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The Great Train Robbery...


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#1 MCS

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 21:46

I'm still relatively new to TNF.

Maybe something has been posted before......in which case, I apologise.

But who was really involved and where did the money really go...?

Let's hear the rumours, let's hear the stories!!!

MCS

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#2 petefenelon

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 23:42

Originally posted by MCS
I'm still relatively new to TNF.

Maybe something has been posted before......in which case, I apologise.

But who was really involved and where did the money really go...?

Let's hear the rumours, let's hear the stories!!!

MCS


Roy James went down for his part in it, and came back to racing in the mid/late 70s.

I've heard rumours about at least two other drivers being involved - but one of them is dead and not here to defend himself and as far as I know the other is alive and well and has never been charged with anything so let's leave it that way ;) Both reached F1, although one of them only to non-championship level as far as I know.


Some scurrilous rumours have suggested that a short gentleman supplied either the getaway cars and/or the brains, but they seem to have been dispelled quite comfortably by Terry Lovell. And I didn't name names.;)

#3 Gary Davies

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 04:53

Vanwall was but a slip of a lad at the time, living in south Bucks and the family was in the habit of going for a Sunday afternoon drive in the summer months, normally heading towards the Thames and a riverside pub.

But for several weeks in the summer of 1963 the family Morris 1100 was pointed in a northerly direction, on quiet country roads. My father encouraged us to peer carefully into the woods we passed by, looking out for discarded maibags. Seemingly, most of the citizenry of Bucks, Berks and Beds were finding the woods around Leatherslade Farm similarly fascinating. Alas .... :lol: :lol: :lol:

#4 David Beard

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 09:18

I grew up about 3 miles from Leatherslade farm: in fact my grandmother used to spend her summer holidays there with the resident family, as a child. On the morning after the robbery I cycled down there with my chums to find cars from Fleet Street parked on the adjacent grass verges for half a mile or so.

My mother claimed to have seen a character that reminded her of Mike Hawthorn cruising mysteriously around the area a few weeks before, in a Jag.

The village of Oakley (1 mile from Leatherslade) has just had some sort of Great Train Robbery Fete, with a memorabilia sale. (old mail bags?) Bruce Reynolds was the guest of honour..dubious taste? Apparently he was on the local radio a few days ago claiming he was Mr Big. (he is certainly bigger than the more popular suspect....)

#5 petefenelon

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 14:46

Originally posted by David Beard
The village of Oakley (1 mile from Leatherslade) has just had some sort of Great Train Robbery Fete, with a memorabilia sale. (old mail bags?) Bruce Reynolds was the guest of honour..dubious taste? Apparently he was on the local radio a few days ago claiming he was Mr Big. (he is certainly bigger than the more popular suspect....)


Dubious taste? Yes. Remember, Jack Mills (the train driver) was beaten severely about the head and never returned to work or fully recovered from his injuries... 'Celebrating' the kind of people who do that to someone is, to me, in very poor taste.

#6 Macca

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 11:01

A rumour I once heard about someone mentioned above was that, rather than sell the getaway cars, he actually devised and sold the plans for robberies, having done all the necessary research beforehand, but could not be linked and took no part.

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#7 dmj

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 11:07

Said gentleman certainly has appearance of someone who should play a brain behind the robbery in some English gangster movie... Being those rumors true or not, he, like proverbial US mobsters, certainly understood there is much healthier and more profitable way of robbing people, called big business. And it is perfectly legal... officially, at least.

#8 DOHC

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 11:57

Wasn't it F1 Racing who asked Bernie point blank if he took part in the robbery? His answer was:

"No, why would I rob a train with only £ 25 million in it?" :lol:

#9 petefenelon

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:39

[QUOTE]Originally posted by dmj
Said gentleman certainly has appearance of someone who should play a brain behind the robbery in some English gangster movie... Being those rumors true or not, he, like proverbial US mobsters, certainly understood there is much healthier and more profitable way of robbing people, called big business. And it is perfectly legal... officially, at least. [/QUOTE

You know, it would be marvellous if Tony Soprano started backing a racing team.... IRL, for choice...;)

#10 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 09:47

I read a book on The GTR some years ago. It stated that one chap was driving a truck from the scene to the hide away place. He was a F3 pilot at the time and called a talent by no other than Sir Black Jack. But whats his name???

