News, Views and Comments

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Plaque Refurbished



BTP Plaque

It recently became apparent that the BTP plaque on ‘The Beat’ at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire had been suffering due the affects of weathering over the years.

BTPHG Membership Secretary Glyn Thomas raised the matter with the Force, and Chief Constable Paul Crowther agreed to release funds to pay for the plaque to be refurbished. This was done and we are pleased to report that the refurbished plaque is now back in position.

Our thanks to the Chief Constable, his Senior Advisor Elaine Derrick, and the Grounds and Memorials staff at the National Memorial Arboretum for dealing with this matter promptly.



See also:

UK Police Memorial

Arboretum Tree

BTP officers and staff honoured for their service by Her Majesty The Queen

Three British Transport Police (BTP) officers and staff have been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen as part of her Birthday Honours. 

The three colleagues who have been honoured for services to policing are:

  • Detective Chief Inspector Kate Forsyth, based in London, is awarded a QPM.
  • Force Resources Manager Elizabeth McWhirter, based in Birmingham, is awarded an MBE.
  • Detective Superintendent Gary Richardson, based in London, is awarded an OBE.

Kate Forsyth from Kent, whose last day of service with BTP after 30 years coincided with the Birthday Honours announcement, was recognised for her extraordinary leadership skills.  She was praised in particular for her personal leadership following the terrorist attack at London Bridge in which she demonstrated dedication and professionalism on the night and in the days that followed.  She was also commended for her unwavering support to victims of crime which was mirrored by her determination to obtain justice for victims.

Elizabeth McWhirter, who is originally from Darwen (Lancashire) and settled in Staffordshire, has served at BTP for 15 years and has been recognised for services to policing and public safety.  She played a significant role in the planning of BTP’s response throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to safeguard critical rail services.  She is highly regarded within the Force and recognised as an individual who is totally committed to supporting her frontline colleagues deliver a highly visible and professional police service to the travelling public and rail staff.

Gary Richardson, who joined BTP in 2011 after 30 years’ service with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), was recognised for his role in leading investigations into over 100 murders during his time with BTP and the MPS. His experience, determination, good judgement and compassion ensured investigations progressed swiftly with high detection rates.  He was described as an exceptional police officer, who provides a substantial reassuring presence to victims.

Chief Constable Paul Crowther CBE, said: “I’m very proud to see the hard work of BTP officers and staff recognised by Her Majesty as part of her Birthday Honours. Each colleague has showcased the very best in British policing, serving the public to the very highest standard and this recognition is well deserved.

“Kate, Liz and Gary have displayed leadership, selflessness and an unwavering commitment to ensuring that the millions of people travelling on Britain’s railway can do so safely. Each of them should be extremely proud of their achievement and I am delighted that they have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.”

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Forsyth, said: “When I was first advised of the nomination I was totally shocked, and it took time for the magnitude of the honour to sink in.  I feel extremely privileged to be recognised in this way. It tops off a fulfilling, rewarding and enjoyable 30 years police service. It is also a reflection of those I have worked with over the years.”

Force Resources Manager Elizabeth McWhirter, said: “It is an absolute honour and privilege for me to accept this award and whilst it in an individual award I am always extremely grateful for the leadership, support and friendship I receive from all of my professional and extremely hard-working colleagues within BTP.

“An extra special thank you to whomever nominated me for this award and I am very much looking forward to finally sharing this secret with my family and friends.”

Detective Inspector Gary Richardson, said: “I’m truly honoured to receive such a prestigious award, but it is not so much a reflection on me as it is the collective hard work and effort of everyone in the Major Serious and Organised Crime team. It’s a privilege to work alongside them, and I am incredibly proud of all we have achieved together.”

Source: BTP

In addition, Carl Jason Foulkes, currently Chief Constable of North Wales Police, formerly a British Transport Police officer, and a BTPHG member, has been awarded the QPM.

And PC John Williams, of Greater Manchester Police, formerly with BTP, received the BEM for services to Policing and charity.

National Police Memorial Day 2020

Today we remember those that have been lost.

