William Boal: The Great Train Robbery’s forgotten victim

50 years ago, on 14 August 1963,  the first arrests were made following the Great Train Robbery.

The first arrests were made by Sergeant Stanley Davies and Constable Charles Case at 9 pm in Tweedale Road in Bournemouth. Those arrested were Roger Cordrey and Bill Boal.

Cordrey was one of the train robbers, in fact he was head of the South Coast Raiders, but Boal was not.

Bill Boal was subsequently prosecuted as one of the train robbers and at a later date evidence was ‘found’ to link him to Leatherslade Farm. The same evidence – paint – was also used to convict Gordon Goody.

Boal was never a train robber and was never at Leatherslade Farm. He was convicted as a train robber, sentenced to 24 years, and died in prison on 26 June 1970 of a brain tumour. As Bruce Reynolds noted: “Boal was a victim of the judicial system.”

William Boal is often conveniently forgotten about when people come to write or talk about the Great Train Robbery.

Ronnie Biggs hopes his family will see justice one day

How to buy Ronnie Biggs’ autobiography “Odd Man Out: The Last Straw″ outside of the UK

It is now possible to buy Ronnie Biggs’ autobiography Odd Man Out: The Last Straw in a number of countries through Amazon and other stockists listed on the Amazon web sites.

Here are the links to the book in a few key countries:








The book can also be ordered though the publisher in the UK, including the special leather bound collectors’ editions

Standard Book

Leather Bound

VIP Leather Bound Box Set


How to buy “The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary: 1963-2013″ outside of the UK

It is now possible to buy The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary: 1963-2013 in a number of countries through Amazon and other stockists listed on the Amazon web sites.

Here are the links to the book in a few key countries:








and of course in the UK





Ronnie Biggs has regrets about the crime, but not about being a Great Train Robber

Given his experience with the media over the years, it comes as no surprise to Ronnie Biggs when he is misquoted in the press.

So to clarify exactly what Ron did say to the Press Association after being asked it he had any regrets about the Great Train Robbery, it was:

“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’.

Although I have said that I have no regrets about being a train robber, I do have regrets about the crime. It is regrettable, as I have said many times, that the train driver was injured. 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 number of publications, especially through the headline writers, have managed to have Ron saying the exact opposite.

The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary: 1963-2013


“There has never been anything quite so big, bold and crookedly brilliant as The Greatest Train Robbery” Daily Mirror

“History’s Greatest Robbery – There’ll always be an England” New York Herald Tribune

“Balaclava and the 40 Thieves” Daily Sketch

“Great Train Robbery, how’s that going?” John Lennon

This is it! For the first time in 50 years the full and complete story of what actually went on at the Great Train Robbery, in the planning of the robbery, and in the years that have passed since 8 August 1963.

The robbery is explained first hand over 132 pages by Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind of the crime, and by Ronnie Biggs, the most famous of the robbers and the man who admits that he was the most privileged spectator to the entire robbery. Both men give their exclusive views on the anniversary, and on the crime.

What you will read in The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary: 1963-2013 is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, because it comes from the people who know what happened. They were there, and they were involved. And from both sides of the law.

You will read shocking new revelations about the crime, of foul play, and about those implicated in it. Facts that will make you question what you thought you knew about the robbery, and the people caught up in it.

The book looks at the secrets and lies that surround Britain’s most famous and culturally iconic robbery. The myths and legends that range from the strange, to the downright bizarre.

The Great Train Robbery is the story that refuses to die, and one that fifty years on still fascinates and entertains a nation.

Death of John Daly

Sad to report the death of John Daly. John was Bruce Reynolds’ brother-in-law and married to Barbara, sister of Angela Reynolds, or Frances as Ron knew her.

John was the only member of the Great Train Robbery gang to be acquitted at the trial. Ron, and all the gang, thought good luck to him, although luck did not always follow John in life, and most of his share of the train robbery money was stolen from him.

It was John who brought the famous Monopoly set to Leatherslade Farm, and it was John who drove Ron from the farm to the site of the robbery.

For the story of John, read Mike Sullivan’s feature in The Sun.

Form Odd Man Out: The Last Straw:

One mid-morning Roger (Cordery) and I heard the main prison gate opening. We went to the window of the dormitory and saw a police car drive in. Minutes later Johnny Daly, the man who wanted to plead guilty, came to the door, trembling and pale faced,

‘What’s the trouble, John?’ I asked, ‘are you ill?’

‘No, I’m not ill. I’ve been acquitted!’

‘Christ! You’ve been chucked? That’s fantastic!’ said Roger delightedly ‘How? Why?’

‘Reaburn (John’s counsel) made a submission to the effect that the Monopoly set could have been taken to the farm after I left my prints on it. The judge accepted that fact and acquitted me. I’ve just come back to pick up my belongings. I’m free! – but I can’t believe it!’

Too bad I wasn’t able to share the lucky Irishman’s good fortune. My fingerprints were also found on the Monopoly set but also a sauce bottle (I never thought they would ‘ketchup’ with me). It was the sauce bottle that tied me to the farm. A previous resident at Leatherslade Farm was the key witness and he swore that no such item had been left there.

Ronnie Biggs helps his fans by lowering the price of digital copies of “Odd Man Out”


Ronnie Biggs has asked his publisher, M Press, to lower the price of the digital version of his autobiography Odd Man Out: The Last Straw, which has been reduced on the Calm Productions web site from £14.99 to just £5.

The digital edition is available HERE.

Ron was responding to the requests he has received from fans around the world who have not been able to get hold of hard copies of his best selling autobiography, or did not have access to Kindle. The digital edition should be able to be read on iPads, most tablets and computers.

The publisher expects rising demand from Australia where Mrs Biggs is currently being broadcast on Channel 7. In the UK fans were keen to find out what really happened to Ron and Charmian, rather than the fiction portrayed in the TV series that was full of factual errors, even the day and date of the robbery.

Ron has also promised his fans a new updated Kindle and digital edition of his novel, Keep On Running, as well as a contribution for a new publication about the Great Train Robbery that will be published to tie in with the 50th anniversary of the robbery on 8 August. More news on this development soon.

The upcoming anniversary of the train robbery has sadly already seen the publication of a number of titles looking to cash in on the robbery that are full of factual errors, erroneous conclusions and simple bad journalism.