1950 was when the twins were first in serious trouble.
Along with two others they were charged with GBH on three youths (Roy Harvey, Wally Birch and Dennis Seigenberg) in a fight outside Barry’s nightclub in Mare Street.
The twins were acquitted but their two accomplices were sentenced to prison after Seigenburg said he couldn’t identify the attackers.
The case made a lot of headlines and there were allegations of intimidation by the twins of Roy Harvey’s girlfriend.
Dennis Seigenburg went on to change his name to Stafford and was convicted in 1967 of the murder of Angus Sibbet in the case which the film ‘Get Carter’ was said to have been based on.
1950 also saw the twins up their game in the sport of boxing and their first professional bouts were at Mile End Arena.
Only months after being acquitted of the GBH charge they were in trouble again.
This time Ron had floored a policeman as retaliation for being punched in the back.
The twins and their gang ran away but when the police from the local nick came looking for those responsible they identified Ron.
Reg then waded in and they were both arrested.
On December 11th 1951 all three Kray brothers fought on the same professional boxing bill.
Reg won his bout, while Charlie and Ron lost theirs.
On 2nd March 1952 the twins were called up for national service.
Having already experienced their own father’s reluctance to serve his country the twins decided they didn’t fancy it either and promptly absconded.
Stationed at the Tower Of London they escaped more than once and were eventually sent to Canterbury. But they went AWOL again and ended up in Wormwood Scrubs when they attacked a policeman who had tried to apprehend them in Mile End.
Finally, after a spell in Shepton Mallet military prison they were dishonourably discharged in 1953.
Growing criminal records and their dishonourable discharge from the army put a stop to what may well have been two very successful sporting careers.
The three brothers boxing records were as follows:
Charlie Kray 1948-51 – Won 11, Drew 1, Lost 4
Ronnie Kray 1949-51 – Won 4, Lost 2
Reggie Kray 1949-51 – Won 7, Lost 0
Soon after this the brothers agreed a lease on a billiard hall called The Regal in Mile End.
With an increasing reputation for violence and a following of hard men, thieves and villains their future was beginning to be shaped.
They also acquired an interest in a club called ‘The Stragglers’ in Cambridge Circus along with Bobby Ramsey and Billy Jones.
Ramsey was an associate of the then top man of crime, Billy Hill and the twins became friendly with him also.
But one day Bobby Ramsey was attacked by a gang of dockers in The Artichoke pub and badly hurt. A retaliation attack was planned and carried out resulting in the stabbing of a number of dockers.
Arrests were made and Ramsey ended up receiving 7 years. Jones and Ron both got three years a-piece.
In 1957, while serving his sentence in Wandsworth Prison Ronnie Kray was given the sad news that his Aunt Rose had died from leukaemia.
He was so distraught that he suffered a mental breakdown and was certified insane in early 1958 and moved to Long Grove Mental Hospital.
Reg was absolutely shattered by this news and vowed to get his brother out.
True to his word Reg swapped places with Ron on a visit to Long Grove and while Ron strolled out of the gates into a waiting car Reg stayed behind.
But without the medication that Ron needed he was becoming increasingly unstable and dangerous and he eventually was persuaded to give himself up.
In 1959 while Ronnie was still serving time Reggie opened the Double R.
Located in Bow Road it was a drinking and gambling club with a gymnasium in the basement.
Heaveyweight Champion Henry Cooper performed the official opening duties and Ron’s share in the business was waiting for him on his release.
However, no sooner was Ron a free man then Reg was arrested for demanding money with menaces. On 10th April 1959 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
It was here at HMP Wandsworth where he first met two men named Jack McVitie and Frank Mitchell.
Little did Reg or they know how their paths would cross again…