Link: NPMD

The Chester and Holyhead Railway and The Britannia Bridge

The Britannia Bridge taken from the Menai Bridge – Photo Bill Rogerson


This month we complete the postings of Bill Rogerson’s (3 part) article on The Chester and Holyhead Railway and The Britannia Bridge, charting the history of the railway and bridge that connects Anglesey to the mainland and the BTP’s involvement.

One of many that can be found in the Research section of the Historybank pages.

New History Writer

Robert Davison has been appointed as a BTP History Writer, for his continued hard work as a researcher and writer on the history of BTP related matters.

Viv Head reports: “Rob has researched and written for the History Lines newsletter and the BTPHG Year Book over a number of years. He is also a regular contributor to the NARBTPO Retired Lines newsletter with his BTP related history column The Way We Were. Most recently he has been part of research team for the Federation100 project which he has approached with his usual high degree of dedication. He has also now taken over as Editor of the History Group’s Year Book.”

Rob’s appointment was announced in the June edition of the History Lines newsletter.

BTPHG joins Twitter


We are pleased to announce that the History Group have now added to our Social Media presence, so now in addition to the Facebook page we have now joined Twitter.

So if you are a Twitter user, why not try out our new service; and don’t forget to click on the follow button to catch our latest tweets.

Southampton Goods, 1911

LSWR staff Southampton, 1911

Taken only three years before the start of the First World War, one can only wonder what happened to these young men. Accompanied by the London and South Western Railway Constable, an image captured over 100 years ago.

This photo was identified by BTPHG member, and former committee member, Ian Oliver.

LSWR staff Southampton, 1911 is just one of many to be found in our photo gallery.

Memories of Heysham Harbour

In a new entry in the StoryBank section, our Secretary, Bill Rogerson shares his memories of being posted to Heysham Harbour in the late 1970’s.

Link: Memories of Heysham Harbour

StoryBank is one of four sections in HistoryBank, which contains many items of interest to the history buff.

Annual General Meeting 2020 Cancelled

The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre

UPDATE (13/03/2020)

Message to Members from the Chairman, Viv Head:

“Dear All,

On behalf of the Chairman and committee, it is with considerable reluctance that the History Group has decided that it is in everyone’s best interest to cancel the AGM as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We do not intend to re-arrange a date – any AGM issues that need to be addressed will be dealt with separately.

Regards to you all and I hope that you and your families remain untouched by this world-wide outbreak.


An email has been sent to Members.

We hope to see you next year.


Original posting:

Our 2020 Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 30th March at The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre, 4, Temple Row West, Birmingham, commencing at 12.30 hours.

Please note this is a new venue for the AGM!

The pub is a 7 or 8 minute walk from New Street Station, exit Stephenson Street, across the Metro tracks up Temple Street towards the Cathedral. Temple St  West and the venue is directly opposite the entrance to the Cathedral.  (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.

Please note, the AGM will not be the day before the NARBTPO AGM this year.

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.

BTP Citizens in Policing Awards

BTPHG Treasurer John Owen & CC Paul Crowther

The History Group was recognised in this years Citizens in Policing Awards at a special ceremony held at Islington Town Hall, London on 24th February 2020. The Chief Constable, Paul Crowther, CBE presented a Certificate of Special Recognition to John Owen representing the Group.

The Citation reads:

“The BTP History Group are the recipients for the Volunteer Special Recognition award 2020. The history group have worked incredibly hard over the past few years to ensure the history of BTP is preserved. The team have travelled the length of the country to take recorded interviews with past and present members of staff and they have recorded details of some wonderful BTP memories. To collect the award to celebrate their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm on behalf of the group is John Owen”.

The assembled award winners and senior staff at Islington Town hall.

Citizens in Policing is vital to the work that BTP does and the awards are be an opportunity to formally recognise the excellent work that has been completed in the following categories:
Special Constable Supervisor of the Year
Special Constable Certificate of Achievement 5 years in Service
Special Constable Certificate of Achievement Independent Patrol
RSAS Team of the Year
RSAS Member of the Year
Best Cadet Leader
Best Cadet B Division
Best Cadet C Dvision
Volunteer of the Year
Volunteer Special Recognition
Outstanding commitment to an Independent Advisory or Scrutiny Group
Chaplain or Rail Pastor Special Recognition