Last of the Great Train Robbery gang dead: Bobby Welch had been the longest surviving member of the crew who swiped £2.6million from a Royal Mail train in 1963
- Bobby is understood to have died from natural causes at his home last week
The last member of the Great Train Robbery gang Bobby Welch has passed away peacefully in his home.
It is understood that he died from natural causes at his home in Brockley, south London, and his funeral is due to take place on Wednesday, according to The Sun.
Bobby had been the longest surviving member of the 15 man crew who swiped £2.6million from a Royal Mail train in 1963.
He was sentenced to 30 years in jail following the robbery and was released in 1976.
Bobby was later left crippled after an operation on his leg went wrong and later had it amputated.
The last member of the Great Train Robbery gang Bobby Welch has passed away peacefully in his home. Pictured: Welch at the funeral of fellow train robber Bruce Reynolds in 2013
It is one of the most famous crimes in British history. The Great Train Robbery of 1963 made some of the men who carried out the £2.6million heist household names. Above: The crime scene following the robbery at Bridego Bridge in Leighton Buzzard
The 1963 raid was carried out by a 15-member gang on a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London in 1963. Above: £50,000 that was recovered by police after being left in a phone box in Southwark by Harry Smith
Nick Reynolds, son of the gang’s leader Bruce Reynolds, who died aged 81 in 2013, told The Sun: ‘It is the end of an era. Bobby was a very decent straight forward man who lived for his family.
‘He was angry about the train robbery and about what happened to him in prison.
‘He liked my dad though he thought he was a little bit flash.
‘Despite his leg, he managed to outlive the rest of the gang and that’s probably as he had the support of his wife and family.’
The 1963 raid was carried out by a 15-member gang on a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London in August 1963.
The gang masterminded by Bruce Reynolds stopped the Glasgow-Euston overnight mail train as it passed through the Buckinghamshire countryside close to Cheddington.
The uncoupled train coaches are seen at Cheddington train station after the successful raid
The interior of the train is seen above after the daring raid. The gang stole the equivalent of around £55million today
The train was driven a mile and a half to the bridge, where the gang unloaded £2,631,684 in used notes.
The gang were later captured and 12 were jailed for a total of more than 300 years.
More than one broke out of prison, including the infamous Ronnie Biggs, who spent over 30 years on the run before he finally returned to Britain in 2001 to face arrest.
Reynolds returned in 1968, five years after the crime, and was captured in Torquay and jailed for 25 years.
Meanwhile, Biggs only served 15 months in jail before escaping from Wandsworth prison.
He famously spent the next 36 years on the run, settling down in countries including France, Australia and Brazil
‘CRIME OF THE CENTURY’: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERS?
Gang-leader and mastermind Reynolds was nicknamed ‘Napoleon’ and after the Great Train Robbery he fled to Mexico on a false passport and was joined by his wife, Angela, and son, Nick.
Mastermind Bruce Reynolds
They later moved on to Canada but the cash from the robbery ran out and he came back to England.
Five years after the heist, in 1968, a broke Reynolds was captured in Torquay and sentenced to 25 years in jail.
He was released on parole in 1978 and moved, alone and penniless, into a tiny flat off London’s Edgware Road.
In the 1980s he was jailed for three years for dealing amphetamines.
After his second release, Reynolds went on to work briefly as a consultant on a film about the robbery, Buster, and published the Autobiography of a Thief in 1995. His son Nick said his father died in his sleep in the early hours of February 28 2013.
Ronald Arthur ‘Ronnie’ Biggs played a minor role in the robbery, but his life as a fugitive after escaping from prison gained him notoriety.
He was given a 30-year sentence in 1964, but he escaped after 15 months by fleeing over the walls of London’s Wandsworth prison in April 1965.
After having plastic surgery, he lived as a fugitive for 36 years in first Australia then Brazil, where he fathered a son Michael.
His health deteriorated in 2001 and he returned to the UK voluntarily where he was sent back to prison.
He was finally freed in 2009 on ‘compassionate grounds’ by then Justice Secretary Jack Straw who said he was not expected to recover. He died in 2013.
