| 8.9°C Dublin

air male Daredevil who mailed himself home from Australia in 1960s on the hunt for Irishmen who helped him

Irishmen 'Paul' and 'John' and helped pack Brian Robson into a box before attempting to post him from Melbourne to London

Close

Brian Robson is searching for his Irish pals who nailed him into a wooden crate and posted him from Australia to Los Angeles

Brian Robson is searching for his Irish pals who nailed him into a wooden crate and posted him from Australia to Los Angeles

Brian Robson is searching for his Irish pals who nailed him into a wooden crate and posted him from Australia to Los Angeles

A Welshman who literally mailed himself home from Australia in the 1960s is on the hunt for his two Irish friends who helped him.

Brian Robson was just 19 years old when two of his friends from Ireland, ‘John’ and ‘Paul’, helped pack him into a wooden crate so he could be airmailed from Melbourne in Australia back to the UK in 1965.

The teen had travelled to Australia back then as part of an employment initiative to get people to emigrate to Oz.

As part of the scheme Mr Robson ended up working on the Australian railroad system.

It was a job he hated, and soon all he could think about was returning home to his native Cardiff.

However, the £40 a month he was earning on the railroad wasn't enough to stump up £700 cash to repay the bosses of the initiative for his early return home, so he was, effectively, stuck there.

So, he came up with the most logical idea he could think of at the time; to pack himself into a wooden box and simply post himself back home - for a fraction of the price!

Now Mr Robson, aged 75, is writing a book about the experience, ‘The Crate Escape’.

Close

When Mr Robson was discovered in the crate in Los Angeles, he was quizzed by the FBI who thought he was a Cold War spy

When Mr Robson was discovered in the crate in Los Angeles, he was quizzed by the FBI who thought he was a Cold War spy

When Mr Robson was discovered in the crate in Los Angeles, he was quizzed by the FBI who thought he was a Cold War spy

Unfortunately, the trip back home in the cargo hold of an aeroplane didn't quite go to plan and he ended up in Los Angeles being quizzed by the FBI who thought he was a Cold War spy trying to smuggle his way into the USA.

Now he’s desperate to reconnect with his two Irish pals, who were in two minds about the dangerous and daring endeavour back in the day.

He said: "Paul was really 100% against it, but John said, 'don't worry about it, I'll persuade him'. And so, they both went ahead and helped."

Apart from the names of his old friends, all Mr Robson really remembers about them is that they both went to school together back in Ireland.

He spoke of how, how for his first day inside the wooden crate, which he described as being about the same size as a small fridge, freight handlers paid little attention to the sticker on the side of the box which read 'THIS WAY UP'.

As a result, he spent the first 22 hours of his adventure travelling upside down on his head, suffering blackouts and nausea.

All he took with him on his grueling journey was a suitcase, a bottle of water, an empty bottle for pee, some pillows and a torch.

However, his journey, which should have taken 36 hours, ended up lasting three times that, because the flight he was supposed to be on was booked up, so instead of travelling his original route from Melbourne to London, he was unceremoniously dumped into the hold of a much longer Pan Am flight - to the USA!

He remained in the crate for five long days before his potential coffin was cracked open by authorities in Los Angeles, and he came to the attention of the FBI who grilled him on how he had ended up in a wooden crate in the first place.

Close

The daredevil is now penning a book on his experience - The Crate Escape

The daredevil is now penning a book on his experience - The Crate Escape

The daredevil is now penning a book on his experience - The Crate Escape

He explained: "I was in the crate for five days and ended up in a freight shed. I thought I was in London.

"I could move my hand to get my torch but my fingers were very stiff so I dropped the torch."

Mr Robson said that was the moment his position was given away, saying: "I heard voices saying, 'what's going on there?'

"That's when I realised the two men were not speaking with English accents, they had American accents. One of them looked through a hole in a wood knot in the chest and we caught each other eye to eye.

"He jumped back and said, 'there's a body in there'.

"They both ran off. An hour later, all hell broke loose. FBI, CIA, airport security, an ambulance."

When the FBI realised Mr Robson was simply a homesick young Welshman trying to make his way back home, they stuck him in first class on a Pan Am flight to London.

On being questioned by US authorities, and being a good sport in respect of his friends who had helped him along the way, he explained: "My two friends and I didn't know whether the plan was legal or illegal, quite honestly, so I agreed that I would keep their names out of it completely, which I did."

Even when his amazing 96-hour journey ended, making headlines around the UK and further afield, Mr Robson never heard from his two Irish friends from Down Under again.

He said he wrote to the pair, but never heard anything back.

Now, with a book on the way, and a film in the works, he’s desperate to reach his old buddies.

He said: "I did try a couple of times [to write to them], I think, and of course we didn't have the internet in those days, so from that day to this I’ve never spoken to them. They were the last people I spoke to in Australia before the crate was sealed shut.

"I’ve got no idea what happened to them. I would love to hear what happened after I left."

Mr Robson has asked for Paul and John, their relatives, or anyone who knows them, to contact him at brianpms@hotmail.com

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Top Videos





Privacy