Wife of TRAIN ROBBERS' leader describes . .
OUR FIVE YEARS ON
FRANCES REYNOLDS, wife of Bruce Reynolds, tells of theIR fugitive lives. He has just been sent to jail for 25 years.
it started at the seaside and ended at the sea-
side — my five terrible, wonderful years with the
man the world knows as
Bruce Reynolds, Train
Every minute of that time he was a hunted man. And I was a hunted woman.
For three years my pic- ture was posted up alongside Bruce's outside every police station in Britain . . . "WANTED IN CONNEC- TION WITH THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY . . ."
For five long years every knock at the door has set my heart pounding.
Every time a stranger
looked at me I trembled. Every time I gave my name
I told a lie.
When you are the wife of a man on the run — and you love that man as I love Bruce — you live in a night- mare 24 hours every day.
All the money in the world can't bring you peace of mind.
I can honesdy say that all that Train money brought us nothing but misery.
Now suddenly it's all over. My picture is no longer out- side the police stations. I can look people straight in the
But Bruce is in jail for a lifetime — 25 years. I still can't sleep at night.
IN a way, of course, it is a
relief that it is all over.
People who have always lived normal, open lives can have no idea of the strain and tension of living for years on the run.
Don't think I am asking for sympathy. I stuck by Bruce because I loved him, whatever he had done, and I was prepared to share his life in the shadows.
No real identity
The worst thing when you are living on the run is that you haven't any real identity. You have no papers, no genuine passport, no employ- ment cards. You don't exist as a normal citizen. It is
almost impossible to get a
BRUCE and FRANCES REYNOLDS on their wedding day in Septembe,. 1961. They met when she was 11 and he was going out with her elder sister, Rita. Five years later, when Bruce had already been in prison, they met again and went on holiday together. "He's the only man
I ever loved," she said. "The obsession of my life ."
proper honest job. And even going to the dentist is full of difficulties and dangers.
After the Train Robbery the police search was con- centrated on three men— Bruce Reynolds, Buster Edwards, and Jim White.
The police never let up. All the world was looking for us—Interpol hunted us and our pictures were shown to tens of millions on both sides of the Atlantic via Telstar. The big rewards offered meant the public were looking for us, too.
We tried to live as normal a life as we could. But we
could never escape that awful feeling of being hunted animals . . . it was always there, and we could see it in each other's eyes.
When we were out driving, we instinctively memorised the numbers of cars behind us, to check if they seemed to be tailing us for too long.
Whenever we saw a police car we used to follow it for ages. It made me nervous, but Bruce said, "We've got to make sure they're not try- ing to ambush us."
Whenever we left our flat or house we had a careful look around first before closing the door behind us.
And whenever Bruce came
home he parked the car away
from the house first and took a careful walk around the block to make sure there were no police cars or suspicious - looking people hanging around. Anyone who stopped outside the house for long, either in a car or on foot, aroused our suspicions.
First part of
story of life on the run.
If visitors went into other flats in the building, or even into the house next door, we kept careful check on how long they stayed and how frequent their visits were.
Whenever we were looking for a new flat or house as a hideout, the first thing Bruce looked for was a good escape route at the back.
We had to watch every word we said, even when we were in our flat, for the walls were thin. In all these things
we could never relax our vigilance for one moment, and after a while the "hunted animal" technique
I always felt panicky, too, when I was out shopping and produced a £5 note. Most shopkeepers tend to look a bit longer at a fiver, but sometimes it seemed that they were staring at it for an
I know it is the price you have to pay if you fall in love with a man on the wrong side of the law. The strain of the continuous ten- sion was sometimes telling on both of us at the same time. We were always on edge.
● When the royal mail train was being robbed of £2,600,000 at Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, at 3 a.m. on August 8,1963, Frances was asleep in a holiday caravan at Winchelsea, on the Sussex coast.
BY the afternoon following
the train robbery every-
one on the caravan site was
talking about it, but we were too busy with the babies to take much notice.
My sister Barbara and I had gone down for a week's holiday. The caravan be- longed to our friend Jimmy White, and Jimmy's wife, Sheree, was staying there with us and her five-month old son, Stephen.
I had my son, Nick, with me, just over a year old; Barbara had Lorraine and was expecting another baby.
In the late afternoon, Barbara and I went to the bar with the caretaker. There was a military type in the bar talking about the train robbery.
He said a robbery like this, with split-second timing and discipline, could only have been pulled off by ex-Com- mandos, and he was glad the British had shown the Americans that our boys could pull off bigger jobs
Some insurance company had been withholding money from him, and he was glad they would have to pay the banks for the money lost on
On August 10, two days after the raid, Bruce came down with Barbara's hus-
band, John Daly, in John's
"Pack your things, we're off in fifteen minutes," Bruce said.
I was used to getting
ready in a hurry. He'd often come home and said
"There's a plane in two hours. Get ready and let's spend the weekend in
Both men were silent in the car, and I asked why they looked so tired.
"We had a celebration dinner in London at the Coq d'Or last night, Bruce said, "Caviar, chateaubriand, and claret. Then some drinks
"Celebration for what?" \ I
"Celebration for not hav- ing to live any more in places like that old house
"Now we can enjoy life,
guarantee Nick a good
future—and I won't get into trouble with the law any more." Bruce put his arm around me.
"I was on that train job," he said calmly.
It shocked me because we had been very happy the months before and I was afraid that life on the run might make us drift apart.
"I'm your wife," I said
"You are the first and only man I've loved, and I'll live with you wherever
"We only have to lie low for a few months, then all the fuss will have died down," said Bruce.
