Ronnie Biggs’ “Keep on Running” is published on Kindle

To mark what would have been Ronnie Biggs 85th birthday on 8 August 2014, his first and only novel, Keep on Running, has been published on Kindle for the first time.

Keep on Running is a novel that draws on the true events surrounding the Great Train Robbery. It gives a dramatic account of what may have happened to the three men at the track who were never caught or charged. It covers their lives before, during and in the years immediately after the robbery in August 1963. It also features the shadowy character known to people on both sides of the law as the Ulsterman, and provides a dramatic solution to the puzzle as to whether or not there was a shipment of jewels on board the train and, if there was, why the owner never came forward.

The book is Ronnie Biggs’ only novel, although he was very active in writing both poetry and lyrics, most famously for the Sex Pistols and Die Toten Hosen. He had also been involved in writing the screenplay for the film Prisoner of Rio.

Ron was invited to write a novel by Bloomsbury, the original publisher of his autobiography Odd Man Out. The invite came after that book had become one of Bloomsbury’s top sellers in 1994, and in fact, of all time. The publisher asked for a follow-‐up novel and suggested to Ron that he should base it around the Great Train Robbery, as that is what he was best known for and what his fans would want.

Ron would hope that you his friends and fans enjoy the book as much as he did in writing it. The book stands as it was published in 1995, with only a few very minor tweaks, such as the prologue, to bring it up to date.

As somebody noted at the time: “With Keep on Running, Britain’s most lovable rogue has produced a gripping, imaginative and highly entertaining novel.”

The Kindle version of Keep on Running: A Story from the Great Train Robbery  is available globally direct from your local Amazon or Kindle store.

Australia

Brazil

Canada

France

Germany

India

Italy

Japan

Mexico

Spain

United Kingdom

USA

 

50 Years on from the draconian sentencing of the Great Train Robbers

 

On 16 April 1964, following on from the guilty verdict against Ronnine Biggs the previous day, the court reconvened at 10.30 a.m. The members of the Great Train Robbery gang in custody were not taken back to the court where the trial had been held, but instead were taken instead to the Assizes where they could all be held and locked in the cells before being brought in to court one by one for sentencing.

It takes Mr Justice Edmund Davies just 28 minutes to sentence 12 of the men. Most of the sentences are for two concurrent sentences, the crimes being: ‘robbery – being armed with an offensive weapon’ (30 years / 10,957 days) and ‘conspire / robbery with violence’ (25 years / 9,130 days).

Seven of gang get 30-year sentences, two get 25 years, one gets 24 years, one gets 20 years and one gets three years. The order of sentencing is Roger Cordrey (20 years) / William Boal (24 years) / Charlie Wilson (30 years) / Ronald Biggs (30 years) / Thomas Wisbey (30 years) / Robert Welch (30 years) / James Hussey (30 years) / Roy James (30 years) / Gordon Goody (30 years) / Brian Field (25 years) / Leonard Field (25 years) / John Wheater (3 years).

Twelve men are jailed for a total of 307 years, although the total sentences are for 573 years as some sentences run concurrently. On appeal they will be reduced from 307 years to 251 years.

The Great Train Robbery trial had lasted for 51 workings days over a period of 10 weeks. Evidence had been heard from 264 witnesses, and an estimated 2.5 million words had been spoken. There were 2,350 witness statements and 1,700 exhibits. The words filled over 30,000 foolscap pages. The cost of the trial was estimated at £38,733 (about £650,000 by 2013 values). The 12 jurors, all men, were paid 50 shillings a day (about £40 in 2013 values).

At no point in the trial was any evidence presented to prove that any of the accused had been at the scene of the robbery on the morning of 8 August 1963.

The trial over, the gang were split up amongst some of Britain’s most secure prisons. Bruce Reynolds watched the news of the sentencing on the 6 p.m. BBC TV News. His comment is: “They have created a monster that will haunt them forever.”

It is worth noting that on 30 September 1963, six months prior to sentencing the Great Train Robbers to 30 years,  Mr Justice Edmund Davies, had declared that a sentence of 15 years was “excessive” for a man involved in a robbery where a person was shot and killed. He reduced the sentence on appeal to 10 years. The robbers involved had expected to find £6,000 on the premises but only stole £517.

