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Forum Home > Other Crimes and Punishments. > Great Train Robberies.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1409

Well it was in the year 1862, it being the talk of Dalaston and Wednesbury, for many weeks. Samuel Mills, owned a foundry in Darlaston, and also had interests in another at Walsall. It was not uncommon for Mills, to send his workman back and forth between the two business's, sometimes carrying a fair amount of money. James Bridley, who was a pattern finisher, made such a journey, although his task was to complete some work at the Walsall plant. The work finished, he made his way to Walsall Station, and boarded the South Staffordshire's Train about 6.40pm. Several others also boarded, amongst them three smartly dressed men, who followed Brindley into the same carriage compartment. The doors were shut, the flag waved, the whistle blown, and the train pulled out to make the 7 minute journey to Wednesbury. As soon as the wheels turned, the three men attacked Brindley, beating him so badly, he could not remember what happened next.


About 7 pm, James Brindley was discovered on the sleepers, at the side of the line, just 60 yards short of the Station. He could not tell the Railway Staff how he got there, but it's a fair bet, given that he complained of a bad back, that he had been thrown from the moving train. Taken on to Darlaston, he was then interviewed by the Police, and escorted to his home, where he spent the rest of the week in bed. A massive hunt had already begun for the three men, but nothing came of it. Just what, you may ask, did they get away with. If they were expecting James Brindley to be conveying a large sum of money, they were to be sadly disappointed, he had just 9 shillings of his own money in his purse. Maybe, in their utter frustration, can be found the reason why they flung him out of the carriage. All that effort for just 9 bob, and they had paid the full fare as well.

December 17, 2011 at 2:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1409

Being a passenger was a risky business, as you know from reading the post above, but have a thought for the poor souls who were waiting for the Walsall Train, in 1879. A man described as a " Carrier ", in this case, a rather fanciful term for a man with a horse and cart, a certain Charles Vanes. He arrived very drunk on the platform, and proceeded to annoy a few ladies. Spoken to quite sharply as to his intemporate language, he pulled a 5 barrelled revolver from his pocket, and let off 4 shots. When the train pulled in, not surprisingly, he was the only one to board, and he again began to wave about the still loaded gun in a threatening manner. Loyalty is something you don't see a lot of today, but the Railway employees of the time, were very proud of their jobs. At great risk, several porters and the Station Master, tackled the idiot, and carried him off to the police station. Today, such a act with a firearm, would get you sent away for a few years, not back then though, he was fined just £5.00, with costs, and sent on his way with a flea in his ear. It's believed he was given back his Revolver, after a promise not to do it again.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1409

James Lister, a native of Wolverhampton, worked for the London and North-Western Railway Company. He started out as a humble labourer and was promoted to a Brakesman, working on Goods Trains. On the day he transgressed, and he certainly did, he was working a specially Goods Train out of Liverpool, via his home town, Wolverhampton, and then on to London. It was labeled a special train, as it was carrying wine and spirits from a Liverpool Bonded Wharehouse. ( I bet you are in front of me on this one )  When it arrived in Wolverhampton, Lister was found in the Guards Van, a half empty bottle by his side, roaring drunk. There were several empty bottles strewn around the van, only four of the 13 he had " borrowed from the consignment, still uncorked. It was either very poor wine, or Lister had a prodigerous tolerence to alcohol, it would have killed the less able drinker. For some reason, the bench at Stafford Assizes would not believe, that his mates on the train had also partaken of the looted goods. Stealing from one's employers was viewed as a terrible thing to do, breaching your trust was always punished hashly. And so it proved, James Lister was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in Stafford Gaol. More than enough time to sober up I would have thought.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 16, 2012 at 10:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1409

John Newbury, a well trusted Guard working goods trains, had a good reputation until he slipped up. ( by that I mean he had never been caught before ) He was observed sneaking out of a storage shed at Brettell Lane Station, with a suspicious bulge under his uniform. ( No, he wasn't just happy to see someone ) This was reported to the Station Master, who informed the company at the office in Wolverhampton. The next day, Newbury was visited at his home by a couple of Wolverhamptons finest, looking for a case of wine, which was missing from the aforesaid shed. They found nothing, and were about to leave when one cast a last beady eye around the kitchen and spotted what looked like a very expensive pair of cut glass Vases. On further inspection, he noticed some of the garden had been freshly dug, so out came the shovel. They quickly found a case of the Vases in one corner, and a case of Tulip Glasses nearby. In a patch near the door of the house, buried nearly 2 feet down, they came across a Firkin of Butter. They never found the wine, and so he was charged with stealing what they had found, all of it the property of Gods Wonderful Railway. At Stafford Assizies,  despite claiming someone else must have have dug his garden over to plant beans, he was found guilty and given 18 months imprisonment. A clear case of a man who wanted his bread buttered both sides.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 20, 2012 at 4:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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