How wrong he was. In five years the pressure never
"I've hired a garage and the money is safe there," he said. "I am sure there is no evidence on the railway track or in our hideout at Leather- slade farm. We've got some- one there who's paid to des- troy the evidence."
Bruce felt so safe that he
had left the farm the day after the raid to buy an Austin-Healey car in London and have some shirts made.
During the next few days, when we stayed with friends, Bruce got more worried every day. He did not receive the expected news that the farm had been cleaned up.
Bruce told me: "I ex- pected to get confirmation that 'Operation Sweep Up' down on the farm had been
When the confirmation did not arrive, he arranged a
meeting. There were six men present and they discussed what could have happened.
Bruce told me later: "We were all quite confident none of us had left any prints, but we decided to make doubly sure by going down and making a second sweep.
We met at 2.30, and by half-past four, when we had just decided t0 go down to the farm that night, we were
shocked speechless by the 4.30 edition of the evening papers, carrying the news that the farm had been dis-
"After the shock we
planned to disperse and con- tact each other through certain call-boxes at certain times, using code names — mine is Percy — 'Public school Percy.'
"We are all in the dark. No one knows what's hap- pening. Our only informa- tion is what is in the news-
papers. Most of that seems nonsense—and yet we can't take any chances."
* * *
By now there was £260,000 stg. in rewards to tempt "friends" to betray the train robbers. Almost more worrying than the police, to Bruce and Frances, was the fear that underworld characters would find them and blackmail them — or, even worse, kidnap their baby and hold him to ransom.
IT was August 13, five days
after the train robbery, when we had that first great shock. Now it was every man
for himself until we knew what the police had found at
When Bruce got home, we took baby Nick down to Bruce's parents and then just drove around in Bruce's new Austin-Healey, thinking of all the people we knew and wondering who we could
We couldn't go to our best friends, because the police would watch them if they had found any evidence against Bruce on the farm.
There aren't many other kinds of friends you can trust with your life, especially with the reward tempting them.
Bag of fivers
There would soon be rumors in the Underworld that Bruce was on the job. Some of those boys would want a cut, and we were as worried about them as we were about the police.
Our one consolation was that Nick was safe and they couldn't get at the money through our son.
Nobody would put us up without cash on the nail, so Bruce had some "pocket- money" with him, as he called it—a hold-all full of fivers wrapped up in some dirty clothes.
He finally thought of a pal he knew from years back, so we left the car in Soho and went walking along with
FRANCES REYNOLDS, now 25, mother of a seven-year-old son, Nick, is slight, with feathery red hair, a freckled Irish face. Here she is by the sea, which she and Bruce enjoyed. They were planning to come to Australia at the time of his arrest (at Torquay, on the south coast of England). The picture at top shows Frances in a blonde wig she wore as disguise.
CARAVAN PARK, at Winchelsea, Sussex, where Frances, her sister, Barbara, and Sheree White and their children were staying at the time of the Great Train Robbery. This picture was taken at dawn. Robbery was at 3 a.m.
OUR FIVE YEARS ON THE RUN
Continued from previous page
After we'd gone some way we noticed that a fellow had been following us for some
Bruce said, "Stay at the next corner, that'll hold him back a bit."
I did this and Bruce went through a narrow alley into the first club he could find.
It was a "revue bar." Bruce got two tickets and we both went upstairs into a dimly lit room.
It was like a theatre; we were all sitting on hard chairs in long rows, and on the stage below us a busty girl was miming to some canned music. She started to take off her clothes, and I
watched the faces around
me staring at her.
When the lights went on
before the next act I had
quite a shock—I was the only woman in the room.
We had to sit through the show, because we would have
attracted too much attention leaving again so soon.
Nothing can rattle Bruce
when he knows he cannot do
anything about a situation and just has to sweat it out. He even enjoyed the strip
"Try to take your stock- ings off as lovingly tonight," he grinned at me.
I was glad when it was all over. We went down in the crowd and there was no one
hanging about outside the door or inside the foyer.
Bruce threw his coat over the hold-all and we got away quick. But it was just not our day.
When we finally got to his friend's place and knocked on the door, the man shouted from inside, "Go away, you jealous bastard, or I'll call the police!"
We kept on knocking and then we heard the bloke
making a phone call, saying,
FRANCES REYNOLDS crosses Piccadilly Circus, London, in long blonde wig and fur coat. She often had to leave clothes and possessions behind in a hurried move with her husband to some new hideout.
"Hello, is that the police? Look here, I'm being pestered . . ." and giving his
name and address.
We thought he was just having a joke, keeping us on tenterhooks a little, but then he opened the door a crack on the chain, and shouted, "God, it's you! I thought it was her husband! I really HAVE called the police!"
Bruce didn't know his
friend was living with a girl who had a jealous husband.
This was not the last time
other people's personal prob- lems and weaknesses almost spelled disaster for us.
We ran to the car, leaped in with the hold-all, and just
drove . . .
We spent the night under
assumed names at the Hilton hotel.
It is always better to go to a plush place like this, because they are less likely to suspect you and ask you questions like they might ask in one of the sleazy hotels near railway stations.
Bruce's rule was "When in doubt, go first-class."
Sometimes he was too cheeky. In France, later, he wrote in the visitors' book of a busy place:
"They seek them here, they
seek them there,
Those 'Old Bills' seek them
Are they in heaven, are they
Those darned, elusive . . .
He often quoted "The Scarlet Pimpernel" when we were on the run, and he wrote these words in the members' book at Le Vieux Moulin, a famous old restaurant at Cros-de-Cagnes,
Bruce had previously made me join the Order of Chevaliers du Vieux Moulin, instituted by M. Nestou, the owner.
I understand the order is recognised by the French Government. Elizabeth Tay- lor, John Wayne, Michael Wilding, Gary Cooper, and a number of blue-blooded people are also members of this fraternity.
I first signed the book in June, 1961, when we were in France long before the train robbery.
I was photographed with
my partner at the ceremony and following dance, the late speed-ace Donald Campbell.
Bruce joined the fraternity later, in 1962, and he was photographed with his part- ner and sponsor, film actress Corinne Calvert.
He was listed as: "Rey- nolds, Bruce, antique dealer, 40 Putney Hill, London."
France was the only coun- try abroad which we knew
well and where we could feel at home.
We talked about going to France in those first months after the train robbery, but decided it was too risky. The police would expect us to go there. We only went back in our fourth year on the run.
Nine days after the robbery, when they were staying with friends, the next blow fell. The Reynolds', who hungrily watched each TV news session, saw on the screen a car identical to the one Bruce had bought with £835 of stolen fivers. On it were their own registration marks. They now knew for certain the police were hunting Bruce for his part in the Great Train Robbery.
I'LL never forget the
moment when we saw our car flashed on the screen.
Bruce jumped up, told me to scrub the flat down, and said he'd be back in about an hour.
He took the car—the Austin-Healey the police were looking for, that mil- lions of people had just seen
—and drove off.
I was shaking, absolutely petrified. I started scrubbing and wiping the flat down— removing all our fingerprints —expecting him back any minute. But he was gone
I was worried stiff. It was
the first time I began to get the feeling that things were going badly wrong.
Bruce dumped the car at a garage near London Air- port, saying casually to the attendant, "I'm going
Bruce was now a hunted man —we knew it for cer- tain. This was the real
beginning of our five night- marish years of travelling from country to country, from one hideout to another, hunted by Scotland Yard, Interpol, and gangsters who were after our money.
But in spite of the bad moments, I was happy a lot of the time, because now I had Bruce to myself.
I first met Bruce when I was 11. He was 23 and incredibly glamorous. He was my elder sister Rita's boyfriend.
I adored Bruce even then.
I suppose I was an unhappy child. I was born in a poor part of Brixton, South London. Dad died when I was little and Mum was a
diabetic, always sick, and
she had a nervous break- down.
We four kids were put into foster-homes, but I went home again when I was four. I was the youngest.
We never had much money at home, and when Bruce was going with Rita he was incredibly kind to me. He was always buying me presents, like new
Then he was sent to
prison and Rita broke off with him. I began to write to him while he was inside.
When he came out I was 16.
Girls loved him
I remember quite clearly
when Bruce came out of prison. We were both embarrassed. We stood in the kitchen at home and did
not know what to say. He just took me and kissed me.
Then he said: "First I'll get my car out of the garage, then I'll come back and fetch you and we'll go
somewhere nice. It's about time you learned how to eat lobster and artichokes.
Maybe we'll get married,
but the artichokes are more important at the moment."
He took me on holiday to Jersey, in the Channel Islands. We lived together, then we married in 1961, and next year Nick was born.
Bruce had been a bit of a ladies' man; the girls just went for him. Some evenings
he had left me alone when he was out drinking with the boys.
Now I had Bruce all to myself. I never cared much for possessions, I just wanted
to be with him.
If you hanker after possessions you would never survive life on the run. If there is anything suspicious, even if it later proves to be
a false alarm, you must be prepared to leave everything behind at a moment's notice and start from scratch again somewhere else, buying clothes and furnishing a house again.
I furnished four homes in five years, and I never cared about leaving them as long
as Bruce was safe.
In those early years I was very jittery. Once I fled in a panic from a man just because he was wearing a blue shirt like a policeman.
I was not worried for myself, just afraid that lack of caution would endanger Bruce's freedom. But Bruce wasn't afraid of anyone. He even made a point of going up to uniformed police to ask the way, just to gain confidence and cure me of my jitters.
Bruce wasn't careless, but said that when you're on the run you have to behave natural, fit into your back ground.
He has a sense of style and he could fit into an expensive background. So we stayed at the most expensive hotels whatever city we were in.
Bruce said it was safer.
At different times during the five years we were at the Georges V in Paris, the Mar- tinez in Cannes, the Negresco in Nice, the Hilton in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Acapulco, the Beverly Wil- shire in Hollywood, and the Reine Elizabeth in Montreal.
We knew we had to get
away from London, and as you can't afford to stick out like a sore thumb, we thought of migrating to one of the English - speaking
There was Canada, but immigration control was quite stiff. The same problem arose in the States, we were told, and Australia would be an obvious place for Scot-
land Yard to look for us.
Someone told us there was no extradition between Britain and Mexico, and Bruce asked a friend to make inquiries.
But these things take time, and while arrangements were
made to get us false pass- ports, we had to sweat it out
Five days after the car was shown on TV, I got the shock of my life. I was shopping
in Oxford Street, London to replace some of the clothes we had to leave in our flight from our friends' flat.
Bruce had gone to St. Albans, a few miles north of London, to try to find us
somewhere to live.
I was just walking past D. H. Evans' store when I saw Bruce's face staring at me from the front page of
an evening paper.
I bought a paper and just stood, staring at it.
I felt I had to sit down before I could read it properly, so I went upstairs
to the D. H. Evans tea-room, and sat reading it over and
over. I felt numb.
I just didn't know what to
I knew I couldn't go back to the flat we were staying in, because the porter had seen us there, and he might have recognised us.
* * *
Up to this moment, Frances Reynolds had never taken any decision of consequence away from her husband, or without his knowledge and advice. This was a rough bap- tism in thinking for herself.
I HUNTED desperately
through my mind for the names of contacts that might not, by now, be known to the police. From a call-box at the store, I phoned a man who said he would find me
a place in Canterbury to stay until Bruce could get in
touch with me.
He collected me in Oxford Street and drove me straight down to Canterbury.
My great fear was that Bruce might have missed that edition of the papers.
Had he seen the pictures in time? If not, he would go back to our flat and the Porter would surely have recognised him and told the
Bruce told me later that he walked into a newsagent's in St. Albans High Street to get a paper and found he was looking at himself.
He was as shaken as I was —especially as he was easily recognisable at that stage. But the fellow behind the
counter obviously had not
He did not go back to our
flat, but sought refuge with
He said those two days were the most terrible of our whole time on the run.
He was looking out of the window all the time, jump- ing at every knock on the
door. He was in the house of one of his closest friends, and the police knew all about their friendship and would certainly turn the place over within a few days.
We soon found out how right we were to be cautious. In the TV news they said the police were flooded with information from people who thought they had recognised Bruce from the photos pub-
One victim of this was "Checkers," another of the train robbers, the hairdresser Gordon Goody, who lived near us in Putney.
He had driven up to Leicester, most of the way by taxi after his car broke down, and booked a room in the Grand Hotel, where he was staying with the local Beauty Queen.
True to form, Checkers had bought her a big, expen- sive bunch of flowers. The florist was interested in the Beauty Queen, who had been in all the papers, and he wondered what important rich person her lover might
Then he saw the picture of Bruce in the paper.
Though Goody looks quite different from Bruce, he was
wearing glasses to disguise himself, and this was his
The florist decided this must be Bruce and reported to the police.
Two detectives burst into the hotel room, convinced they had Bruce, and Checkers finally had to admit to Superintendent Butler who
The police suspected Checkers at the time, but there was no evidence against him, and they had to let him go again on bail. He had to report once a week, and he was arrested for his part in the Great Train Robbery a
I stayed in the house in Canterbury for a week.
I went to the hairdresser and asked them to change my hairstyle and dye my reddish hair—and they made a terrible, ghastly mess of it.
They cut it finger-short and dyed it such a brilliant red that people in the street turned their heads when I went past.
I had to go to another hairdresser to get it toned
The couple I was staying
with loved Whitstable oysters, but I couldn't really enjoy the good meals.
The man had been looking
after another train robber
before. I bought him cigars
and went to the beach with his kids.
After a week I finally got a message that I had to meet somebody I did not know
and had never seen before.
I only had his description and he had mine. He would recognise me by the clothes I was wearing, which I
described as a brown check coat and green hat.
I took the train to London.
I had left all my clothes in
the flat we never returned
to, after Bruce's photo was published.
I just didn't want to face my husband again without nice clothes. After all, he would only have me to look at during the months to
I wore a blond wig and went shopping at Harrods. But what a shock I had when the girl put my £5 note with the bill into a container to send it to the accounts department.
"We have instructions to watch all the £5 notes," she said, "just in case some of them come from that train."
I was glad when my change came.
It cost Bruce £20,000 stg. to change £40,000 of stolen
notes at the underworld rate of 10/- in the £.
I took the next train to
Tooting Bee underground
A man came up to me and took me to a house in South
London, where to my great joy I saw Bruce again.
"If I can't be with you it's not worth my freedom and this life on the run," he said.
I didn't have to say any- thing. He knew from my kiss.
Bruce had been in a cot-
tage belonging to a fellow who was on holiday. And, most important to us, dur- ing this time he had removed our share of the train money from its hiding place in the
He told me: "I was afraid the hiding place was danger- ous. Although I'd used another name, I thought I might have been recognised by the estate agents who leased me the garage.
"So I made an evening sortie and moved the junk that was hiding the money, took six bags out, and drove 80 miles, there and back, leaving the bags at another safe place.
"And was I pleased to get back to the security of the cottage—though it was little enough security, really.
"When I got back I found another move was planned.
"The friend I was staying with was very nervous— as well he might be. He was known as a friend of mine and it was quite possible for the police to come to his house at any time and search
"So it was suggested I stay at a friend of a friend's place for a few days —I agreed."
In a message about this move which he sent to my Canterbury hideout, Bruce wrote: "This new place is a small cottage and the owner has been having domestic troubles with his wife, so he was quite willing to move out, for a considera- tion, for a few days.
"I was told not to answer the door to anyone, as no one would call, not to put on the lights, radio, etc.
"I was to be there isolated for three days and I suppose I would have been but for the fact that the owner had forgotten to explain a certain agreement he had with his next - door neighbor, a remarkably pretty woman.
Woman had key
"It appeared that when she knew the wife was away she would come in and play. She had her own key and let herself in early in the morn- ing and woke me from a vodka-induced sleep—it took her a few minutes to realise I wasn't him and then, of course, I didn't know who she was.
"The truth came out over a cup of tea as I explained that he was trying to effect a reconciliation with his wife and I had lent him my flat in town. She accepted it without any query, and after tea, but without play, left.
"I went on the telephone immediately, explaining what had happened — and my fears that she might recog- nise me in the future. I was
moved within a couple of hours to another temporary 'home,' which I shared with a large family of very young kids for a further few days.
"My next move entails to be reunited with you. I miss you very much although we have not been apart very long, timewise — the period has no stability to it, there by ensuring insecurity. Hav- ing you with me will be an
To page 14
ON THE RUN
ABOVE: Bruce and Frances soon after their marriage. At left is the photo- graph taken of Reynolds for his false passport as Keith Clement Miller. He put on two stone in their Albert Mews hideout and shaved his hair.
● For the next few months the Reynolds' were con- stantly on the move. They could never settle. There was always some scare — they couldn't take any chances, so they had to move yet once more.
AFTER my return from
Canterbury, first we had a week in a council house in. South London. But the couple we stayed with had rows all the time, so we left.
Then we moved to another house nearby which belonged to someone who was on holi- day. There was sufficient tinned food in the house, but we had to make sure we were never seen, because neighbors and tradesmen knew the owner was away.
One night we were in bed
when we heard some scratch- ing at the front door. It could be a burglar who knew the place was empty, a neigh- bor with a key, or an animal.
We just couldn't take a chance that it was someone who expected the place to be empty, so I sneaked out the back door to the back street, doubled back, and walked along the front of the house.
Whoever it was must have
cleared off quickly. The
owner heard later that an-
other empty house in the street had been burgled that night.
We were glad when the owner came back after a
week. I went out shopping with her — this was August 30, only 22 days after the train robbery — and popped
into the butcher's.
I froze when he said:
"Best fillet as always, Mrs. Reynolds?"
He was my old butcher from Putney, where we lived before the robbery.
I just nodded dumbly and got out as quick as I could. I never forget that day.
I went around some corners and into a pub to steady my nerves and get off the street. I could not return
to the house immediately in
case I was followed.
I sat there drinking vodka and lime. People didn't take much notice, because they were looking at the TV
The news came on. I, too, stared at the screen — sud denly Frances Reynolds was staring back at me!
They'd flashed my picture and my sister Barbara's on to the screen together with photos of Bruce and Bar- bara's husband, John.
"Wanted in connection with the Great Train Rob- bery. Any person who can give information to contact,
etc. . . ."
Move in minutes
I was in a complete daze. Luckily the man behind the bar was so busy serving drinks that he hadn't seen the picture. I put a 10/- note
on the counter and left.
Surely, the butcher would now tell Scotland Yard, and we had to get moving within
From a phone box we rang a friend called Tich, who picked us up and let us stay in his flat. We were to stay there until we could find a more permanent place.
Our friends were waiting for the lease of a mews flat in Kensington to come through for us.
We stayed at Tich's flat until October 30 waiting for the mews flat to be got ready.
Conditions were terrible. Tich and his wife were often quarrelling and tension was high. It was a very tiny place. We had the use of the front room with a pull- down bed. They lived in the main bedroom. After a few weeks the situation be- came so bad that we had to make other arrangements.
Tich suggested that we move to his other place, a house at Clapham Common, South London, and after a time there, when we had to move again, friends found a dry-cleaner's shop in Croy- don, and we stayed in the living quarters at the back.
It was an awful old wreck of a place and we had to spend about £1000 just trying to make it
I had to buy furniture — and thick carpets to deaden the noise of us moving around, because the living quarters were supposed to be empty.
We bought a TV set, settee, bed, coffee table, and kitchen equipment. All the things had to be moved in
The lavatory was at the bottom, of the yard, with a neighbor's garden overlook- ing it.
We had to have a bath put in and an outhouse built at the back of the house so we could walk through to the toilet without being seen by the neighbors. The work had to be done at night.
When we passed the windows we had to duck, because neighbors thought nobody was living in the flat. When we pulled the toilet chain we were afraid of the noise it made. We could not go out, had to spend all day reading, look- ing at TV, drinking, and talking.
The couple who fixed us up had to do the shopping for us. We played cards and
never missed the news.
There was only the small lounge, one bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
We decided it was only worth going on living like that if at least we had food and drink we could enjoy. So after a while I went out shopping for myself.
I was terribly jumpy at first, having to pass a police station with my photo out- side. But even if I had been caught, Bruce would have been safe. I never went home by a direct route and made sure nobody was following.
We were just settling down when a new scare put us on the move again.
Our best friend's car was stolen just around the
corner from the shop — obviously by someone who knew about the friendship and hoped there was train robbery money in the car. This fellow might also know
about our flat.
So we moved back to Tich's house at Clapham for
Once the TV went wrong and an engineer came. Bruce was hiding. I made my hair wet and put it into a towel so the fellow would not recognise me. We could not go out to restaurants, parties, or the cinema. All we had was TV and drink.
We played endless games of gin rummy. We didn't really bet. We used to lay
out fivers we had from the
robbery on the table and pretend we were betting with those. But, of course, it might as well have been toy money for all it meant to us. We couldn't use it.
Finally, we heard the mews flat was ready for us to move in. We went over to the
dry-cleaner's place in Croy- don to pack the furniture we had bought, then back to Tich's house.
It was December 3, 1963, and never did we sober up so quickly. On the evening
TV news it was announced that my sister Barbara and her husband, John Daly, had been found in an Eaton Square flat.
John had been arrested and Barbara, being pregnant, was staying with friends. We
"It's like the ten little nigger boys. One after the other disappears and in the end there's no one left," said
We both felt the net was tightening around us. There seemed to be nothing we could do but wait for the inevitable to happen. We drank heavily that night, but didn't enjoy it. Like a last meal before they catch you, swallowed while you see them closing in relentlessly. You drench your fears.
"What would we do in those four minutes between
the warning and the nuclear bomb killing us?" asked Bruce. We both knew it: we would make love. Fear is the best aphrodisiac.
We drank half a dozen bottles of the best cham- pagne we had, always con- scious of John's arrest. At 10 p.m. I went upstairs for my bag—and when I entered the bedroom I saw a uni- formed policeman clamber- ing over the windowsill.
I just stood there, stupid
with the drink and the shock and stared at him.
He said, "Good evening, Madam. Sorry to trouble you. A neighbor thinks she saw someone climbing in here. Is anything missing?"
I looked quickly round the room and said, "No."
Then I stumbled down stairs and shouted to Bruce, "The law's upstairs!"
The policeman followed and asked me to open the front door to his colleagues.
Something very strange happened to me. To this day I've never quite understood it. My normal reaction to things like this is to be
I was wearing only a dressing-gown, and helped by the drink I found my self giving the best perform-
ance of my life.
There were two policemen
at the front door.
"We had a report from the woman who lives opposite," one said. "She saw
the upstairs window. Did you see anyone in the
I assured them there was no one else in the house, and screamed hysterically when they insisted on looking in the ground-floor room.
They burst open the door. "Who's that?" they de-
In the middle of the room stood Bruce. He had ripped
off all his clothes.
"Please don't tell my hus- band," I screamed, tears run-
ning down my face. This is my lover, and if my husband
finds out he'll kill me." They
were obviously embarrassed
to look at me.
Mews house was perfect hideaway for Reynolds
"Haven't I seen you
before?" one cop asked
Bruce gave some phony name and address.
"You'd better get dressed. We'll be back," they said.
We watched the unbeliev- able sight of the police going out—shutting the door
We rushed upstairs and found that a burglar, obviously tipped off that train-robbery money was in the flat, had left before the police arrived.
He had taken a briefcase from under the bed with £5000 and some of my jewellery.
Bruce left the house at once and told me he would make arrangements to pick me up next day.
For the rest of the night I was alone, trembling when ever I heard a noise inside or outside.
Would they pick up Bruce when he left? I just sat there, stone-drunk, waiting.
Dazed with fright
Surely the police would be back within hours once they discovered the name and address Bruce had given was phony—or they remembered the face they had seen in the "Police Gazette," in the papers, and on TV.
I got drunker and drunker through the night.
Once I found myself shouting: "Come and get me, then! Why don't you come and get me? I'm waiting, you bastards, I'm waiting!"
I was so paralysed with fright I couldn't even walk up the stairs.
At 6 a.m., still in a daze, I started packing — just clothes and personal things.
It wasn't until 3 p.m. that a friend came round with a van. And I'll never forget the first thing this chap said
I'd been sitting through the worst 15 hours of my life and he says brightly, hello, Im hungry. Got anything to eat?"
He had to go without his snack. We packed the van and were off.
Someone who went back an hour later t0 pick up a box said the police were all over the place.
● To Frances Reynolds and her husband this wasn't just another fan- tastic escape. It seemed to them proof that fate was willing them to suc- ceed, when most of the other train robbers had been caught by accident.
I MET Bruce and he told
me he'd gone to a club, changing taxis several times.
There he found out that, by sheer luck, the mews flat we were waiting for had been vacated the same day.
He went round there, and the key was in the door. It seemed fate was on our side, though he had nearly been caught within hours of his
Fate couldn't have made that flat available at a better time.
We moved into the mews —our first real home since the train robbery.
It was really quite a luxurious small house — entrance on the ground floor, living accommodation u-p stairs—at 18 Albert Mews, off Gloucester Road, Ken- sington. It was a perfect hideaway in the heart of an expensive part of London.
For the first time we had something like a normal life again—but, mind you, Bruce never left the house until the day he went overseas.
The mews house cost us £18 a week, and the next door house was empty. It could not have been more discreet.
Bruce just crept in one night, and as far as the neighbors were concerned I was living alone.
It was an unfurnished place and I had to go out to buy furniture. I used the name of Mrs. West, wore wigs and furry hats that covered almost all my face. In a big sheepskin coat, suit- able for the winter, there was little of me to be seen.
Our friend Lennie called round quite often. His car was parked outside, so people thought I was married, but living on my own. Bruce
was never seen all the time we lived there.
I had not altered my appearance significantly, but lack of exercise made Bruce put on weight.
At the time there were newspaper reports that a
Hamburg surgeon had recog- nised Bruce as a man who had had a plastic operation, but this was all nonsense.
All the time we were
cooped up there we lived very well. We ate the best and drank a lot, especially wine and champagne. We had to compensate somehow for the life we were leading.
I used to go to Harrods for smoked salmon and to our local butchers, who were very good.
We had a weekly standing order with a Jermyn Street wine merchant for a dozen bottles of burgundy and 24 bottles of champagne — 12 Veuve Clicquot Rose and 12 Dom Perignon '55.
We got through it all quite easily. It wasn't that we were drinking to drown our troubles. We just love wine — and, quite frankly, it was something to do.
Bruce taught me how to cook. I'd scarcely been able to boil an egg before. But Bruce loves cooking. So I'd go to Harrods' food depart- ment and buy really good raw materials, and we'd have fun trying out all the recipes in Robert Carrier's book "Great Dishes of the World."
Bruce went up from his normal 13½£ stone to 16 stone and more. This was an advantage in a way, because it altered his appearance, and when we had a photo taken for the passport we were expecting he looked completely different, some thing like Goldfinger.
Had to keep fit
Bruce sported a heavy moustache and long hair, but when it grew too long I attempted to cut it. What a mess I made of it! The only
answer was to shave it all off.
Putting on weight was all right for changing his appearance, but he had to be fit in case he got into
trouble and had to run for
it. So I bought him weight- lifting equipment for Christmas, and a rowing
I had to smuggle it into
the house because of the neighbors, who would never have believed that I was
LIVING quarters behind the dry-cleaner's shop in Croydon, Surrey (below), which the Reynolds' occupied briefly after the robbery.
using all that keep-fit
Not being able to go out was hard on Bruce. To ease the strain of being cooped up together day and night, we had an arrangement that I was allowed to go out every Friday evening.
