The following is the first-hand account of Marilyn Vinall, Post Office worker, in the aftermath of the Great Train Robbery.
My first employment at the age of 16 years was at Guildford Post/Sorting Office, Woodbridge Meadows. Late one evening the Head Postmaster came to my parent’s house and said that I had to return to work because something very important had occurred. My parents were far from happy about this situation (I was actually in bed and asleep but because the Head Postmaster of Guildford carried quite a lot of authority at that time, my parents agreed – I guess they were in awe of him and I was too).
When I arrived at the Post Office there were two very official looking men waiting for me. I was introduced and then reminded that I had signed the Official Secrets Act – I was rather naive and didn’t really know what this meant but I thought it made me very important. It was explained to me that Guildford Post Office had been chosen to collate information about a robbery and during the next days I typed many documents including the Post Office “wanted” notices, which were subsequently printed and circulated to other offices in the country. I specifically remember that the two men were on the trail of the robber who was captured in a caravan at Box Hill, Dorking and they were very excited about this quick outcome.
When the work was completed my reward was a meal in a Guildford restaurant with these two men…this was exciting as it was the first time I had eaten in a restaurant in the evening.
Years later when I realised that the Great Train Robbery was going to become part of history I was reminded of my small involvement.
– Marilyn Vinall
The BPMA is very grateful to Marilyn Vinall for allowing us to share her memories of the aftermath of the robbery.
Our exhibition The Great Train Robbery, the aftermath and the Investigations: A Story from the Archive is travelling to Loughborough, Peterborough and Darlington in October. It can also be viewed online.