Mike Doodson’s article about Roy James sparked some memories from the 1960s and ’70s. As a young teenager around the time of the great train robbery, I was shocked by the length of the term handed out to James — so much so that I wrote to him while he was doing his prison stretch. I was surprised and frankly a little shocked to receive a polite and thoughtful response from Roy. Like Doodson I too was taken aback by his immaculate copperplate text, all the more so as it contrasted so starkly against the prison notepaper on which it was written.
Fast-forward 10 years or so, by when I was employed as a truckie for Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham F1 team, then still based in the old factory at New Haw, Surrey. I happened to be working on the truck when a car came down the dusty track and stopped outside the office. A diminutive man climbed out and went straight into the small office and design rooms. Within minutes the rumour had spread among the F1 mechanics and other team staff that Roy James had been released and had come straight down to Brabham to meet Bernie. It’s no wonder that the old, unfounded rumour about Bernie and the Great Train robbery will never ever quite go away!
Paul Geoghegan, East Molesey, Surrey