viernes, 20 de diciembre de 2013

50th anniversary of Great Train Robbery

In early August the BBC reminded us that it is 50 years since the Great Train Robbery.

A gang made up of 15 men escaped with the equivalent of over £40m in today's money - after they held up a Glasgow to London Royal Mail train on a bridge in Buckinghamshire.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video clip and answer the questions below.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 What two words are used to describe the robbery?
2 How did the robbers bring more than 100 mail sacks from the train to their vehicles?
3 How much money did they take?
4 How old is Gordon Goody now?
5 Where did the robbers hide the money?
6 What is it said about the game of Monopoly?
7 Why was the Great Train Robbery important?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below.

They were the criminals who changed the history of crime.
The engine and the front two coaches of the mail train have been brought back here to Cherington Station to be examined yet again.
The robbery was a mixture of audacity and violence. The gang stopped the train further up here by fixing the signals, but then hit the driver, Jack Mills, to force him to move his train to this bridge where the rest of the gang were waiting. They formed a human chain to bring more than a hundred mail sacks down to their waiting vehicles, taking around two and a half million pounds, equivalent today of forty million.
The country was stunned, the police baffled, the train emptied.
You know, see what kind of dough we’re talking about, you see it could be up to five million pound.
Gordon Goody was part of the gang. Now, eighty-four and living in Spain, he’s told a new documentary he knew this was an epic raid.
I wasn’t unaware of the consequences here, you know, and going up against The Queen stealing the Royal Mail, I mean, in the old days they used to talk and say is like a…, I suppose you could say we were modern, modern Dick Turpins sort of thing.
But for the train driver Jack Mills the robbers were anything but glamorous highwaymen.
The gang drove thirty miles away and hid at Leatherslade Farm. PC John Willie was the local bobby. Now seventy-five, he was asked to check out the farm.
This is one of the outlying buildings.
As soon as they arrived here, he became suspicious.
I spotted in an alcove off the kitchen area a trap door in the floor. I could see parcel wrappers, banknote wrappers, consignment notes, all of them bearing the names of the famous high street banks. I think that I knew that then I was in the train robbers’ hideout.
This monopoly set, now in a museum, was also found there. The gang had played using real money from the raid, all adding, say historians, to the mythology of this crime.
Start of an era and end of an era. It was probably the last of the great cops and robbers crimes, even the American press was saying this was the greatest robbery of all time. It was the swinging sixties.
There’ve been bigger, bolder, more bountiful robberies since but fifty years on it’s the great train robbery that slipped into iconic historic notoriety.
Duncan Kennedy BBC news in Buckinghamshire.