The Saga of Bonnie and Clyde

Pictured Above: Bonnie and Clyde at large.

Pictured Above: Bonnie and Clyde at large.

Clyde Champion Barrow and Bonnie Parker were born in Dallas, Texas. Both grew up in abject poverty. Clyde’s family were so poor they all slept under wagons every night until, many years later, Clyde’s father got a tent to house his family. Small wonder Clyde grew up to become a killer and robber.

Clyde spent almost all his teenage and early life in jail. He killed his first man in jail, a sex pervert, and from that day all other predators steered well clear of Clyde. A friend of Clyde’s took the rap for the killing, as he was doing life anyway.

Around 1930, Bonnie and Clyde first met at a party in Dallas. Both were smitten, and so began an amazing love affair that lasted three years until their death in Louisiana. Although Bonnie was a very plain Jane and Clyde was no Errol Flynn, they were loyal to a fault. Bonnie even had Clyde’s name tattooed on her inner thigh.

From the beginning they led a life of murder and robbery, and of course these two psychopaths killed 13 people and maimed and injured many more.

America at this time was in depression, with the Wall Street crash, mass unemployment etc, which meant many banks did not have a cent in the vaults. So Clyde ended up a petty thief, robbing five and 10-cent stores and out-of-town gas stations, sometimes only getting $15.

They were sick sociopaths, killing people for little or nothing. Clyde and his gang were well-armed with Tommy guns and Clyde had a Browning Automatic machine gun. This gun was a military gun and used full metal jacket bullets. Every police force was terrified of this gang of thugs.

For transport, Clyde would only steal the new Ford V8. He loved this model for its speed and cornering ability. He even wrote a letter to Henry Ford saying, “I only steal your new V8. It’s a swell car and leaves the cops’ jalopies standing.” This glowing review made headlines across America. Great publicity for Ford cars, Clyde’s letter is on view in the Ford museum in Detroit.

The still-new Federal Bureau of Investigation were involved in the hunt, but always just missed out. All they ever found were cartons of Camel cigarettes from the chain-smoking Bonnie, along with her stash of movie mags.

When Clyde shot in cold blood two men, this brought his tally to 13 murders. J Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, called in the only policemen feared by all criminals, as they always shot to kill, as America in 1920-30 was just like the Wild West; it was kill or be killed. These were the Texas Rangers.

Hoover requested Frank Hamer and his team of five fearless Rangers. Hamer himself had been shot 17 times by desperadoes and somehow survived. Hamer shot dead 57 killers and criminals and was the most feared cop in the South.

Hamer and his team shot all four of Clyde’s gang in the final chase and shot Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana. After the shootout the Ford V8 had 187 bullet holes in its body. Clyde had 11 holes and Bonnie 13.

Within minutes, a vast crowd of hick locals gathered. They tried to cut off Clyde’s ears as souvenirs, but failed. The Cajun women succeeded in chopping off Bonnie’s hair and stripped her body of her bloody, bullet riddled clothes. It was a nasty scene, a really nasty scene indeed.

The Ford V8 was sold to a travelling Carny man who took the bullet-riddled car on tour to local carnivals and state fairs and charged one dollar for your photo in the death car. Later this American traveller hired Bonnie and Clyde’s mothers to tour with the death car as an extra attraction! My God, only in America!

Pictured Above: The bullet-riddled Ford V8 in which they died.

Pictured Above: The bullet-riddled Ford V8 in which they died.

The funeral of Bonnie and Clyde was a scene of chaos and bedlam. The 100 cops were swamped when over 20,000 people turned up and mayhem ensued, with hundreds of drunken men cussing, swearing and fighting everybody. The Texan women were as bad, hyper hysterical, screaming, “We want Clyde, I love Clyde!” Many women were injured falling into newly-dug graves six foot deep. It was like Dante’s Inferno!

The final insult to law and order came as mass and memorial cards came from the new public enemy number one – John Dillinger. Ditto from Machine Gun Kelly, Pretty Boy Floyd and many other criminals.

The US government now realised it was at war with crime and upped the ante. They gave new Ford V8s to all police, fully equipped with Tommy guns and shotguns and the new two-way radio. Within six months, Dillinger, Kelly, Floyd and hundreds of thugs, killers and gangsters were dead or incarcerated.

During her three years on the run, Bonnie wrote doggerel poetry and sent her junk poems to the media. It always made the front page. The public were avid readers and it sold truckloads of papers.

The week before she died, Bonnie wrote her last piece. On reading it, you can tell Bonnie knew the jig was up and the end game was just around the corner. Her last ditty went as follows:

Some day they’ll go down together
And they’ll bury them side by side
To a few it’ll be grief
To the law a relief
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.

By Noel Twamley