• Short Summary

    "The operation", said Scotland yard tonight, "was conducted smoothly and successfully".

    It was the formal signal?

  • Description

    "The operation", said Scotland yard tonight, "was conducted smoothly and successfully".

    It was the formal signal that the train robbers' prison switch, premeditated as few crimes, has been completed.

    At dawn today six of the robbers were awoken. Three in troop-protected Durham -- Wisbey, Goody, and James. And three in Leicester -- Welch, Hussey, and Cordrey.

    The Durham trio left and headed south in secret convoy for Nottingham. There they were joined by Hussey and Cordrey from Leicester, while Wisbey was dropped off to join Welch there. Two, now at Leicester, and four heading South down the M-1 and A-30 for lunch at Winchester prison and then on to the Isle of Wight ferry from Lymigton. The four -- Goody, James, Hussey, and Gordery were driven aboard.

    Now press and television cameras were watching every move, though it was to be another hour before the Home Office -- in an unprecedented announcement -- confirmed the switch and identified the prisoners concerned.

    Two vanloads of extra police competed the convoy, which practically filed the whole of the ferry "freshwater" as it made a normal scheduled run. But the cargo -- and its escorts -- were unique.

    Now there was no getting away from the attendant cameras -- and there was hardly any attempt to. But it had been as far south as Basingstoke before this extraordinary convoy was spotted at all. And now the switch was, in any case, virtually beyond "outside interference".

    On the to the island -- and Parkhurst. Among the reporters waiting there was Newsroom's Peter Stewart:
    "This trickiest operation..." confidence was manifest -- so manifest that no escape would be attempted even the island's speed limit was pedantically observed. The officers are now on their way back to Scotland Yard. Commander Lewis has had a conference with the Governor of Parkhurst. Mr. Alistair Miller. And Britain's new super safe wing of maximum security is fully operational.

    This for the four robbers, is more comfortable than Durham and Leicester, where they have complained so bitterly about conditions.

    And neither here, nor at Leicester, where Welch and Wisbey have, perhaps reluctantly, been left behind -- will there be any need for the added precaution of armed soldiers. There are, now, said the Home Office to plans for troops to guard the Green Grain Robbers. Up and Durham, peace at the prison -- but some confusion at the Chief Constable's office. This morning Mr. Alec Muir admitted he'd been "a little bit extravagant and theatrical" on Wednesday when he said tanks and atomic weapons might have been used in a bid to free the train robbers. But tonight Mr. Muir had a different version. The whole story, he declared, was a deliberate hoax, intended to destract the press and the public from organisation of the prison switch. And, he said, "it worked".

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment