Nevada Appeal at 150: Aug. 8, 1963: Bandits pull off greatest train robbery
A band of 20 to 30 masked bandits decoyed the Glasgow-London mail train to a halt with a false signal today, blackjacked the engineer and escaped with loot the post office said may exceed a million pounds, or $2.8 million.
Executed in 15 minutes, officials are calling the incident history’s greatest train robbery. Of comparable robberies in the United States, the biggest cash haul was $1,551,277 taken last Aug. 14 from a mail truck outside Plymouth, Mass.
“This is the first attack on a traveling post office in the 125 years of their history,” Postmaster General Reginald Bevins said.
The bandits seized about 120 bags of registered mail containing a large quantity of used but still valid currency which was being returned to London for reprocessing. There were reports the haul also included a consignment of diamonds for Hatton Market, London’s gem trading center.
The bandits struck shortly after 3 a.m. at a rural crossing 40 miles northwest of London. They covered the green signal at the crossing with a glove and put batteries behind the red signal to light it. They also cut railway telephone wires.
“It was obviously a very professional job,” said Detective Malcolm Fewtrell of Buckinghamshire. “They seemed to know their railway signaling.”
This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.