He was very good about it. He ran my bathwater, chose my dresses, and kept urging me to get ready. A friend would call for me, we would go out to restaur- ants or clubs which I did not
frequent before, and the
friend would take me home to the mews.
Once we lost our way and Bruce was in quite a state, afraid that something had happened to me. It was always great to be together again like man and wife on Friday night.
I used to love him so much for letting me go out. It made me feel closer to him than ever before.
One Friday night my
escort took me to the Carl- ton Tower Hotel. I was standing in front of a mirror in the ladies' room when I saw my sister Barbara walk
We had always been close, and I was longing to say "hello," because I hadn't seen her since the robbery. But I just turned away and
My instinct was now so trained to run and hide, I did so even from my own
There was one time when I couldn't go out at all. They made a film outside
It just seemed slightly inconvenient at first, then looked alarming when I recognised one of the bit-part
actors as someone we knew.
Unfortunately, we were expecting a close friend — someone well known to the actor. We knew if the actor saw him he'd put two and two together. Luckily, after four hours, the film unit moved away.
Another time I came back home and saw a number of
policemen near the entrance
to the mews. I walked in circles until I realised the cause was just some minor accident. But Bruce was ter- ribly worried when I returned so late. I'm glad he didn't go
out to look for me.
I had nothing delivered, not even milk. Everything I bought — and bought with cash. Naturally, we didn't
AT ALBERT MEWS. Bruce taught Frances to cook. "We ate the best, and drank a lot of wine. It was something to do," she says.
have a cheque-book, and people often become sus- picious when you pay for expensive items in cash.
I always used to bargain to explain it: "But if I pay cash now, could I get a discount of five percent?"
Very often I got the dis- count, but in any case no one queried afterward why I did pay cash.
I bought a velvet three piece suite for the house, heavy carpets to drown the noise, a king-sized bed, specially made, and modern kitchen equipment.
I always bought new records — modern jazz, Bru- beck, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra. In the evenings, when the TV programs had finished, we used to sit and talk, planning for the future.
We were still concerned about our son, but it would have been impossible and
unfair to live with him the
way we had to live. Our con-
solation was that he was with friends who loved and cared for him as much as we did.
We spent the first Christ- mas together in Albert Mews. I gave Bruce some presents I had bought. "All I can give you is my love," he said. It was a wonderful night.
We had a telephone in the flat, but Bruce never used it. We received calls, but made no outgoing ones. If I had to memorise a telephone number I scribbled it in sec- tions between the wallpaper pattern and no one else could have put it together.
At the beginning we had signals. When someone tele- phoned us they used to let it ring three times, put the receiver down, and then ring again.
Anyhow, if the phone rang and I was in any doubt as to who it was, I just said "wrong number."
Later, we had a simple code system. Whenever one of us said "sweetie"—which normally we did not use—it meant there was danger and it was better to stay away.
We had a loft in the mews and Bruce used to
climb up there in case of
One day there was a
knock at the door. Bruce shot up to the loft and I opened the door.
A man stood there. "Mrs. Conway?" he asked.
I said "Yes" automati-
cally. It happened to be the
name I had used in Canter-
bury and at my hairdresser's,
As soon as I had spoken I realised what a horrifying
mistake I'd made. I had for gotten for a split second I
was Mrs. West.
It turned out that the previous tenants' name was Conway and they had chil- dren. This man was from the school board.
I managed to muddle my way out of it somehow. At least I felt safer when Bruce was in the loft.
A bad scare the very day
after we moved into the
mews had led us to clearing
the loft. A man came to
check on the decorating which had just been done, he wanted to see all the rooms and Bruce had to face him.
Bruce was absolutely petri- fied. After that we left the door to the loft always open. Bruce had some books up there in case he had to stay
We used to read a lot — and talk a lot.
Talk is easier when you are having a drink as well. We always found something new to talk about: our hopes, our experiences, our past, the news and newspapers, sex, jazz, people, and places.
Bruce was up to date on politics, he had strong feel- ings for the trade unions, but
I wasn't so interested in all that.
It gave me tremendous pride that I was able to do so many practical things for Bruce at this time. He is everything to me, I crave
When we were first married it took some time for him to trust me. After all, my sister Rita broke with
To page 33
OUR LIVES ON THE RUN
Continued from page 15
Even after living together for a year, he still wasn't quite sure of me. But I was very young — just 17 — and I worshipped him. I took fantastic pleasure in doing anything for him.
I don't think he'd ever had such total love from anyone before in his life. His mother died when he was little. He was sent to live with his grandmother. He called her "a lovely old soul," and he adored her.
But the war came and he was shifted from foster family to foster-family. And his grandmother died. So until we'd been married some time I don't think he ever gave his trust com- pletely to anyone again.
Most of his life before we married had just been impulsive.
His first ambition was to join the Navy, but he was rejected because of poor eyesight.
Then he thought he'd like to be a reporter, and went to the London "Daily Mail" to ask for a job.
They said he could start at the bottom, so he was a messenger boy, and worked his way up to an office job, still without chance of being
He sat in this huge office, and he looked round and saw a man who had sat at the
same desk for 25 years doing the same things.
He knew he couldn't be like that. But crime wasn't in his mind in those days.
He adored racing bikes, and for a time he worked in a cycle shop and a car dealer's. He was going around with a gang of friends who weren't, perhaps,
too good for him.
He had a couple of spells in Borstal, trouble for going absent without leave on National Service, a few more
In 1961, while we were on holiday in the South of France he had a bad car crash. It seemed certain his
arm would have to be ampu-
This sobered him up a bit for a time, and he decided we should get married.