In 1968, when Reynolds was finally captured, it is noted in the press that a night porter who set fire to a Brighton Hotel to get rid of some late customers, and who caused the death of seven people, is sentenced to just five years. A man, who kills a barmaid by putting cyanide in her Guinness because she did not serve him a sandwich, also gets five years.

50 years since the opening of the Great Train Robbery trial

The Great Train Robbery trial opened on 20 January 1964 at the Buckingham Winter Assizes at the District Council Chamber in Aylesbury. Charges were mainly ‘conspiracy to stop a mail with intent to rob said mail’. The accused were placed in a specially constructed dock. There were seats for sixty people in the public gallery.

Forty counsel, including 12 QCs were involved. Arthur James QC lead the prosecution. The 12-man jury was made up entirely of men. The judge was Mr Justice Edmund Davies.

Every morning, afternoon and evening of the working week for the following three months the accused would be locked into small individual compartments in a police bus, commonly known as a Black Maria. Then with an escort of at least four police cars and a dozen or so motorcycle police, they made the ten- minute journey to-and-from the prison and council chamber.

Caught “bang to rights”, Cordrey (photo) pleaded guilty at 10.27 am on the first day of the trial to conspiracy to stop the mail and receiving large sums of money from the robbery. He pleaded not guilty to robbery with aggravation. The court accepted his plea and he was returned to prison to await sentencing.

Music at Ronnie Biggs’ Funeral

Ron entered the chapel at Golders Green Crematorium with the London Dixieland Jazz Band playing Just a Closer Walk with Thee. The congregation sung Abide with Me, while a favourite of Ron’s, Bunny Berigan’s I Can’t Get Started, was played during the service.

Members of Alabama 3, including Nick Reynolds, performed the Seekers The Carnival is Over. Luiz Bonfá’s Manhã de Carnaval, from Black Orpheus was also played. Ron then departed to David Rose’s The Stripper and the London Dixieland Jazz Band playing Arthur Kent’s Bring Me Sunshine.

Music played while the guests awaited Ron’s arrival included: Midnight Cowboy, John Barry; Oblivion, Astor Piazzolla; Gnattali: Remexendo, Camerata Brazil; Misty, Erroll Garner; Smile, Madeleine Peyroux; The Good Life, Tony Bennett; I’ll Never Find Another You, The Seekers; Girl From Ipanema, Astrud and Joao Gilberto; Insensatez, Antonio Carlos Jobim; Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong; It Ain’t Necessarily So, Oscar Peterson; Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, Ella Fitzgerald; Ela é Carioca. João Gilberto; Chega De Saudade, João Gilberto; Air On A G String, Jacques Loussier; Solace, Marvin Hamlisch; Bachianas Brasileiras No 5, Heitor Villa Lobos; Round About Midnight, Bill Evans; Luíza, Raphael Rabello; Tristeza, Separacion, Astor Piazzolla; Corcovado, Antonio Carlos Jobim; Blowin’ In The Wind, Bob Dylan; Best Is Yet To Come, Frank Sinatra; and Unforgettable, Nat King Cole.

A Christmas Treat from Ronnie Biggs

For Christmas Ron has persuaded his publisher to offer his best-selling books at special festive rates so that you can now buy the hardback version of his autobiography, Odd Man Out: The Last Straw, for just £9.99 (RRP: £19.99), and the The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary:1963-2013, the new 132 page ‘bookazine’ that contains for the first time the full story of the robbery as told by Bruce Reynolds and Ron, for just £4.99.

With the bookazine you will be able to check exactly what is real in the upcoming BBC drama about the Great Train Robbery.

To order go direct to the publisher’s own web site by clicking below:

Odd Man Out: The Last Straw

The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary:1963-2013

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:

GERMANY

FRANCE

SPAIN

ITALY

JAPAN

USA

CANADA

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:

GERMANY

FRANCE

SPAIN

ITALY

USA

CANADA

JAPAN

and of course in the UK

THROUGH AMAZON

DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER