News, Views and Comments

Welcome to the BTP History Group blog. The latest news and views will be posted here.

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Tadworth Plaque Unveiling

HGP00586 Tadworth Plaque.ev


Another BTPHG Project has come to fruition with the unveiling of the commemorative plaque at Tadworth, the former site of the BTP Training Centre.

In a new StoryBank article, Project Manager Rob Davison describes the ceremony and the background to the Tadworth Plaque.

War Heroes Recognised

Gravesite of Corporal George JAY MM at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery.

Gravesite of Corporal George JAY MM at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery.


In the last few months BTP History Group members have been responsible for getting two fallen railway policeman fully recognised on their gravestones at Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries. In each case they had been awarded the Military Medal, but the this was not shown on the headstone.

Corporal George JAY of the Military Foot Police had been a PC with the Great Eastern Railway Police prior to his war service. He died from his wounds, aged 35, on 24th March 1918 and is buried at the Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Belgium.

Thanks to efforts by Peter Zieminski, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission acknowledged the omission, and in May 2015 we were pleased to hear that the letters ‘MM’ had been added to the headstone. In September 2015, Ed Thompson and Steve Beamon visited the grave, and were able to photograph the stone. They were pleased to note that the cross left by BTPHG members on a previous visit was still in situ.

Sergeant Frank Victor BEWSEY of the 15th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery had been a PC with Great Northern Railway Police. He was Killed in Action on 15th November 1917, aged 26 years, and is buried at Adinkerke Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Our World War One Roll of Honour team (Richard Stacpoole-Ryding and Ed Thompson) have been continuing their efforts on this important project and identified that as with George JAY, the record that Frank BEWSEY had been awarded the Military Medal was missing from his gravestone. Earlier this month Ed was able to report that his contact with the CWGC had been successful and that BEWSEY’s records have been updated and put on their website. The headstone will be amended in due course.

The CWGC certificates can be seen here: JAY_G   BEWSEY_F_V


Poppy Appeal

Click here to donate.


The 2015 Poppy Appeal has been launched by the Royal British Legion. Their website can be accessed by clicking on the poppies.

The British Transport Police: An Illustrated History

BTP Illustrated History

After months of waiting we are pleased to announce that the new book is published this week on Thursday 15th October 2015.

Written by BTPHG member Richard Stacpoole-Ryding, and assisted by fellow members Ed Thompson and Rob Davison, it draws from the rich photographic history of the BTP and its forebears. We thank Richard and his team for all their hard work. This is the first book on the history of the force since Pauline Appleby’s ‘A Force on the Move: The Story of the British Transport Police, 1825-1995’, published twenty years ago.

From the book jacket:

“The British Transport Police has the most diverse history of any police force in the world. It can trace its origins back to 1826, and is made up from over 240 railway, dock and canal forces. Early railway companies maintained their own police forces, but following the First World War these smaller companies were amalgamated into four large companies. In 1948 following the nationalisation of the transport infrastructure the force took responsibility for policing the railways, ports and canals as the British Transport Commission Police, the first national police force in the United Kingdom. The BTC was dissolved in 1963 but the force remained as the British Transport Police.

From the beginning the force has been at the forefront of policing innovation such as being the first force to use dogs, employing women as uniformed officers, the introduction of a computerised crime reporting procedure and the first to use technology to arrest a murder suspect. Although diminished in size and areas of responsibility since privatisation of the UK transport infrastructure, the force has moved with the demands of modern policing. This book is an illustrated history of this unique force working to keep the travelling public safe.”

Richard Stacpoole-Ryding served in the British Transport Police (1972 – 1979), before pursuing a career in H. M. Prison Service. He has been published in military and medal journals at home and abroad and had the book ‘Maiwand: The Last Stand of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment at Afghanistan 1880’​ (History Press), published in 2008.

The book has a RRP of £14.99, but is currently available direct from the publishers Amberley Publishing at £13.49*. It is also available from Amazon, and can be ordered from as they say ‘all good book shops’.

*History Group members have already been advised on how to order this book at a special discount.

