Seeking 'Paul' and 'John,' Who Shipped Pal in a Crate in 1965

Brian Robson looking for men who helped him pull off 'terrifying' trip from Australia to London
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2021 9:22 AM CDT
Updated Apr 11, 2021 12:00 PM CDT
Seeking 'Paul' and 'John,' Who Shipped Pal in a Crate in 1965
Not the most luxurious accommodations.   (Wikimedia Commons/Mark Ahsmann, CC BY-SA 3.0)

A Welsh man is on a quest to find two long-lost friends he hasn't seen in more than 50 years—and the last time he saw them, they were cramming him into a crate and nailing it shut. The BBC reports on the strange tale of Brian Robson, who in 1965 was 19 and working for a rail company in Australia. He hated it there, but he couldn't afford to fly home, so he convinced two Irish guys he worked with named Paul and John (he doesn't recall their surnames) to pack him into a crate and send him back to the UK as freight. "John was with me all the way, but Paul did not want to do it at all," Robson says. Paul finally relented, and Robson climbed into the crate with a pillow, a bottle of water, an empty bottle for urine, his suitcase, a flashlight, and a hammer in case he had to bust out. The trip from Melbourne to London was supposed to take 36 hours, but due to flight reroutings, it ended up taking five days, the CBC reports. And what a "terrifying" five days it was, per Robson.

He says he passed out at times from lack of oxygen in a cargo hold that alternated between being sweltering and freezing, per the Irish Times. Robson's body ached from his cramped position, and during a transfer, even though the crate said "This Side Up" on the outside, he ended up spending 22 hours on his head in "excruciating pain," per the BBC. He was eventually found in a freight shed in Los Angeles when he dropped his flashlight, catching the attention of workers. Despite FBI and CIA involvement, Robson wasn't charged, and he was sent to London on another flight—this time in first class on Pan Am. Robson, now in his mid-70s, has documented his adventure in a book titled The Crate Escape, due out later this month, though he now shakes his head at what he did, calling it "stupidity." "If my kids tried it, I would kill them," he tells the BBC. As for Paul or John, if you happen to read this, you can contact Brian at (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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