Bruce Reynolds

Bruce Reynolds

English thief who masterminded the Great Train Robbery of 1963
Date of Birth: 07.09.1931
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Bruce Reynolds
  2. Bruce Reynolds passed away on February 28, 2013, at the age of 82.

Biography of Bruce Reynolds

Bruce Richard Reynolds was born on September 7, 1931, in London. He was the son of trade union activist Thomas Richard Reynolds and nurse Dorothy Margaret Keen. However, his mother passed away when Bruce was only four years old, which led to a difficult upbringing. Bruce often found himself alone or staying with his grandmothers.

Bruce Reynolds

During World War II, Bruce was evacuated to Suffolk and Warwickshire. Upon returning home, he failed the eyesight test to join the Royal Navy and instead decided to become a war correspondent. He started working at the media conglomerate 'Northcliffe House' and later moved to the accounting department of the newspaper 'Daily Mail'. However, the routine became mundane for Bruce, and at the age of 17, he joined a semi-professional racing cycling team.

It was during his time racing that Bruce first encountered criminal elements and embarked on a life of crime. After a series of petty thefts, he began stealing jewelry from country houses. In 1957, Bruce and Terry Hogan, a prominent figure in the criminal underworld, were arrested for attacking and robbing a bookmaker who had £500 in his pocket. Hogan received a sentence of 2.5 years, while Bruce served an additional year.

After his release in 1960, Bruce started trading antiques but did not abandon his criminal habits. When a gang of criminals, including Harry Booth and John Daly, came together, Bruce began planning the infamous train heist. Three months later, on August 8, 1963, seventeen criminals robbed a train in Buckinghamshire, stealing nearly £2.6 million.

Bruce fled to Mexico City via Toronto, where his wife Frances, now known as Angela, and their son Nick joined him. The family later moved to Montreal, Canada, spent some time in Vancouver, and eventually traveled to the south of France. Living under the name Keith Hiller, Bruce decided to settle in his childhood city before reconnecting with his accomplices.

On November 9, 1968, Hiller was arrested in Torquay, and his true identity was discovered. He quickly agreed to a deal to protect his wife and son and pleaded guilty to the Great Train Robbery. Bruce Reynolds was sentenced to 25 years in prison and was released in 1978.

By this time, Bruce was divorced and struggled to find legal ways to make a living. He tried his hand at textile trading but failed. He then returned to his criminal ways, trafficking contraband and laundering money for various drug dealers in South London. In the 1980s, he was arrested for an amphetamine-related case and served another three-year prison sentence.

After his release, Bruce became a consultant for the film 'Buster,' in which Larry Lamb portrayed Reynolds. He then published his autobiography, 'The Autobiography of a Thief,' in which he expressed how the train robbery became a curse, as it prevented him from finding legitimate employment. Reynolds wrote in the book: "I became an old conman living on the handouts of other old conmen."

Bruce Reynolds passed away on February 28, 2013, at the age of 82.