The UK’s The Great Train Robbery
On the night of August 8, 1963, a 15-member gang led by Bruce Reynolds targeted a Royal Mail train traveling from Glasgow to London. The train was carrying large quantities of cash, mainly in small denominations, intended for banks and post offices in the south of England. The robbery took place near Bridego Railway Bridge in Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, England.
The gang tampered with the railway signals, causing the train to stop. They then attacked the train’s driver, Jack Mills, and uncoupled the locomotive and the first two carriages from the rest of the train. The thieves loaded the stolen money into their vehicles and fled to a nearby farmhouse, which they used as a hideout.
The investigation that followed the robbery was one of the largest in British history. Several of the robbers were soon arrested, and by the end of 1963, 12 of the 15 gang members had been convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. However, two key figures, Ronnie Biggs and Charles Wilson, managed to escape from prison and went on the run for many years. Biggs, in particular, gained notoriety for his life on the run and was eventually arrested in Brazil in 1974. He later voluntarily returned to the UK in 2001 and was imprisoned until he was released on compassionate grounds in 2009.
The Great Train Robbery captivated the public’s imagination and inspired numerous books, films, and television programs, making it one of the most infamous heists in British history.