William Sinclair Manson

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Infamous Scots. / Writings · 1 April 2022

Infamous Scots. Walter Norvil.

He was known as Glasgow’s original Godfather. The mastermind behind a string of violent armed robberies at post offices, banks and hospitals across the west of Scotland.

Walter Norval and his notorious XYY gang were prepared to shoot, threaten and intimidate anyone in their pursuit of riches.

Norval, who modelled himself on US mobster John Dillinger and even wore the pinstriped suits, made his name running local gangs before moving onto protection rackets and naturally graduating to armed robbery.

The XYY gang involved hundreds of foot soldiers who during the 70s pulled off dozens of armed robberies, often from hospitals and major works, but also from post offices across the country.

Scores of weapons and explosives were hidden in safe houses around Glasgow.

Eventually he was brought down by police and did 14 years inside and by then the underworld scene in Glasgow had changed.

Norval was critical. In his day, he said, gangsters were hard men who fought amongst themselves but the modern gangster paid someone else to do their dirty work.

After his death at 85 from pneumonia in August 2014, Norval’s coffin was carried in to the sounds of ‘My Daddy was a Bank Robber’ by The Clash.

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