“This was the era of the gangster, the bootlegger, the racketeer. Prohibition and a thirst for illicit alcohol were allowing organized crime groups to flourish.” https://t.co/5QHEQrpfcX
— Narratively (@Narratively) July 1, 2021
The Duffy brothers, Tommy and Joe, made a living through armed robbery in the Roaring Twenties. After serving a few years in prison, they were deported to Scotland in 1930. The brothers wanted to make enough money to get back to the US, but honest work was hard and not at all lucrative. So they decided to rob a bank.
For the Duffys, Newcastle upon Tyne, in the northeast of England, must have represented an even more appetizing target. It was more compact and less hectic than London, with fewer police officers — none of them armed with anything more than a truncheon. Importantly, the town was situated on the main road and rail routes between the brothers’ primary haunts of London and Edinburgh. The Cattle Market branch of Lloyds Bank seemed particularly vulnerable. It was small but busy. Late on a Friday afternoon, it was likely to be piled high with weekly deposits — including takings from Friday’s wholesale meat market. The Duffys planned to march through the front door, terrify the occupants into submission with their guns, and walk out the back door with the cash.
But Newcastle, a medieval walled city, had a long history of fending off aggressors, from marauding Viking raiders to invading Scottish armies. Proud of its relentless production of coal, ships and Newcastle Brown Ale, neglected by the government and disregarded by the rest of the country, this was a tough-as-nails city that was used to looking after itself. Its residents — known as Geordies — spoke in a dialect that was mostly impenetrable to outsiders. They were fiercely protective of their community. By 1933, the global depression was biting the city hard. Times were tough, and every penny was wrought from sweat and blood. The people of Newcastle would not give up their hard-earned money without a fight.
The Duffy brothers soon found out that robbing a bank in Newcastle was nothing at all like a typical American bank robbery of the 1920s. It was more like those movies where everything that can possibly go wrong happens, which you can read about at Narratively. -via Damn Interesting
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