#11 jph

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 11:04

Guess that must have been Roy James. Seem to recall that on the day he was arrested, his racecar was in the Goodwood paddock, but he wasn't. He was a silversmith by trade, and I think he crafted a trophy while he was still serving time, for a race or championship at Brands Hatch - but the memory is hazy, so it may not have been Brands, may have been after he was released or whatever!

#12 Peter Morley

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 17:46

Originally posted by DOHC
Wasn't it F1 Racing who asked Bernie point blank if he took part in the robbery? His answer was:

"No, why would I rob a train with only £ 25 million in it?" :lol:


I doubt anyone would accuse Bernie of getting his hands dirty - the story goes that he was the brains behind it (e.g. keep well away in the best officer's tradition).

In those days Bernie didn't trouble the 'rich list' too much so a few million share of the profits would have been equivalent to a few billion these days.

Part of the 'evidence' used to support the rumours was that several drivers suddenly showed new found wealth shortly after - e.g, they had smart new road cars etc.

Of course it is unlikely that Bernie would have been interested in such a get rich quick scheme, much preferring to work hard and build up his wealth slowly!

#13 Evo One

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 19:04

I heard a story recently that linked the aforesaid short gentleman with nicking mailbags of old used banknotes scheduled for return to the Royal MInt for burning off Brighton station - I'm quite sure it wasn't true ;)

#14 Geoff E

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 19:15

Originally posted by DOHC
"why would I rob a train with only £ 25 million in it?"


I don't know how much the train was carrying, but the sum stolen was about a tenth of that figure.

#15 ensign14

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 19:19

Originally posted by Geoff E


I don't know how much the train was carrying, but the sum stolen was about a tenth of that figure.

Oh oh, busted...

#16 MCS

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Posted 07 September 2003 - 20:07

So....................still no answers (or even theories) then.........................?

Come on !!!

(I'm not a policeman, nor do I know one!)

MCS

#17 Ted Walker

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 07:26

Perhaps at next years Goodwood Revival they should re create the police arriving in force to arrest Roy James who was entered in his Brabham BT6 a few days after the robbery ,only to find he had been "tipped off " by fellow competitors, and left the circuit at high speed.

#18 Cirrus

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 17:58

Sometimes a simple race result sheet can say so much!

18th August 1963

http://user.tninet.s...w/FJ63_GB47.htm

24th August 1963.....

http://user.tninet.s...w/FJ63_GB49.htm

#19 Ruairidh

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 22:30

Origin ally posted by Cirrus
Sometimes a simple race result sheet can say so much!

18th August 1963

http://user.tninet.s...w/FJ63_GB47.htm

24th August 1963.....

http://user.tninet.s...w/FJ63_GB49.htm


:rotfl: :rotfl:

......and I'm really enjoying this thread - even the thought of F1's Napolean being the brain behind the Train Robbery brings a smile to my face.

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#20 mark f1

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 07:06

Australian news.com.au running a story from 'The Independent' today about Bernie denying any part in the heist.

He does say though that Roy James made the trophy that goes to the Promoters!!


Full story below...


Bernie denies train heist role
From correspondents in London
April 26, 2005

FORMULA One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has scoffed at rumours he was the brains behind the 1963 Great Train Robbery in England.


Wasn't me ... Ecclestone. Pic: Reuters

But he does admit, in The Independent newspaper, a link - though not in the criinal sense - to the heist which yielded £l2.5 million.

"There wasn't enough money on that train," he said.

"I could have done something better than that.

"No, that rumour came from the fact Roy James, the guy who drove the getaway car (he received a 30-year jail sentence), had been a racing driver.

