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.

The Railway Policeman's Casebook

Railway Policeman's Casebook

The Railway Policeman’s Casebook

A new BTP related book is to be published on the 15th September 2015.

Written by BTPHG member Richard Stacpoole-Ryding, author of The British Transport Police: An Illustrated History.

From the book jacket:

“The opportunity to commit crime on the railways began from the day they were being built. The crimes both mirrored the range of those committed outside and existed in a microcosm of their own. It was the work of the various railway company police forces and predecessor forces to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators. This book takes us back from the very early days of railway policing to the halcyon days of the 1940s to the 1980s when policing methods, image and perception were reflected in television series such as Dixon of Dock Green, Z Cars and The Bill. The cases in the book are authentic and reported by investigating officers from the age of steam locomotives, stations, goods yards, left luggage offices and dining cars, and those nostalgic images of railways. They bring to life the devious and clever methods devised by criminals to obtain success in their activities and how they were thwarted by the railway policeman.

Here, then, is a fascinating and diverse collection of cases from a past era that were committed in a unique environment and solved by a body of dedicated and highly trained officers of the railway police.”

It is available in paperback to pre-order from all good booksellers and internet sites, including direct from the publishers Amberley Publishing (special pre-order price of £9.74) and Amazon.

The British Transport Police Journals 1948 – 1990

Journal Front Cover

Just a reminder that the BTP History Group have scanned all the 157 Journals and made them available in PDF format on disc.

A double DVD disc set is available to purchase at a cost of £15.00 inclusive of UK postage and packing (BTPHG members receive a discount).

Discs can be purchased here: DVD Sales

Police Dog Heroes

Police Dog Heroes

Police Dog Heroes (Front Cover)

Another new BTP related book has recently been published.

Written by two retired BTP officers and BTPHG members, Mike Layton and our very own Bill Rogerson (BTPHG Secretary), it collects stories of the railway police dogs and their handlers.

From the book jacket:

“The British Transport Police became the first Police Force in the UK to establish a dog section when Airedale terriers began to patrol the docks of Hull in 1908. Since then, dogs from the force have served in two world wars, aided police in combatting terror attacks, and hunted down countless criminals.

Here, Layton and Rogerson trace the history of these faithful servants and bring us over forty thrilling, shocking, and sometimes humorous firsthand recollections from retired officers and handlers who fought crime and protected the public alongside man’s best friend. As those on the wrong side of the law become ever more sophisticated in their methods, the dogs have kept pace, and today form a key part in the fight against drugs and terror on the rail network.

Included here are accounts of such atrocities as the Lockerbie bombing and the 2005 terror attack in London, where the heroic actions of these unsung heroes of the force and their handlers were epitomised by BTP police dog Vinnie, recipient of the PDSA Gold Medal – the animal equivalent of the George Cross.”

It is available in paperback from all good booksellers and internet sites, including direct from the publishers Amberley Publishing and Amazon.

BTP History Writers

As you are probably aware we have an independent panel who appoint British Transport Police History Writers and they have been working overtime recently.
Their most recent appointments in April 2016 are:

Bill Rogerson for the continued production of the highly regarded History Lines monthly newsletter (81 so far and counting) and the co-authorship of a soon to be published book on the work of BTP Police dogs,

Michael Layton for his work in publishing the books: Hunting The Hooligans, Tracking The Hooligans and the above mentioned forthcoming book on the work of BTP Police Dogs,

Richard Stacpoole-Ryding for his work in publishing The British Transport Police: An Illustrated History,

and Pauline Appleby for her work publishing A Force on the Move: The Story of the British Transport Police 1825-1995.

Congratulations to them all.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Medal worn by a Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'Honneur.


We are pleased to report that BTPHG member Geoffrey Lawrence, a retired BT Police Officer, has been appointed a Chevalier of the ‘Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur’ (Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honour) by the French Government.

The presentation was undertaken by the Rear Admiral Patrick Chevallereu and the French Air Attaché Colonel Patrice Morand at the Yorkshire Air Museum on Sunday 21st February 2016.

The honour is of the highest distinction awarded by France in recognition of both military and civil merit.

In Geoffrey’s case the service he rendered leading to the liberation of France in June 1944, constitutes the purpose of the award. As a private and infantryman with the 7th Battalion of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Normandy from June 1944 until severely wounded by machine-gun fire during a silent attack on German frontline positions near St Syvain on August 10, 1944. After he recovered from his wounds he was transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps.

French President Francois Hollande announced during the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Normandy landings that France would give its highest honour to all surviving veterans who fought for the liberation of France during the Second World War.

Mr Lawrence held the rank of Chief Superintendent, Divisional Commander, North East, on retirement 1981.

Geoffrey Lawrence’s Service History is as follows:

1943 – 45 Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders (wounded in action Normandy)
1944 – 46 RASC Egypt, Palestine, Cyprus
1951 – 81 British Transport Police – serving at Huddersfield, Norwich, Nottingham, Birmingham and Leeds.

In retirement Geoffrey was the first Co-ordinator of the Leeds Victim Support Scheme.

He has written and published his autobiography titled –  “An Incident Occurred”.

Contre Amiral Patrick Chevallereau presenting the Legion d'Honneur, Frances's highest award to Geoffrey Lawrence from Bradford at the Yorkshirein Air Museum. Picture: Richard Doughty Photography

Rear Admiral Patrick Chevallereau presenting the Legion d’Honneur to Geoffrey Lawrence.


The twelve Normandy Veterans who were presented with the Legion d’Honneur

Source: The Yorkshire Air Museum
Pictures: Richard Doughty Photography

Webmaster’s Note:
This blogpost updates and replaces an earlier post which proved to be inaccurate in several respects.
Thanks to Colin Sinclair for additional research.

An Inspector Recalls: Memoirs of a Railway Detective

An Inspector Recalls

Another new BTP related book has recently been published.

It is a personal memoir written former BTP officer Graham Satchwell.


This is how he describes it:

“Several books describe the organisation and structure of the BTP. But how many have told the inside story?

My book gives a fresh perspective on policing the railways in Britain from the 1960’s to the 1990’s and describes the internal workings of the Force against a backdrop of significant crime.

The style is light and self-deprecating, and so far as the topics allow, amusing.

The publishers describe the book as ‘laughing out loud funny’ and say it provides, ‘dollops of humour, painful truth and a true description of the macho policing culture of the time.’

In any event it starts with a description of my cheating to pass the police entrance examination, aged 18, and ends with my being refused permission to leave the force upon reaching retirement age!

I describe my involvement in dealing with serious and not so serious matters (e.g. train robberies, corporate manslaughter, child abduction, terrorism, bomb threats, police corruption, the odd politician and even The Queen, drunks, vagrants and petty thieves). It also covers my periods in uniform, at Tadworth, my time at university and whilst on the staff of the Police Staff College.

Most of all it is a book about people – mostly you! For whilst it is a personal account, it is also the story of every officer who served during that period.

As you will know, this is the first book by a senior British Transport Police detective about personal experiences investigating railway crime.”


It is available in hardcover from all good booksellers and certain internet sites, including Amazon, from which a Kindle version is also available.

To accompany the book Graham has a website – and he recently gave this interview to a local TV channel: