True Story No28

 

Finder keepers. No chance!

This story was recounted to me by a customer a few months ago when we were just chatting about this and that.

When he was a lad, just after the war, he lived near to a disused railway siding in which he'd noticed a row of wagons parked.

They were the box type with four wheels, wooden sides and a roof and he'd thought nothing of them really as they'd been there as long as he could remember.

That day in 1946 it started to rain heavily and he and his friend ran over to the row of wagons and crawled underneath one to shelter from the downpour.

As they lay on their backs looking out at the rain he had absentmindedly picked up a stick and was poking at the underside of the floor above his head.

Suddenly something hard and shiny slipped through a crack in the floorboards and fell on his face.

Picking it up he stared at it in disbelief.

It was a gold coin.

He poked between the floorboards again and a few more fell out….

The rain stopped and they crawled out from under the wagon.

It was securely locked.

Off they went home and he showed his father what he'd found.

Now, he explained, his father was a god-fearing man of the highest moral standards and without more ado had taken himself and his son to the local police station.

He handed over the little haul of gold sovereigns and they heard nothing more about the matter.

Shortly afterwards he noticed that the row of thirteen railway wagons had disappeared and the siding was now empty.

Later, he said he learnt more about the discovery.

At the outbreak of World War II the government was concerned that the Nazis may invade Britain and enslave the population.

To counter this threat they had envisaged the formation of a resistance network.

The network would need cash and this was to be provided by caches of gold located at strategic places across the country.

The cache for the South East of England was hidden in thirteen railway wagons in that disused siding.

Each wagon carried boxes of gold sovereigns covering the floor, presumably weighing close to the capacity of the wagon.

There were thirteen wagons.

During the bombing, like other records, the details and location of the secret plans were lost.

Only when some of the missing gold turned up by accident, and enquiries made, did someone presumably recall enough to recover all the caches.

Or did they recover them all?

 

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