50 years ago January 1971 was not a happy time for the Biggs family. During the first week of January 1971, as Charmian was driving the three boys home in Melbourne after spending the New Year holidays at Somers on West Port Bay, her car was hit side on as Charmian was crossing an intersection. It was her right of way.
The Biggs’ oldest son, Nicky, took the brunt of the impact and was thrown from the car and tragically died. He was just 10. Chris, Farley and Charmian were all injured.
The funeral on 10 January was a media and police circus as there was speculation that Biggs would come out of hiding to attend the funeral. The authorities still believing that he was hiding out in Australia. The police even removed all the cards from the wreaths and flowers in the hope of finding a clue to Biggs’ whereabouts.
In pre-internet or global media days, news of the crash and Nicky’s death did not feature in Brazil. Ron was only to learn of his son’s death from a letter from Charmian that he received in February 1971, over a month after the crash.
On receiving the news, Ron almost gave himself up by walking into the British Consulate in Rio de Janiero, but changed his mind at the very last moment. The death weighed heavily on Ron’s mind and played a part in his decision to return to the UK in February 1974. Which would have happened if Ron had not been betrayed by the Daily Express to Scotland Yard.
RIP: Nicholas Grant Biggs (23 July 1960 – 5 January 1971)
Second time lucky for The Postal Museum in London that now hopes to re-open on 5 December 2020 and has announced that the special “The Great Train Robbery: Crime & The Post'” exhibit, that was due to end in April 2020, has now been extended through 3 January 2021. So if you have not had the chance to see it, there may still be some time for a visit is you hurry.
The museum gives visitors the chance to revisit The Great Train Robbery and unearth the role of the Post Office’s own investigation department in piecing together this and other crimes, shedding light on the human stories of the victims through never before seen artefacts, objects and personal accounts. This exhibition is included in your ticket to the museum.
For more information visit the museum’s web site CLICK HERE
If you are a train fan or interested in what the site of the Great Train Robbery looks like now from a driver’s point-of-view, here is a new video.
The part relelvant to the robbery starts at around 4 minutes. The video is part of a new series that offers an insight into the West Coast Main Line from the driver’s cab with commentary by Avanti West Coast train drivers.
In the video the train is travelling from London to Glasgow, so travelling in the opposite direction to the train involved in the train robbery, but the driver explains the scene as he covers the key parts of the track. You will notice the train passes a couple of trains coming in the other direction, those are on the track the Great Train Robbery train was using.
Ronnie Biggs would have been very pleased to see his friends on the Death List have their own Covid masks. He would have certainly used one and encouraged other to use them to stay off the Death List.
Ron appeared on the Death List a record thirteen times, the first year being in 2000, the year before his return to the UK. Ron took the Death List in his normal good humour and interacted with the people behind the list, and those that treated it in the right spirit.
Nine years ago, on 17 November 2011, Ronnie released his final and most complete autobiography, “Odd Man Out: The Last Straw”, at Shoreditch House in London. It was the first press conference Ron had ever given in the UK.