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

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