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.

The true and full story of the Great Train Robbery

With the BBC about to screen a two part fictional drama series about the Great Train Robbery in December 2013, A Robber’s Tale and A Copper’s Tale, now is the time to get hold of a copy of The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary: 1963-2013, the 132 page ‘bookazine’ that contains the full story and timeline of the robbery with contributions from both Ronnie Biggs and Bruce & Nick Reynolds.

Check in The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary: 1963-2013 to see where fact and fiction collide, and see why truth is very often stranger than fiction.

On sale from Calm Productions or through Amazon

To see the first trailer to the BBC series CLICK HERE

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 “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