News, Views and Comments

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

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Robert William SMITH

A short memorial tribute was held for PC Robert Smith last Saturday (29th April 2017) at York Cemetery.

Robert, aged 64 years, was killed during the early hours of the morning of the 29th April 1942, during the biggest raid by the Luftwaffe carried out on York in World War Two. He was on duty in the police office when it took a direct hit. Robert was buried with his daughter.

The ceremony was organised by the BTPHG, and was attended by members of Robert’s family, serving and retired officers, and the Railway Mission.

A fuller account will be detailed in a forthcoming edition of History Lines.

The event was also picked up by a local newspaper, The York Press.

Tribute to PC killed in York bombing raid during the memorial – BTP history group members, relatives and their friends and current BTP officers.

Sponsored Cycle Ride

OBITUARY: Ian Murray

It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of one of our members, Ian Murray. Ian retired as an Inspector from Aberdeen and was a regular contributor to the Newsletter. Ian, 86 years of age, lost his fight for life on Sunday 12th February, in Balmedie. May he rest in eternal peace.

Bill Rogerson

Webmaster’s Note:
Two of Ian’s articles appear on this website and there are several more to be published in the coming months.

And today (16/03/2017) we add a third article from Ian – Zero to Hero.

National Railway Museum – Mystery on the Rails - 23 Mar 2017 - 03 Sep 2017

NRM - Mystery on the Rails season

NRM – Mystery on the Rails season

From the National Railway Museum website:

“From Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express to the recent The Girl on the Train, the railways have provided us with the perfect setting for a thrilling crime story. Join us for our brand new Mystery on the Rails season to uncover the special place railways have in mystery and detective fiction, solve the mystery of The Missing Passenger and discover a wealth of real-life tales of audacious robberies, petty thefts and notorious criminals.

Are you ready to unleash your inner detective? We have a full season of sleuthing activities for you to take part in, from working alongside a local crime writer to joining our curators to delve deeper into the fascinating story behind our Murder Carriage. You will also have the chance to join forces with British Transport Police to put your detective skills to the test. Plus, get creative using codes and find out how to capture a fugitive.”

British Transport Police Weekend

29 April–1 May.

Station Hall & South Yard | Free | 10am–4pm | No booking required

Join British Transport Police in a fun-filled weekend of hands-on activities that will test your sleuthing skills.

The BTP History Group are pleased to support and join the British Transport Police Weekend at the museum in York.

Located in the Station Hall with various display units containing exhibits from the NRM archives and our own. Our Event Coordinator will be on hand, so why not pay us a visit.

Annual General Meeting 2017

Our 2017 Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 27th 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 day before the NARBTPO AGM so people can attend both events if they want to.

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.

Website Updates!

Just a reminder that in the ‘Pages’ column to the right of the screen we have a link called ‘Website Updates’.
Unsurprisingly this links to the Website Updates page. If you are a regular visitor to the site it’s a handy page to look at to see what new articles and items of interest have been added to the website recently.

Of course smaller items, such as photographs in the Photo Gallery, are being added all the time – so it’s still worth having a look around the site to see what you might find!

New Year's Honours 2017

Two new entries for the Honours, Decorations and Medals list.

A divisional commander who started at BTP when he was just 19, and a Sussex man who volunteered more than 500 hours to policing last year have both been named on the 2017 New Year’s Honours List.

Chief Superintendent Martin Fry, the divisional commander for London and the South East, has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM).

And Special Sergeant Mark Walder, who volunteers for both the British Transport Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Congratulations to them both.

[Source: BTP website]

In addition, Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Briggs joined BTP’s Professional Standards Department last year upon retirement from the Metropolitan Police. He was awarded the QPM.


img_0203In recent years there has been a marked uptake in books published about or featuring the British Transport Police, mainly by retired officers and – I’m pleased to report – by BTPHG members.

To that extent, and in order to keep track, a new webpage seemed to be called for to chronicle this new phenomenon. Not to forget the older volumes either, of course!

So, in the column on the right you will now see BookShelf, which will take you to the new page.

And continuing on that theme, Graham Satchwell’s book, An Inspector Recalls: Memoirs of a Railway Detective, was prominently featured in a recent Guardian newspaper article on the increasing trend of police reminiscences: Police memoirs: how officers are making crime pay

Watch Dogs!

Watch Dog!

The Watch Dog!

BTPHG member Derick Brown recently highlighted a report on BBC regional news for Humberside about a film showing the early police dogs at Hull docks. The first trained Police Dogs in the United Kingdom.

The report is available from the BBC website: Britain’s first police dogs at work in Hull

A preview of the original film is available on the British Pathe website:  Watch Dogs! Real Ones – At Hull

The film dates from 1933, about 25 years after the first police dogs were deployed at Hull Docks, but is probably the earliest film we have of them in action.

We have a photograph of one of the earliest dogs – Police Dog Jim – in our gallery.


Project Update: Roll of Honour

Poppy Appeal

Click here to donate.

Appropriately for November, Ed Thompson has completed the latest update to the Roll of Honour dedicated to RDC Officers who fell in The Great War. There are some additions and corrections to earlier versions of the Roll.

Ed is to be thanked for his dedication in continuing with this Project, which has involved considerable amounts of travel, time and expense.

This builds on the work originally started by Kevin Gordon and continued over the years by Richard Stacpoole-Ryding, Viv Head and Ed Thompson himself.

The more detailed PDF document which accompanies the webpage, will be updated to incorporate these changes in the near future.