A Welshman made a public appeal to help find two Irish men who helped him return home from Australia in 1965 by packing and mailing it in a box.
Brian Robson, a 75-year-old man from Cardiff, is looking for two men he only knew as Paul and John.
Robson was 19 years old and working for Victorian Railways when he felt homesick. But the airfare would have cost around £ 700 and I was only making £ 40 a month, told the Irish Times.
So he came up with a “stupid” plan, buy a small wooden box and ship himself as cargo. Robson said the “pretty horrible experience” had lasted four days and that it had been stored upside down repeatedly.
Almost 50 years later, Robson said he wanted to reach out to the men to thank them and buy them a drink.
“I’m 99% sure their names were Paul and John,” he told the Irish Times. “Paul was really 100% against … but John said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll persuade him.’ And so they both went ahead and helped. “
Robson bought a box “the size of a mini refrigerator” and packed it with pillows, a suitcase, a Beatles song book and two bottles, one for water and one for urine. Then his friends closed it down and booked Robson as cargo on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to London.
But his plan fell apart. The flight was full, so Robson was transferred to a PanAm flight that took him to Los Angeles.
A journalistic report May 1965, written by Reuters and the Australian Associated Press, said that Robson had labeled himself “a computer.”
The then acting minister of immigration, Leslie Bury, said that the Australian government would not take any action against him, after another parliamentarian, Dan Mackinnon, called for a legal process against “this apparently useless young man.”
Prime Minister Robert Menzies, when asked if customs officials should take a closer look at the outgoing boxes, said: “They could use a Geiger counter.”
In the United States, Robson was discovered by shocked customs officials and later questioned by the FBI.
He told the BBC that a man had “looked through a hole in a knot of wood in his chest and we looked into each other’s eyes.”
“He jumped back a mile and said, ‘There’s a body there.’
After being questioned, he was cleared and flown to London on a regular passenger flight, before resuming his life in the UK.
The AAP reported at the time that Robson had to “fight his way through the supporters” who met him at the Los Angeles airport and that he was still “stiff and limping” when he flew to London.
Robson said he had written to the men to thank them, but they never responded.
“We get along very well,” he told the Irish Times. “They used to come to my room, or I would go to see them, almost daily.”
But he admitted to the BBC that the escape from the box had ultimately been “stupid.”
“If my children tried, I would kill them. But it was a different moment. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism