including a Monopoly set used by the gang, are pictured

 

Hiding place: Police eventually found £35,000 stashed in the walls of a caravan owned by Great Train Robber James WhiteHiding place: Police eventually found £35,000 stashed in the walls of a caravan owned by Great Train Robber James White

Train driver Jack Mills rests at home after the robbery

No regrets: Ronnie Biggs, whose Interpol notice is pictured (left) said recently that his only regret in connection with the robbery is that train driver Jack Mills (right) and the families of those involved suffered

Two of the robbers, Charlie Wilson and most famously Biggs, escaped jail, with Biggs spending more than 30 years on the run after returning to Britain in 2001 to face arrest.

He was eventually freed in 2009 on ‘compassionate grounds’ by then Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

The mastermind behind the gang, Bruce Reynolds fled to Mexico and later Canada following the crime but returned to the UK and was jailed for 25 years in 1968.

He served 10 years before his release and died back in February.

Two police officers who were involved in the investigation will attend tonight’s event alongside serving Thames Valley Police officers at Eynsham Hall in Witney, Oxfordshire.

Keith Milner was a detective at Aylesbury at the time of the robbery, while John Woolley was a PC and discovered Leatherslade Farm, where the men hid after committing the crime.

Memories: Retired Chief inspector John Wolley is pictured sharing a laugh with Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the crime on the 40th anniversary of the heist ten years ago Memories: Retired Chief inspector John Wolley is pictured sharing a laugh with Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the crime on the 40th anniversary of the heist ten years ago

Mastermind: Bruce Reynolds at Oakley Village Hall, Buckinghamshire, during a village fete on the 40th anniversary of the robberyMastermind: Bruce Reynolds at Oakley Village Hall, Buckinghamshire, during a village fete on the 40th anniversary of the robbery

Last month Biggs insisted he was proud to have been part of the gang.

He is currently being cared for in a north London nursing home and said he has few regrets about the crime that made him a household name.

Biggs, who cannot speak and communicates through a spelling board, said: ‘If you want to ask me if I have any regrets about being one of the train robbers, my answer is, “No!”.

‘I will go further: I am proud to have been one of them. I am equally happy to be described as the “tea-boy” or “The Brain”.

‘I was there that August night and that is what counts. I am one of the few witnesses – living or dead – to what was The Crime of the Century.’

But although he is proud to have been involved in the headline-grabbing crime, he admitted he does have some regrets.

Half a century on: The scene of the Great Train Robbery near Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, todayHalf a century on: The scene of the Great Train Robbery near Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, today

 

‘It is regrettable, as I have said many times, that the train driver was injured,’ he said. ‘And he was not the only victim.

‘The people who paid the heaviest price for the Great Train Robbery are the families. The families of everyone involved in the Great Train Robbery, and from both sides of the track.

‘All have paid a price for our collective involvement in the robbery. A very heavy price, in the case of my family.

‘For that, I do have my regrets.’

A new book has been published to mark the 50th anniversary – The Great Train Robbery – 50th Anniversary – 1963-2103, and is said to explain first-hand the complete story of the robbery.

Both Biggs and Reynolds, who died in February, contributed to the book, which has been written by Reynolds’ son Nick, along with Biggs’ autobiographer Chris Pickard.

Mr Reynolds and Mr Pickard said the book was an aim at ‘setting the record straight’, and putting right any inaccuracies in a tale that has become folklore.