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The Great Train Robbery's missing mastermind?





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#1 steveb860

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 15:32

To be shown on Channel 4 tomorrow 9 Jan at 8pm. An investigation into whether an insider within the Post office organised the heist. I know the robbery has been done before, and is a subjective issue, but may be worth viewing.
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#2 The Nth Degree

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 23:34

Excellent documentary

#3 PhilJ W

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 23:42

I'd like to know where those 1960's street scenes came from? They used clips from the 1967 film based on the GTR 'Robbery' but I don't recall them as being part of the film. The street scenes are no earlier than 1966/67 as I spotted a couple of 'E' registrations.

#4 Michael Delamar

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:22

they look like unused back projection shots for the film

#5 PhilJ W

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:36

Could well be, but it seems hardly necessary to blank out the registrations of the cars. I also spotted an early Transit van so definitely post 1966.

#6 Debs.

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:55

It was interesting, and I must confess to being rather surprised at the contemporaneous sympathy expressed for the robbery in the vox-pop comments: "good luck to them" (as one rather dapper chap noted!) :O

I wonder if he`d have felt the same way, had the 'victim' been his grandmother; assaulted and robbed of her life`s savings.

It`s all a long time ago; and Lord-knows, there have been far greater horrors since.........but Fleet St. (and bandwagon-riding politicians) love a good tale. :rolleyes:

#7 chrisf

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:35

I was a little disappointed that the identity of the Post Office insider was not revealed but did not seriously expect a revelation.

The programme showed, as I thought I had remembered correctly, that the regular TPO vans were out oif service that weekend and older substitutes deployed but I had forgotten that they were parked in the old Aylesbury branch platform at Cheddington after the robbery.

My giuess about the London street scenes would be something from the BTF archive.

Chris

#8 Coldgunner

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:36

I've not watched this yet, but by all accounts it was a particularly nasty robbery. The driver (I think) was beaten half to death and suffered serious brain damage as a result. The train robbers are often portrayed as modern day Robin Hoods, but the reality is is that they were a nasty bunch of criminals who deserved long sentences.
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#9 Fat Controller

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:05

I was only a small boy at the time, but remember there being a lot of, otherwise respectable, adults coming up with variations on the the 'Good luck to them' spiel. Many of these same would cheerfully recommend bringing back the birch and National Service for littering, having long hair, or yawning during endless repetitions of 'we all pulled together during the War'.
Part of this may be to do with the influence of a lot of British films at the time, both serious and comedy, which portrayed heroic British (to be honest, almost always Cockney..) 'working-class' rogues against a faceless 'Establishment'. Such plots would almost always involve a lapsed member of the middle classes as the 'brains', as the rogues weren't deemed to be bright enough to plan anything.

Edited by Fat Controller, 10 January 2012 - 12:06 .

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#10 Rugd1022

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:22

I've not watched this yet, but by all accounts it was a particularly nasty robbery. The driver (I think) was beaten half to death and suffered serious brain damage as a result. The train robbers are often portrayed as modern day Robin Hoods, but the reality is is that they were a nasty bunch of criminals who deserved long sentences.


Driver Jack Mills was not beaten half to death and certainly did not receive any brain damage. He was coshed four times... that's not to say I condone what the gang members did (far from it) but please let's not exagerate and stick to the facts. Driver Mills died in 1970 from an illness that was not related to the injuries he suffered in the early hours of 8th August 1963, but it does have to be said he was not the same man after the attack. Last year I was working with a Railgrinder Driver who went to school with Jack Mills' grandson who told me the facts of his injuries and his death seven years later.

As for the documentary... I thought it was very well made, especially compared to the usual fare we get where Ronnie Biggs is often at the centre of the story. I believe the colour footage taken around the London streets might have come from a 'reconstruction' film that was made on behalf of the Police whilst the case was being made against Bruce Reynolds (he was one of the last gang mambers to be caught). The colour footage of him being taken away from Aylsebury Assizes in 1968 in the S-Type Jag was interesting if a little brief. The black and white night time footage of various vehicles being driven away from Bridego Bridge is also from the 'reconstruction film', stills of which are available in the Getty Archive. Aslo intersting to see that Letherslade Farm has changed very little since 1963.

Edited by Rugd1022, 10 January 2012 - 12:24 .

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#11 Coldgunner

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:35


Driver Jack Mills was not beaten half to death and certainly did not receive any brain damage. He was coshed four times... that's not to say I condone what the gang members did (far from it) but please let's not exagerate and stick to the facts. Driver Mills died in 1970 from an illness that was not related to the injuries he suffered in the early hours of 8th August 1963, but it does have to be said he was not the same man after the attack. Last year I was working with a Railgrinder Driver who went to school with Jack Mills' grandson who told me the facts of his injuries and his death seven years later.

Just watching the documentary now and yes, I was mistaken about the injuries received by the driver as I was always led to believe that he was seriously injured. That said, he still didn't deserve the treatment he did get and this is a perfect example of the nasty side of this kind of 'job'. Its interesting to read about the Class 40 involved, being a bit of a jinxed locomotive on its own. BR cut it up early, apparently to stop trophy hunters.
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#12 Debs.

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:39

Its interesting to read about the Class 40 involved, being a bit of a jinxed locomotive on its own. BR cut it up early, apparently to stop trophy hunters.