Ronald Arthur ‘Ronnie’ Biggs played a minor role in the robbery, but his life as a fugitive after escaping from prison gained him notoriety
Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards
An ex-boxer, club owner and small-time crook who fled to Mexico after the heist but gave himself up in 1966.
Edwards is widely believed to be the man who wielded the cosh used to hit train driver Jack Mills over the head.
Mills’ family say he never recovered, and he died seven years later.
Edwards served nine years in jail and then became a familiar figure selling flowers outside Waterloo station in London.
He was the subject of the 1988 film Buster, in which he was played by Phil Collins. Edwards was found hanged in a garage in 1994 at the age of 62. Two wreaths in the shape of trains accompanied his funeral cortège.
Wilson was the gang’s ‘treasurer’ who gave each of the robbers their cut of the haul. He was captured quickly and during his trial at Aylesbury Crown Court in 1964 earned the nickname ‘the silent man’ as he refused to say anything.
He was jailed for 30 years but escaped after just four months.
He was captured again in Canada after four years on the run and served 10 more years in jail.
He was the final train robber to emerge from prison in 1978.
Wilson moved to Marbella, Spain, where he was shot and killed by a hitman on a bicycle in 1990.
Police seize bags of cash following the heist
A silversmith and racing driver, James dreamed of investing his share of the loot in new car technology.
He was nicknamed ‘Weasel’ and was the chief getaway driver.
James left a tell-tale fingerprint at the gang’s farm hideout after the heist and was caught following a chase over rooftops in London.
Jailed for 30 years, he served 12 and later sold silver from a market stall before moving to Spain.
James was jailed again for six years in 1993 after shooting his wife’s father and hitting her with a pistol.
He died at the age of 62, soon after getting out of prison.
A crooked solicitor who the gang used for the conveyancing when they bought the farm hideout used after the heist.
Field was arrested and sentenced to 25 years, which was later reduced to five.
He died in a motorway crash in 1979.
An engineer who was arrested with Roger Cordrey in possession of £141,000.Reynolds said he had never heard of Boal. He claimed Boal was not involved in the robbery and was ‘an innocent man’.
Boal was charged with receiving stolen goods and jailed for 24 years, which was reduced to 14 on appeal.
He died of cancer in jail in 1970.
A bookie and self-confessed ‘heavy’ whose job in the heist was to frighten the train staff.
Wisbey was sentenced to 30 years and released in 1976.
He was jailed for another 10 years in 1989 for cocaine dealing and later ran a flower stall.
Tommy died in 2017 after suffering a stroke in his London care home, aged 86.
A nightclub owner who was sentenced to 30 years in jail and was released in 1976.
He was later left crippled after an operation on his leg went wrong.
After jail he became a car dealer and gambler in London. He attended Bruce Reynolds’ funeral in 2013.
He was served 12 years of a 30 year sentence and was released in 1975. He is believed to have been the mastermind behind the infamous train heist.
In 1975, he moved to Spain to run a beach-side bar called Kon Tiki in Mojácar, Almeria. He died in 2016 aged 86 after suffering from a heart attack.
This picture taken on August 8 1963 at Cheddington station shows the Glasgow-London Royal Mail train after it was robbed
A decorator known as ‘Big Jim’ who was sentenced to 30 years and released in 1975.
Hussey later worked on a market stall and then opened a Soho restaurant.
He notched up a conviction for assault in 1981 and in 1989 was jailed for seven years for a drug smuggling conspiracy with fellow train robber Wisbey.
He died in November 2012, aged 79, from cancer.
Part of the South Coast Raiders gang, Cordrey was a florist.
He was arrested in Bournemouth after having the bad luck to rent a lock-up from a policeman’s widow.
He was jailed for 20 years, which was reduced to 14 on appeal.
When he was released in 1971 he went back to the flower business and moved to the West Country. He has since died.
A former Paratrooper described as ‘quartermaster’ for the robbery.
White was on the run for three years before being caught in Kent and sentenced to 18 years.
He was released in 1975 and went to live in Sussex. He has since died.
A former merchant seaman, Field was sentenced to 25 years, which was later reduced to five.
He was released from jail in 1967 and went to live in north London. Believed to be dead.
A solicitor who was sentenced to three years for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. He was released in 1966 and went to live in Surrey. Believed to be dead.
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