"That's why they wanted him in the getaway car.

"Anyway, Roy was very friendly with Graham Hill, and when he came out of prison, he asked me for a job.

"I owned Brabham at the time, but I wasn't going to let him drive for me.

"Instead, I gave him a trophy to make; he'd also been a silversmith and a goldsmith.

That's still the trophy we give to the promoters each year. He made it. The recipients don't realise that."

Agence France-Presse


#21 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 12:24

Had anyone at France-Presse, The Independent or news.com.au bothered to read Terry Lovell's book "Bernie's Game", they'd have found the same denial on pp 42-3. :rolleyes:

He's been scoffing at the "constantly recycled newspaper rumour" for many years ....

#22 Mallory Dan

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 14:08

The locomotive involved was apparently a jinxed one, and was involved in various other accidents/incidents (at least one fatal IIRC) during its 23 year life on BR.

#23 MCS

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 16:44

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Had anyone at France-Presse, The Independent or news.com.au bothered to read Terry Lovell's book "Bernie's Game", they'd have found the same denial on pp 42-3. :rolleyes:

He's been scoffing at the "constantly recycled newspaper rumour" for many years ....


Indeed. I can also recall a taped interview with BE in the late seventies where his story was exactly the same and totally convincing, I might add.

So who was the one who got away? Or were there two??

And who were the ones offered money to hide the robbers and which ones actually did hide them and take the money???

#24 petefenelon

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 17:31

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
The locomotive involved was apparently a jinxed one, and was involved in various other accidents/incidents (at least one fatal IIRC) during its 23 year life on BR.


D326, later 40126. Most locos of that age will have been involved in several "incidents"...

Possibly the most unfortunate locomotive on the rails today is GNER's 91023 which was in both the Hatfield and Great Heck accidents. After Great Heck it was immediately rebuilt as part of the class 91 upgrade programme, but whereas all the other reworked 910xx locos emerged the as corresponding 911xx, 91023 emerged as the out-of-sequence 91132 City of Durham. There are only 31 class 91 locos, so it rather sticks out...

There's a very odd story of how and why 47216 became 47299.

#25 Mallory Dan

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 19:29

Pete, I was aware of '126' and Duff216, but I thought these matters a little too anoracky even for TNF !! The story of 91023 though I didn't know.

#26 Geoff E

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 23:22

Originally posted by petefenelon


There's a very odd story of how and why 47216 became 47299.


I hadn't heard about it, but it's here:

http://www.angelfire...ette/47299.html

#27 mark f1

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 02:08

TNF continues to astound me..... :clap:

#28 Simpson RX1

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 20:53

Interesting though it may be, isn't this thread just a tad dangerous?

As far as I can gather, so far we have managed to accuse an inordinately wealthy and influential individual, by name, as a key force behind one of the most infamous crimes in UK history, despite his many and strenuous denials of any involvement.

Whilst I'm sure he can't deny being a part of one of the most dodgy industries of the time (namely trading in used vehicles), as far as I'm aware this gentleman was never questioned as to his part in the robbery, nor were any charges made or convictions gained.

This forum is generally reckoned to be one of the best and most subscribed to on it's specialist subject, so I have no doubt that this thread will have been brought to his attention, if only in the most light hearted fashion............I can only hope that he treats it in the same manner, if he decides not to, he has both the power and the money to close us down for good.............

#29 ensign14

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 21:18

Don't think so, no-one has alleged anyone other than Roy James and Bruce Reynolds was involved. Unless you're talking about the Steam Trains Society moving in for wanton displacement of engine or something.

#30 Simpson RX1

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 21:25

Take the posts in their entirety, no court would be in any doubt.

I'm not a lawyer (my sister is a barrister if that makes a difference), but I did spend 15 years in the motor trade, so I needed to know my consumer law, plus I've been 20 odd years in broadcasting, so I need a pretty good knowledge of the laws of slander and liable.................this thread screams "Bernie Ecclestone masterminded The Great Train Robbery" (allegedly, although that's not foolproof getout), so is it time to stop?

