Unpublished Great Train Robbery images up for auction
A SERIES of scrapbooks documenting the Great Train Robbery compiled by one of the detectives who investigated the case has come up for auction at South Cerney 50 years after the infamous heist.
The collection of photos, posters and newspaper cuttings following every turn of the inquiry was put together by John Bailey, the first detective on the scene on August 8, 1963.
It features his police mugshots of the robbers including Ronnie Biggs, shots of the farm where they holed up, a sack full of banknotes and the handcuffs they used on train driver Jack Mills, who was beaten over the head with a metal bar and never fully recovered.
Many of the images have never been published.
“It is very evocative of the time,” said Chris Albury, senior valuer at Dominic Winter Auctioneers.
The scrapbooks, which are expected to sell for around £3,000, followed the case to the end. Mr Bailey, a former Buckinghamshire Constabulary officer, then used them for lectures.
His work was so important to the case that on the anniversary of the raid he was presented with a Chief Constable’s Commendation.
Now aged 81 he has decided to sell them. He said he had no idea at the time how famous the crime would become.
“In this job one gets a bit jaded,” admitted Mr Albury “I knew what to expect. But actually looking at the photographs I found them particularly haunting.”
“I was a toddler at the time so it didn’t mean anything to me when it happened.” But he said seeing the photographs, some of which became very familiar in later years, was almost like looking at a fictional story or an episode of Z Cars.
“To hear John describing his memories of it as I looked through and his explanation of how the album hinged together took me back to that time.”
The robbers stopped the Royal Mail train at Ledburn after changing the signals, coshed Mr Mills and got away with 212 sacks of money totalling £2.6 million.
The scrapbooks are up for auction on September 25.