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Incredible story of a British teenager who airmailed himself home from AUSTRALIA


A Welshman who airmailed himself home from Australia is hoping to find two Irish men who helped his daring escape.

In 1965, at the age of 19, Brian Robson, from Cardiff, was unable to afford the airfare to travel from Melbourne back to London. 

He had undertaken an assisted immigration programme with Victorian Railways but found himself incredibly homesick.  

In a desperate plan to avoid paying for the plane ticket, he nailed himself into a wooden crate with the help of the two friends, named John and Paul. Now, aged 76, Mr Robson is searching for the two Irish men who helped him in his hazardous expedition. 

Mr Robson almost died in the attempt after the journey was diverted via Los Angeles.

In 1965, 19-year-old Brian Robson, from Cardiff, was unable to afford the airfare to travel from Melbourne back to his home in the UK

In 1965, 19-year-old Brian Robson, from Cardiff, was unable to afford the airfare to travel from Melbourne back to his home in the UK 

Mr Robson pictured above at the age of 76. He documented his journey in a book, The Crate Escape

Mr Robson pictured above at the age of 76. He documented his journey in a book, The Crate Escape 

The teenager had taken a job with Victorian Railways on an assisted immigration programme in Australia, however he found himself deeply homesick and longed to go home to Cardiff. 

His travel costs had been paid for by the Australian government. 

Mr Robson would have had to pay about £800 to reimburse them and fund his way home, which was impossible on his salary of £30 a month. 

‘It would have taken me years to earn the fare home. That’s when I decided I was going to mail myself home in a crate and sought John and Paul’s help,’ he said. 

The two men worked for the same company and had gone to school together back in Ireland. 

Mr Robson does not recall where they were from or what their last names are. 

He needed their help as Paul had access to a typewriter to do the paperwork to send him as freight. It took a week of persuading his friends who were reluctant with the idea. 

‘John was with me all the way, but Paul did not want to do it at all,’ Mr Robson said. 

The journey proved more hazardous than expected. After arriving in Sydney from Melbourne, Mr Robson faced a 24-hour wait in storage before his journey was diverted via Los Angeles

The journey proved more hazardous than expected. After arriving in Sydney from Melbourne, Mr Robson faced a 24-hour wait in storage before his journey was diverted via Los Angeles 

The plan was to send Mr Robson back to an address in the UK with a smuggled hammer.

He would then break his way out of the crate in Heathrow, jump the airport fence and escape back to his family in Cardiff.

The crate was just big enough for the teenager to crouch inside in.  He took laxatives for three days beforehand to ensure that he would not have to go to the bathroom in the crate. 

When it was time to leave, Mr Robson got into the crate, and his Irish friends nailed down the top.

The journey proved more hazardous than expected. After arriving in Sydney from Melbourne, Mr Robson faced a 24-hour wait in storage. 

The Qantas flight from Melbourne to Heathrow was full and the crate containing the teenager was instead loaded on a Pan Am flight to Los Angeles. 

‘As far as I knew, I was on a Qantas plane heading towards Europe,’ he said.

The teenager grew weaker as the days dragged on. ‘I was in the crate for five days and ended up in a freight shed. I thought I was in London,’ he said.  

Stiff and limping, home-sick Welshman Brian Robson, 19, who tried to send himself back to Cardiff from Australia is pictured arriving at London Airport after his 96 hours in a crate

Stiff and limping, home-sick Welshman Brian Robson, 19, who tried to send himself back to Cardiff from Australia is pictured arriving at London Airport after his 96 hours in a crate

He had grown too weak to break out of the box with a hammer. Fortunately, his rescue came when two freight workers noticed his torchlight coming from the crate. 

One of the startled workers cried out: ‘There’s a dead body in there!’  

The workers raised the alarm. 

Mr Robson, who had become frozen stiff inside the small space, was rushed to hospital where he spent five days recovering.

In total, he spent 96 hours inside the crate.  

When he was strong enough, he was interviewed by both the CIA and FBI, who feared that he was a spy. 

Eventually, the FBI chief arranged to fly him back to the UK. 

He documented his journey in a book, The Crate Escape, which is due to be published at the end of the month. 

Mr Robson is now keen to be reunited with his two Irish friends who helped him in his journey and says he hopes he can ‘buy them a drink’. 

‘If I met them again, I’d just like to say that I’m sorry I got them into this and that I missed them when I came back,’ he said.

‘I’d like to buy them a drink.’ 



Source | Dailymail

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