He had to be careful of showing the scars on his arm when we were on the run.
After the train robbery, whatever material thing we wanted we could buy — and knowing this we didn't bother to buy it.
We often said what dreary lives millionaires must live.
A good friend
Now all we could buy with all that money was Bruce's freedom, and in those first months we often had to pay heavily for it.
But we were not black- mailed out of our money, like Jimmy White or Buster
Bruce had a marvellous
friend who protected him and helped us in many ways.
This friend had been involved in some punch-up with the police when Bruce was a bystander.
A policeman caught his friend, who unlike Bruce had no "form" at all — had
never been in prison.
So Bruce kicked the cop in the shins; his friend got away, and Bruce was sent to prison instead. This friend has never forgotten. He is now a very successful busi-
● In Albert Mews the Reynolds' gradually began to feel secure. They thought they had only to stick it out and the police would call off the chase. Then came the trial of the other train robbers, who
had been arrested.
WE began to hope we
could make the mews house our permanent home. We felt more secure there than anywhere else we had stayed.
Bruce had worked out an escape route in case of
FRANCES first met Bruce when she was only 11. Here she is (left) at the age of 13, with a sports car Bruce owned in those days.
emergencies. We stayed only in houses with back exits, doors, or windows, or access to the roof.
The trial of the train robbers who had been caught was coming up. We thought that after the trial the police
would be satisfied and would
give up looking for train
We hoped we would soon be able to have our boy Nicky with us again.
Bruce always kept in mind that he might have to go overseas, but we were together and quite happy in
Bruce also wanted to hear the verdicts against the other train robbers before deciding
what to do.
Then, on March 25, 1964, we heard the verdicts on the television news.
We couldn't talk for half an hour.
Bruce just sat there and
died in front of me.
Thirty years . . . It seemed incredible—vicious revenge, not justice.
It seemed to us the length of the sentences was directly affected by the amount of public sympathy the robbers had got.
It was a mass slaughter. Bang! Bang! Bang! Big and small, they all went
down the same.
Give himself up?
The public was being told, "This is NOT something to
"If we'd killed or used violence we'd have got less bird," Bruce said finally.
"It's not lives that matter
to them but property they have to protect. Her Majesty's Mail! It's the revenge of the Establish ment, not justice.
"You know, I would be
an old man over 60 when I
came back to you—that's if they ever catch me."
Bruce had talked, from time to time, of giving him- self up for Nick's sake, so we could be in the clear.
But after these sentences there was no more talk of that.
Bruce was even more con- firmed in this view later when he read "Robber's Tale," a book about the train robbery in which he was openly named organiser and leader of the gang that robbed the
And the newspapers were naming him a "train robber."
This — and putting inno- cent wives' photos on police posters — had never been done before.
"What's the use of giving myself up?" Bruce said. "I've been convicted before I even appear in court."
We were very gloomy when we celebrated my birthday in April.
It was at that time we
FRANCES REYNOLDS with her son, Nicky. This picture was taken shortly before the train robbery, which separated mother and son.
definitely decided we had to go abroad.
What good was all that money, what good Bruce's freedom if we were cooped up in a house all the time?
After the trial verdicts the
pressure remained, and we
knew we could never lead an ordinary life as long as
we lived in Britain.
This although we had been the most law-abiding citizens since we were on the
Too well known
We just could not afford any confrontation with the police — even over speeding or a parking ticket.
We couldn't return to France at that time. We were too well known there, and it would be the first place Superintendent Butler would
expect us to go.
We liked the idea of going to America or Canada, but immigration laws are strict, and we just had not suffici- ent confidence in our new passport backgrounds.
Friends gave us a list of countries with no extradi- tion agreements with Britain, and Mexico struck our fancy.
It was a non-English speaking country and the police would probably not expect us to go there.
On the other hand, it was a country full of Americans and also English-speaking tourists, so we would not stick out like a sore thumb.
Bruce got hold of a book
on how to live and invest in Mexico. This was the basis of his knowledge of how to
He was not naive. He knew the Mexicans would extradite him if Scotland
Yard put the pressure on.
But at least there would be some delay if he were caught, and maybe time to do some- thing about it.
So—Mexico it was!
There was some delay with my passport. Bruce's came first. It cost £2000. You
have to pay special rates if you are a train robber.
Bruce was now Keith Clement Miller, a writer.
With his moustache, added weight, and Yul Brynner
NEXT WEEK: Scotland Yard
flight to Mexico
head, he looked completely different and ten years older.
I became Angela, and in five years we got so used to calling each other Keith and Angela, even in bed, that we keep it up today. These first
names remind us of the
happy years we had in
The idea was that Bruce would leave first, and I would follow later with
Nicky, as soon as my pass- port came through.
The police knew where Nicky was, so our plan was that once Bruce was gone I should surrender to Scotland
Yard and pretend I wasn't having anything more to do with Bruce, and claim my baby.
It was a dangerous move, but never for a moment did Bruce consider leaving Nick and me behind for good.
He felt that if he couldn't have us with him there was no point having the money or the freedom.
I was terrified of going to the police, but tried to reassure myself there was nothing they could do to me.
So, in June, ten months after the robbery, Bruce walked out of the flat in Albert Mews.
A brief goodbye, and he
I did not know when or where I would see him again. I was alone.
A few days later, on a sunny July morning, I stood outside Scotland Yard, try- ing to force myself to go in and ask for Superintendent Butler. I was so frightened I had not slept once the night before.
Eventually I walked in, and said to the sergeant at the desk: "I understand
you're looking for me. I'm Frances Reynolds, wife of Bruce Reynolds."
● Copyright Frances Rey- nolds and Pixfeatures, Eng-