Great train robbery (1963)
The Royal Mail's Glasgow to London travelling post office (TPO) train was stopped by tampered signals. The 15-member gang, led by Bruce Reynolds and including Ronnie Biggs, Charlie Wilson, Jimmy Hussey, John Wheater, Brian Field, Jimmy White, Tommy Wisbey, Gordon Goody and Buster Edwards, got away with £2.6 million. Although no guns were used in the robbery, some members of the gang struck the train driver, Jack Mills, on the head with iron bars. Mills never fully recovered from the attack and never returned to work. He died in 1970.
Thirteen of the gang members were caught after police discovered their fingerprints in their Oxfordshire farmhouse hide-out. The robbers were tried, sentenced and imprisoned. Biggs and Reynolds escaped from prison 15 months into their sentences, eventually settling in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Charlie Wilson escaped and was living outside Montreal, Canada on Rigaud Mountain. In the upper-middle-class neighbourhood where the large, secluded properties are surrounded by trees, Wilson was just another resident who enjoyed his privacy. Only when his wife made the mistake of telephoning her parents in England, was Scotland Yard able to track him down.
Despite the injury to the train driver, the robbery and escape are regarded by many as highly romantic, and Ronnie Biggs is treated affectionately by some of the British tabloid press.
The lost money was never recovered.