#31 ensign14

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 22:10

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
Take the posts in their entirety, no court would be in any doubt.

I'm not a lawyer (my sister is a barrister if that makes a difference)

I am. One of my specialisms: defamation. :p

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
but I did spend 15 years in the motor trade, so I needed to know my consumer law, plus I've been 20 odd years in broadcasting, so I need a pretty good knowledge of the laws of slander and liable.................this thread screams "Bernie Ecclestone masterminded The Great Train Robbery" (allegedly, although that's not foolproof getout), so is it time to stop?

No-one is alleging Bernie Ecclestone masterminded the GTR - except, ironically, yourself! There is an explicit denial or 2, plus rumours explicitly stated to be untrue and comments on the reports of those rumours.

But forget the court bit - for this sort of thing it would be down to a jury. And a jury would not find in favour of a Claimant on this thread.

Incidentally, I had heard that BE's wealth came from buying land dirt cheap around Heathrow Airport which was going for a song as no-one thought at the time that anyone would want land by noisy planes. Bernie, with his eye for a deal, cottoned on that air freight at the very least would be big business and companies would want to move close to the airport. Dunno if this is true, don't remember it in Lovell's book, but interesting idea nonetheless.

#32 Ruairidh

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 22:17

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
I need a pretty good knowledge of the laws of slander and liable.................


....or even "libel";) ....... I'm also a lawyer and don't think Haymarket or any poster so far need get worried.

I do find Bernie's stock reaction interesting though both 'cos of its consistency and the fact it comes across as a tad short of a direct reponse - see latest reported incarnation:

- http://sport.indepen...sp?story=632738

#33 Twin Window

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 23:14

Still OT, when Roy James came out of nick he went straight back to his mates in racing and sorted himself a test at Silverstone in Peter Wardle's F Atlantic Surtees.

Bearing in mind that racing car developement had moved on somewhat since his incarceration, it came as no surprise to hear that he'd 'tripped up' during said test.

Purely from memory, he lost it at Abbey and broke at least one ankle and/or leg, and was out of action for quite a while...

Regarding Brush Type 4 (sorry, Class 47) #47299, I have a few pics of her myself. I only wish that a) I could find them, and then b) could scan them, as they'll be buried deep in the loft and my lappie isn't hooked up to either my scanner or my printer! :rolleyes:

PS Nobody has yet referred to D326/40126 as a 'Whistler'!

Oh, and there's also a rather spooky fact regarding the fate of the [rearmost] stock comprising the ill-fated Class 43 (InterCity 125) set which collided with an ARC freight train near Southall in 1997.

Did anyone else hear that one? Pete, perhaps...?

#34 MCS

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 13:43

Originally posted by Twin Window
Still OT, when Roy James came out of nick he went straight back to his mates in racing and sorted himself a test at Silverstone in Peter Wardle's F Atlantic Surtees.

Bearing in mind that racing car developement had moved on somewhat since his incarceration, it came as no surprise to hear that he'd 'tripped up' during said test.

Purely from memory, he lost it at Abbey and broke at least one ankle and/or leg, and was out of action for quite a while...


Twinny - He crashed the Ted Wentz FAtlantic Lola T360 - which prompted Wentz to finish the season in the works development car...

Mark

#35 petefenelon

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 13:59

I saw Roy James racing only once, after his return to "polite" society. He was up at Aintree, and received a sound b*ll*cking from my dad for suggesting, as we were wandering past his Roy's car in the paddock, that it'd be a Very Bad Thing indeed if he broke down on the Railway Straight.... (which backed onto the disused Cheshire Lines, nowt to rob anyway apart from the derelict signal works ;))

#36 MCS

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 14:21

Yes, I remember that meeting.

He was racing his Motor Racing Stables-backed FF Royale RP21 wasn't he?

