The Great Train Robbery

  |  Published: Aug 27th 2013
The photograph was taken at Police College No5 District Police Training Centre Eynsham Hall Oxfordshire, the officers in the shot are from all Police Forces with the then 5 Police District from Norfolk Esses City of London Bucks Herts. Doug is second on the right in the front row. Bucks Police can be recognised by the swan on the helmet badge.

Musings on the Great Train Robbery 1963 by Doug Manderfield sometime Constable 504 and Sergeant, Bucks Constabulary and Thames Valley Police 1955 – 1985


Buckinghamshire Constabulary, with its headquarters in Aylesbury, comprised of five Divisions, Aylesbury, Bletchley, Chesham, High Wycombe and Slough prior to 1 April 1968. Aylesbury Division had sub-divisions at Aylesbury, Linslade, Waddesdon and Wendover.


Linslade Sub-division was made up of offices at Linslade, Ivinghoe, Stewkley, and Wing. Linslade and Ivinghoe areas shared the length of the main east coast line from Glasgow to London Euston. At this time communications to Constables on cycles and their station was by conference points made at public telephone kiosks, private house and in some cases public houses. (Conference points were usually on the hour the constable waiting at the pre-arranged place for five minutes prior and five minutes after). There were no mobile phones or sat nav.


On 8 August 1963 the tranquillity of the Linslade/Ivinghoe area was thrown into chaos when the high value travelling post office from Glasgow to London was waylaid at Sears Crossing. It has been said that it would have been the problem for Bedfordshire Police if it had happened some distance back.


Officers from the whole of Buckinghamshire were drawn into the search for clues and evidence along the railway track and embankments. I was stationed at Wendover and was required to be involved in this search.


After a relatively short period a number of offenders were arrested and their hideout at Leatherslade Farm (near Brill) was discovered. Again I was involved in guarding this site. Constables were engaged over a 24 hour period until all forensic evidence had been gathered.


The offenders were locked up in Bedford Prison and for initial court hearings were brought to the magistrates court attached to Linslade Police Station. These took place over a weekly period. Later these hearings were transferred to the district council offices in Walton Street Aylesbury. It was at these hearings at various times I was handcuffed to Wilson, Biggs, Boal and others. They were later dealt with at Aylesbury Assizes and given long prison sentences


Bruce Reynolds, thought to have been the brains behind this operation was not arrested until the 1970s I was then Station Sergeant at Aylesbury Police Station and he was held in the cells there, by which time we were under the auspices of Thames Valley Police. The rest is well documented.


Wendover was more comprehensively Policed in the 50/60's and early 70's. In 1956 when I came to be stationed at Wendover and living at 101 Aylesbury Road, the Police Station was a shed behind the two Police houses 101 and 103. We had an Inspector, twe Sergeants and about 10 Constables for Wendover plus a Detective Constable and a civilian typist. The Wendover Sub Division had attached Constables at Aston Clinton, Stoke Mandeville, Ellesborough, The Lee, Great Misdsenden and Prestwood.


The new Police Station at the corner of Lionel Avenue, was opened in May 1959 and the Wendover shed was passed to Amersham where their shed was extended with the use of ours (make do and mend?).


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