Chiswick and the Great Train Robbery

New books tells of local links with 'Crime of the Century'


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A new book on the Great Train Robbery has highlighted a significant number of links between the audacious heist and the area.

The crime, which marked its 50th anniversary last August, is the subject of the "The Great Train Robbery Quiz Book" just published by local author Mike Gray. It contains 200 questions about the 1963 robbery including some that relate to Chiswick

The book's author - Mike Gray

The Chequered Flag Garage, which was situated on Chiswick High Road until it was converted into flats in 2000, was primarily famous for being the home of an associated motor racing team. Just after the robbery, Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind of the plan, visited the garage and took a test drive in a black Austin Healey (Registration number 222 NFC). Reynolds agreed to buy the car from salesman Dennis St John for £835. He left the garage and returned later that evening to pay for the car in cash. The payment was all in £5 notes that had been taken during the train robbery. Reynolds gave a false address for the invoice.

Another Great Train Robber, Reynold's brother-in-law John Daly, while on the run after the £2.6 million robbery bought a cabin cruiser called 'Trap Six' and had it moored at The Strand Shipyard, near Grove Park Road. He worked at local antiques company 'Mac's Antiques' and was on the run until December 1963 before being arrested in Eaton Square.

He became the only train robber to be acquitted in February 1964, through lack of evidence. He and his wife moved to Cornwall and turned his back on anything to do with 'The Crime of The Century', he became a road sweeper and refuse collector for Cornwall Council and kept his past a secret until he passed away in 2012.

This was not to be the final link between Chiswick and the robbery. When Ronnie Biggs returned to the UK on May 7th 2001 after his Wandsworth prison escape in 1965, he was brought to RAF Northolt by private jet, and immediately taken to Chiswick Police Station where he was formally charged.

Ronnie Biggs leaves Chiswick Police station

February 13, 2014

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