#37 ian senior

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 14:35

Originally posted by MCS
Yes, I remember that meeting.

He was racing his Motor Racing Stables-backed FF Royale RP21 wasn't he?


And how did he get on? Was he robbed of victory? Was it part of a train of events that led(burn) to better things?

#38 petefenelon

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 15:01

Originally posted by MCS
Yes, I remember that meeting.

He was racing his Motor Racing Stables-backed FF Royale RP21 wasn't he?


It was certainly FFord, not Atlantic - couldn't be more precise than that at this historic distance ;)

#39 MCS

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 15:31

I remembered it because it was unusual for a car to be backed by Motor Racing Stables...

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#40 Mallory Dan

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 10:23

Originally posted by Twin Window
Still OT, when Roy James came out of nick he went straight back to his mates in racing and sorted himself a test at Silverstone in Peter Wardle's F Atlantic Surtees.

Bearing in mind that racing car developement had moved on somewhat since his incarceration, it came as no surprise to hear that he'd 'tripped up' during said test.

Purely from memory, he lost it at Abbey and broke at least one ankle and/or leg, and was out of action for quite a while...

Regarding Brush Type 4 (sorry, Class 47) #47299, I have a few pics of her myself. I only wish that a) I could find them, and then b) could scan them, as they'll be buried deep in the loft and my lappie isn't hooked up to either my scanner or my printer! :rolleyes:

PS Nobody has yet referred to D326/40126 as a 'Whistler'!

Oh, and there's also a rather spooky fact regarding the fate of the [rearmost] stock comprising the ill-fated Class 43 (InterCity 125) set which collided with an ARC freight train near Southall in 1997.

Did anyone else hear that one? Pete, perhaps...?


TW, IIRC the set involved in the Southall disaster was also the one destroyed in the Ladbroke Grove accident 2 years later.

Re James/MRS, I recall that he was regarded as something of a Celeb when he returned to racing . At that time John Webb was certainly into promoting such Celebs, eg Divina/Desire, I presume there was some cash changing hands along the way for promotional reasons.

#41 Twin Window

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 11:22

Originally posted by Mallory Dan

TW, IIRC the set involved in the Southall disaster was also the one destroyed in the Ladbroke Grove accident 2 years later.

Yep. Weird, huh?

Regarding James' FAtlantic shunt, was it really in Wentz's Lola?

#42 MCS

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 12:03

Originally posted by Twin Window
Yep. Weird, huh?

Regarding James' FAtlantic shunt, was it really in Wentz's Lola?


Yes, I'm 99% sure. Can't remember where though - was it Silverstone? Or Goodwood, even??

#43 Alan Johnston

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 22:09

Just found this article regarding The Great Train Robbery on the "Pitpass" web site by Mike Lawrence


www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_feature_item.php?fes_art_id=24308

Hope the link works, otherwise go to "Pitpass" and the article is on the front page.

#44 T54

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 04:42

The locomotive involved was apparently a jinxed one, and was involved in various other accidents/incidents (at least one fatal IIRC) during its 23 year life on BR.


Incredibly enough, so did several of the Brabham cars after Bernie took over the team. Coincidence? :cool:

#45 MCS

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 06:58

Originally posted by Alan Johnston
Just found this article regarding The Great Train Robbery on the "Pitpass" web site by Mike Lawrence


www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_feature_item.php?fes_art_id=24308

Hope the link works, otherwise go to "Pitpass" and the article is on the front page.


In the main, totally accurate, except for some of the lesser facts i.e. the other "driver" was killed in 1969 and James did return to racing after he broke his leg.

But the point is clear - to me anyway - that it is virtually inconceivable that Ecclestone could have had any involvement whatsoever.

But did some of the money pass into racing via certain sources...

Mark

#46 D-Type

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 12:20

Originally posted by MCS
~
But the point is clear - to me anyway - that it is virtually inconceivable that Ecclestone could have had any involvement whatsoever.
~

I agree. But why let the truth get in the way of a good fantasy?