Bobby Welch dead: Last member of the Great Train Robbery gang who was jailed over multi-million pound heist passes away | The Sun
THE last surviving member of the Great Train Robbery gang that stole £2.6million in one of Britain's biggest heists has died.
Bobby Welch passed away peacefully from natural causes at his home in Brockley, South London, where he lived with his wife.
It is understood he had been frail for sometime and developed Alzheimer’s Disease.
He was one of 15 men who swiped £2.6million – equivalent to £50million now – from a Royal Mail train in 1963.
Bobby was locked up for 30 years before being released from jail in 1976.
But he was left crippled by a botched leg operation in prison which he suffered from the rest of his life.
His leg was eventually amputated and friends said he remained bitter to the prison service for their neglect.
Arsenal supporter Welch was released from jail in 1976 and became a car dealer.
He shunned publicity and lived in quiet obscurity with his family.
Welch remained friends with several of the other robbers and former gangster Eddie Richardson.
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He was last seen in public at the funeral of fellow robber Tommy Wisbey in 2016 – who passed away following a massive stroke.
It is understood he passed away last week and his funeral is due to take place next Wednesday.
Nick Reynolds, son of train robber Bruce, who died aged 81 in 2013, said: ‘’It is the end of an era.
‘’Bobby was a very decent straight forward man who lived for his family.
‘’He was angry about the train robbery and about what happened to him in prison.
‘’He liked my dad though he thought he was a little bit flash.
‘’Despite his leg, he managed to outlive the rest of the gang and that’s probably as he had the support of his wife and family.’
A total of 12 train robbers was caught, while three got away with it. Two of those are dead.
The third was never identified and it is not known if he is alive.
On August 8, 19693, Welch joined his accomplices in holding up a Glasgow to London night mail train carrying used banknotes.
The gang tampered with signals to bring the train to a halt at Bridego Railway Bridge in Buckinghamshire.
Train driver Jack Mills was bludgeoned with a metal bar, leaving him scarred for life, as the raiders made off with the cash.
In total, 128 sacks – weighing 2.5 tonnes – were moved off the train and the gang had fled the scene within 30 minutes.
Most of the money was never recovered and is believed to have been split into £150,000 shares.
The heist turned Ronnie Biggs and Ronald “Buster” Edwards into notorious criminals.
But Welch seemed to shy away from the limelight after he was caught.
During his time in prison, he became a star lag – teaching partially blind children to read.
His associates instead became infamous for their antics in jail.
Charlie Wilson was just months into sentence when masked assailants broke into Winson Green jail and busted him out.
He was eventually recaptured in Canada and was later shot dead in Spain after serving the rest of his sentence.
Biggs climbed the prison wall of HMP Wandsworth in 1965 in an audacious escape plot and fled to Brazil.
He led a typically lavish lifestyle as a playboy but as his health declined, he voluntarily returned to Britain in May 2001 and went back to prison.
Biggs was freed two days before his 80th birthday in 2009 on health grounds and died in 2013.