What Are Wimbledon's Links To The Great Train Robbery?

Find out in this true crime quiz book

Wimbledon is steeped in true crime history where the 'Great Train Robbery' of 1963 is concerned, with many connections to the train robbers from the Wimbledon area.

They are featured heavily in ‘The Great Train Robbery Quiz Book’ recently published by author Mike Gray.

The 51st anniversary of the infamous robbery is on August 8, and this quiz book tests the knowledge of the reader as to 'who, why and when', and as well giving information on their Wimbledon connections.

These include the train robbers' meeting on Wimbledon Common on 23rd July, 1963. Just two weeks before the robbery, they would kick a football about on the Common so as not to raise suspicion and discuss the robbery plans without being overheard.

A very good friend of the robbers was Wimbledon resident Mary Manson, who helped spend the robbers' cash. She bought sports cars on their behalf and gave false address details, so no paper trail could lead the police to the robbers or herself.

Her address in 1963 was at 4 Wimbledon Close - a luxury block of flats in The Downs - and the police visited her there on many occasions, looking for train robbers and train robbery money.

She was eventually arrested on August 22, 1963 in Wimbledon and taken to Wimbledon police station.

She was in regular contact with train robbery mastermind Bruce Reynolds, who stayed on the run for five years until arrested in 1968. In addition, 18 Thornton Road, off Ridgway, was Mary Manson's warehouse which was also searched by the police, after completing the search at her Wimbledon Close address.

Ex-England and Arsenal football star Kenny Sansom's uncle, Terry Sansom, was arrested for being a possible train robber, but no charges were brought against him. He was also found not guilty of murder and armed robbery in Wimbledon in 1961, which netted £9,400 of a bus pay-roll hold up in January 1961 after the guard sadly died.

Train robber Bob Welch told the police he was at Wimbledon Dog Track on August 7, the eve of the Great Train Robbery, with him was Jimmy Kensit, an underworld associate and father of Hollywood actress Patsy Kensit, stating he left the dog track at 9pm.

‘The Great Train Robbery Quiz Book’ is Mike Gray’s Fifth true crime publication, all published by Apex publishing and available on Amazon for £2.49.

July 21, 2014