Irish boxer once suspected in Great Train Robbery passes away

Irish boxer once suspected in Great Train Robbery passes away

AN Irishman questioned over the Great Train Robbery has died aged 91.

Gerry Morohan was scheduled to work in the postal carriage the night of the infamous raid and was listed as a suspect in the investigation that followed.

But the inner-city Dubliner, who won national titles as a boxer before emigrating to Britain in 1959, had his feet up in Ireland on the night of the heist.

Yet in the hours that followed he found himself the subject of interrogation by gardaí.

Mark Morohan told The Irish Post that his father worked the Euston to Glasgow route ‘day-in day-out’ and would have been on duty that fateful night but for a twist of fate that saw him take a short break to Ireland to visit family.

“He used to talk about the gardaí coming to the house in Dublin, to tell him of the robbery and to question him,” said Morohan. “They wanted to know what he was doing; was he an informant?

“He worked that train route day-in and day-out; he worked sorting letters on the move and would have been on the train that night had he not been on holidays in Ireland.

“I’m surmising that the police contacted the post office to draw up a list of suspects and they would have been given dad’s address which was passed on to the gardaí. They questioned him until they were satisfied that he was not in England at that time.

“He found it all very amusing.”

Regarded as one of the crimes of the century the British robbery remains steeped in mystery and intrigue.

One direct Irish link to the £2.6m theft [estimated to be £40m in today’s money] is an anonymous Tyrone man who went by the moniker ‘The Ulsterman’.

He has been credited as ‘the fixer’ behind the raid by other surviving members of the gang and his identity looked set to be revealed last year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the crime, but confirmation has yet to be disclosed.

However, Morohan said his father had no time for the romanticism attached to a crime that resulted in the brutal assault of train driver Jack Mills — who later died of poor health, linked with the assault.

“He was dead against all of that,” said Morohan. “Thank God it wasn’t him there that night because being an ex-boxer he probably would have had a go and there would have been four or five of them.”

Morohan died on Friday, May 9, following a long battle with illness. His funeral will take place in Eastleigh in Hampshire on May 28.

The former boxer represented Ireland at bantamweight and flyweight during the 1940s, but first shot to prominence in 1942 when recording a shock victory over then Irish champion Willie Lenihan. He settled in Barking and later Ilford.

In December 2013 the best known Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs died of poor health in East Barnet, while months beforehand, in February, his accomplice Bruce Reynolds died in his sleep.