1963 – The Great Train Robbery

It is one of the most audacious crimes in history, and single largest robbery in the history of the United Kingdom. Over 2.6 million pounds were stolen from the Royal Mail Train by a team of 17 men (including those involved in planning). The robbery itself went fairly smoothly, although the resistance of the train’s driver, Jack Mills, was an unanticipated complication (he was beaten over the head to ensure his submission, and suffered from headaches the rest of his life as a result).

Naturally, the police were quick to react, and nearly all of the robbers were caught – although two of the, notably Ronnie Biggs (who remained free for years and became something of counterculture celebrity as a result), later escaped from prison – but almost none of the money was ever recovered. Driver Jack Mills in particular suffered as a result of the robbery, as he had great difficulty in getting compensated and was blamed in some quarters for giving in too easily (a claim which was both unfair and untrue).

Referenced in:

Just For Money — Paul Hardcastle
Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds — Alabama 3