UK Police Memorial

BTP tree on 'The Beat' (July 2013)

BTP tree on ‘The Beat’
(July 2013)


Fund raising has begun for the new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

The new UK Police memorial is a project by The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust.

The Trust is undertaking an ambitious campaign to raise at least £4  million to design, build and maintain the memorial for the nation at the National Memorial Arboretum, at Alrewas, Staffordshire.

The British Transport Police have a tree situated on land known as ‘The Beat’ at the Arboretum (pictured above).

The new Memorial will be a place of ceremony, remembrance and quiet reflection located at the UK’s national place for year round remembrance. It will also help foster a national sense of pride and value in our Police Service for generations to come. The Beat will be refreshed and incorporated into the new Memorial.

Meanwhile, the Trust has launched a consultation survey to canvas the views of the wider public regarding the design and content of the memorial.


Tadworth opening film, 1948

Tadworth, 14/12/1948

Tadworth, 14/12/1948


One of the highlights of this month’s additions to the website is the short silent film taken at the official opening of Tadworth, then known as the British Railways Police Training School.

Discovered by BTPHG member David Hoare in the Imperial War Museum’s film archive, a copy was purchased for the BTPHG and is now available to view on this website. Quite how a film that was produced by the Southern Railway Film Unit in 1948, gets a British Transport Films reference, and then ends up in the Imperial War Museum is anybody’s guess – but we are pleased it did.

The video is available on the Official Opening of Tadworth page.


New BTP History Writer Appointed

Malcolm Clegg
In was recently announced in the BTPHG Year Book 2015, that the nominations committee have this year appointed Malcolm Clegg as a BTP History Writer for his dogged determination in researching and documenting the life story of J.R. Whitbread, author of The Railway Policeman (1961), a task that many had failed before him. He has also researched and written articles on four former Chief Constables – W.B. Richards, Colonel N. M. Jesper, Arthur West, the first ‘Chief Constable’ of the force and W.O. Gay the first ‘home grown’ Chief Constable – all of which have been published in History Lines.

BTP Journals Project

Journal Front Cover


The British Transport Police Journals 1948 – 1990

The BTP History Group have now completed the project of scanning all the 157 Journals and making them available in PDF format on disc.

Those that took part in the initial fund-raising exercise and donated £20 or more should have received their DVD set.

Read more about Project on the BTP Journal page.

The DVD’s are available to purchase from the [maxbutton id=”3″] page.

Annual General Meeting 2015

Our 2015 Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 30th March at The Railway (formerly The Bright House), Public House, Hill Street, Birmingham, commencing at 12.30 hours.

This venue is approximately five minutes’ walk from Birmingham New Street Station (map).

A buffet will be provided free of charge. All members are welcome but you do need to let Bill Rogerson know at least two weeks beforehand so that food can be ordered appropriately.

Members should receive a copy of the Year Book in the post before the AGM and copies of all relevant papers will be available on the day.

This is the one opportunity in the year when group members have the chance to meet up and chat historically, topically or just plain sociably.

Hope to see you there.

NB: Unlike previous years, the AGM will not be the day before the NARBTPO AGM.


Wipers Lines

Wipers LinesIn 2014, the centenary year of the start of the Great War, half a dozen members of the History Group set out in early December to take part in the nightly ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres.

See the resulting Special Edition of History Lines.

Safe and Sound - Stories of Emergency Response in the Tees Valley

Head of SteamWe have received an appeal for contributions to a forthcoming museum exhibition featuring the history of the emergency services in the Tees Valley.

Of course, the Tees Valley includes Darlington, birthplace of the railways and of railway policing, but also many other sites of railway and dock policing from the early days right up to the present.

Head of Steam, the Darlington Railway Museum, is one of several museums within the Tees Valley which are co-ordinating to produce ‘Safe and Sound – Stories of Emergency Response in the Tees Valley’ which aims to tell the stories of the Emergency Services in the area.

If you are interested in helping with the research, or if you worked for the British Transport Police in the Tees Valley area and would like to share your story, or perhaps even if you are a collector who would like to showcase the objects you have collected over the years, then please get in touch.

More details on our Safe and Sound webpage.