Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I forgot an event last December that was most significant if you were English.  It was the death of Ronald Biggs - one of the ringleaders of the Great Train Robbery.  A self confessed "villain" Biggs nonetheless led a colorful life.  The robbery was on August 8, 1963, when I was a very young man.  The robbers got away with some $75 million in today's money - a little was recovered, but not very much.  Biggs was captured but he escaped from Wandsworth Jail and after some plastic surgery he found his way to Adelaide in Australia.  But the equally well known Jack Slipper of the Yard was on his trail and Biggs had to take off once again; this time to Rio de Janeiro, from where there was no extradition treaty.  Here he lived in some notoriety, giving press interviews, but he yearned for England and an ability to walk into a pub and order a pint.  He subsequently returned voluntarily and was immediately arrested and imprisoned.  Bad health caused the authorities to allow him to leave on compassionate grounds in 2009, but he died last year at age 83.  An interesting life!

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