Had it survived, it might have subsequently been named:

"Whistler`s Mugger" :mosking:

#13 Rugd1022

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:56

Just watching the documentary now and yes, I was mistaken about the injuries received by the driver as I was always led to believe that he was seriously injured. That said, he still didn't deserve the treatment he did get and this is a perfect example of the nasty side of this kind of 'job'. Its interesting to read about the Class 40 involved, being a bit of a jinxed locomotive on its own. BR cut it up early, apparently to stop trophy hunters.


Don't get me wrong Coldrunner, it's just that I've heard so much codswallop reeled out about the robbery over the years that some of the facts become lost in a haze of urban myth. Mills was certainly left in a very bad way, of that there is no doubt. They were a viscous gang it's true, and it's often put about that all fifteen of them were nothing more than petty criminals who got lucky by landing such a big job at the time, but Reynolds and his very close associates had pulled off an exceptionally well planned robbery at Heathrow Airport in 1962. Other members of the train robbery gang however were not so clever, despite their attempts at knobbling the prosecutions evidence against them in 1964.

A mate over on The Sweeney Forum has just texted me saying the programme will be shown again on Channel 4OD in the next few weeks.

#14 Coldgunner

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:59

yup, I just watched it on 4od for PS3. 4od is also on Youtube too btw.



The film 'Buster' is pretty good and well worth a watch, starring Phil Collins as Buster.

#15 jamie92208

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 13:28

As well as the Class 40 being cut up early the TPO was burned to stop souvenier hunters. I remember watching the burning on the TV News.

Jamie

#16 Removed a/c_Max Stafford

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 13:45

One of the more incredible rumours about the shadowy 'Mr Big' behind the job suggested that former SS Special Ops man Otto Skorzeny was involved with the organisation of the job.
I doubt it myself, but it would add a bit of an edge to the tale.

Dave.

#17 the penguin of doom

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 13:56

I have read a book about the robbery a few years ago now and that too mentioned the "ulsterman". Shame the storys not been got to the bottom of though.....

I actually went to a talk by one of the gang, (the one in the documentary last night - his name escapes me). I had a bit of a fight with my concious before going, as I don't really feel he, (or they), should be glorified, but interest got the better of me. I have to say the continued lack of remorse, (both at the talk and on the program), is contemptious but not suprising.

Much like Titanic, the story continues to generate interest with the public, myself included.

Cheers.

Sean.

#18 Coldgunner

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 14:08

I can see why you would be uncomfortable, did anyone challenge his opinion at the talk? Never heard of the Otto Skorzeny rumour myself, is there anything online to relate him to the robbery?

#19 Michael Delamar

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 14:32

Could well be, but it seems hardly necessary to blank out the registrations of the cars. I also spotted an early Transit van so definitely post 1966.

definatley unused footage from Robbery, look at 4mins 45. interior shot of the actor in the same car with gloves on.

would have been shot for the first 15 minutes or so of the film

i dont think the reg plates have been blanked out, just that there is a few cars without front number plates on

#20 TheSignalEngineer

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 14:39

Haven't watched the documentary yet, but besides the GPO insiders it was alledged at the time that there was one or more railway insider involved. The gang had to be able to stop the train and have time to get the bags off without suspicion being aroused until it had been an unusually long time in section. I was told in the 1960s that suspicion was also thrown on staff working on the modernisation of the line, but nothing came of this as far as I am aware.

#21 Removed a/c_Max Stafford

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 14:53

I can see why you would be uncomfortable, did anyone challenge his opinion at the talk? Never heard of the Otto Skorzeny rumour myself, is there anything online to relate him to the robbery?


Piers Paul Read suggests in The Train Robbers, that Skorzeny bankrolled the operation to the tune of £80,000. I'm not convinced it's true but it does add an interesting slant to this most infamous of 'blags'.

Dave.

#22 Michael Delamar

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 15:09

regards mail coaches. loads of questions sorry...

i know its been asked before, but could someone remind me the vehicles used, what types and numbers.

also the types that where intended to be used.

and the ones used for the filming of robbery.

and a final request, availability of kits/rtr for any of them.

#23 Rugd1022

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 15:38

regards mail coaches. loads of questions sorry...

i know its been asked before, but could someone remind me the vehicles used, what types and numbers.

also the types that where intended to be used.

and the ones used for the filming of robbery.

and a final request, availability of kits/rtr for any of them.


Regarding the coaches used in 'Robbery', the first vehicle behind D318 was a standard BR maroon BG, the second was an ex-LMS Royal Mail Sorting Vehicle, the remainder being more ex-LMS types.... some of which can be seen quite clearly in the sequence shot at Marylebone ;)

Also... the colour footage was not filmed for Robbery, this was all completed by April of '67 and as there are F reg cars in that footage it must have been shot after 1st August...!

Edited by Rugd1022, 10 January 2012 - 15:47 .


#24 Debs.

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 15:39

regards mail coaches. loads of questions sorry...

i know its been asked before, but could someone remind me the vehicles used, what types and numbers.

also the types that where intended to be used.

and the ones used for the filming of robbery.

and a final request, availability of kits/rtr for any of them.


.....are you going to run a 'blagger`s special' ? :smile_mini2:

#25 steveb860

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 15:41


i dont think the reg plates have been blanked out, just that there is a few cars without front number plates on


A few missing headlights too. I wonder if they used scrapped vehicles in these shots. Didn't spot a single J4 anywhere either







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