PC Robert Smith –

Gravestone Dedication

On Monday 29th April 2024, a memorial and dedication service took place at York Cemetery where wreaths were laid at the site of a new headstone, which will act as a lasting reminder of the life of PC Robert Smith.

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. PC Smith and LNER worker William Milner, were among 94 people who lost their lives during the Baedeker air raid.

See full webpage here: PC Robert Smith –  Memorial and Dedication Service

The dedication ceremony was featured on the local regional ITV news, which included a short interview with BTPHG Treasurer John Owen:
🎥 LNER police officer honoured 82 years after he was killed in WW2 air raid at York Station

A Policeman involved in a Sussex Disaster

Sepia photo of raliway policeman
William Holman

In another of our ‘The Story Behind the Picture’ series, BTPHG member and historian Kevin Gordon researches William Holman of the Brighton Railway Police; and from one sepia photograph he discovers a very interesting story.

From our HistoryBank – Research section:
A Policeman involved in a Sussex Disaster

For other well researched articles have a look at HistoryBank.

For more from Kevin go to Quirky Sussex History

Sixty Years in the IPA

Presentation of the Inaugural Brian Deacon Award

Earlier this week retired BTP Officer and BTPHG member, Brian Deacon, was given an award by the International Police Association (BTP Branch).

In recognition of his 60 years of membership, the branch created the Brian Deacon Award, given to the Branch member who has most embodied the IPA and/or contributed significantly to the BTP Branch.

The Branch reported: “At our AGM earlier today in London we presented Brian with the first award for his many decades of service (he did smile in person, I promise). In the background is an article from the BTP Journal (Force magazine) from 1969 with Brian in his IPA role presenting a plaque.”

The BTP History Group would like to add our congratulations.

Sources: IPA_BTPBranch on ‘X’ / BTPHG Collections
The HG were able to assist in providing the image used at the ceremony.

A Modern-Day Railway Detective


New Crime Fiction Book

BTPHG member Gary Powell fills us in on his recent publication.

🚓 🚓 🚓

Front cover of the book, Mind the Killer.

Following a long career in the British Transport Police (BTP) I’m often asked if I miss the ‘job’. Some aspects, for example: working long unsociable hours, the trail of never-ending paperwork and having your every move recorded and examined; then my answer would be certainly not. However I do miss the banter and the dark sense of humour shared among all members of the emergency services; behaviour which is frowned upon in today’s modern, woke police service. Of course some habits are hard to leave behind: sitting with your back to the wall facing the door in a pub comes to mind.

My first crime novel Mind the Killer introduces DI Ryan McNally and DS Marcia Frost; members of the BTP Major Investigations Team. McNally is a detective with some traditional views. Frost is young and very keen to impress. Both work in a unique policing environment and serve in a police force that is frequently over-looked in contemporary crime fiction and often mis-represented.

    The novel is set on London’s underground. When the skeletal remains of a male are discovered in an unused, subterranean, tunnel beneath Lambeth North London Underground station McNally and Frost are called in to investigate. It soon becomes apparent, from the crime scene examination, that the victim had been murdered and buried some twenty years earlier. Just as the pieces begin to fall into place a new mystery unfurls and lands on McNally’s desk. A string of female suicides across several London tube stations emerges to be a mask for a darkly orchestrated series of murders. As McNally’s team delves deeper, the eerie connection between the cold case they are investigating and the recent murders grows impossible to ignore.

    The London Underground has a community of workers serving a transient population of millions throwing up difficult challenges for any investigating detective. My novel will introduce a new world of police investigation to the crime reader and shine the spotlight on a very dedicated, hard-working, professional police force.

🚓 🚓 🚓

Gary is a member of the Crime Writers Association.

The book is widely available through all the usual channels – Amazon, WH Smith, Waterstones etc.

Gary has previously written four true crime non-fiction books.


The Elizabeth Emblem

Image of the Elizabeth Emblem. which incorporates a rosemary wreath around the Tudor Crown
The Elizabeth Emblem incorporates a rosemary wreath around the Tudor Crown

A new award for UK emergency service workers who die in the line of duty has been announced today, after a campaign by the father of a murdered police officer.

Named after the late Queen, the Elizabeth Emblem will be given to the families of public servants.

The award is the civilian equivalent of the Elizabeth Cross, which recognises members of the UK armed forces who have died in action or due to a terrorist attack.

The Elizabeth Emblem can be retrospectively awarded; eligible nominations will be for deaths which occurred on or after 1 January 1948 or have taken place in Palestine between 27 September 1945 and 31 December 1947, which mirrors the eligibility of the Elizabeth Cross.

The design of the Elizabeth Emblem includes a rosemary wreath – a symbol of remembrance – around the Tudor Crown.

It will be inscribed with “For A Life Given In Service” and will have the person’s name on the reverse. It will include a pin to allow the award to be worn on clothing by the next of kin of the deceased.

The Emblem recognises how the sacrifices made by public servants who have lost their lives as a result of their duty could be recognised within the honours system.

Relatives can apply for the Emblem on the government’s website: Elizabeth Emblem. They will be reviewed by the George Cross Committee and recommendations made via the Prime Minister to the King.

BBC News

Also see: BTP Roll of Honour (Line of Duty)

Glyn Davis

Photo of PC Davis
PC Glyn Davis

HG member Ian Oliver advises that John Glyn DAVIS (known as Glyn), passed away on Thursday 25th January 2024 at the age of 91, at Lymington, in Hampshire.

Glyn joined the BTC Police in 1953 and retired 32 years later, having spent his entire service at Southampton Docks.

Although not an HG member Glyn did complete a HG Police Service Record and with it included a short memoir of his life. This is available in our HistoryBank section as:
Glyn Davis Recalls ……The reminiscences of an ex-Southampton Docks Officer


Just a reminder that we do ask retired Officers and Staff to complete a Police Service Record (PSR1) detailing their history with the Force. This will form part of an invaluable record of the BTP’s history which will otherwise be lost. As with Glyn, membership is not required, although new members most welcome.

Convictions Quashed

As we know the BTP has a proud history and it is something that the BTP History Group celebrates. But it is also our responsibility to recognise that not all our history is good.

Today, another of former D/S Derek Ridgewell’s convictions was quashed at the Court of Appeal. Sadly, neither Saliah Mehmet or Basil Peterkin are alive to learn of their exoneration.

BBC News report: Half-century convictions linked to racist officer quashed

Guardian article:
“I Just Went Bent”: How Britain’s most corrupt cop ruined countless lives
(See note [1])

Following the outcome of the appeal Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi issued the following statement:

“As I have commented previously on behalf of the British Transport Police (BTP), I am sincerely sorry for the trauma suffered by the British African community through the criminal actions of former police officer DS Derek Ridgewell who worked in BTP during the 1960s and 70s. In particular, it is of regret that we did not act sooner to end his criminalisation of British Africans, which led to the conviction of innocent people, including Mr Peterkin and Mr Mehmet.

“This is simply inexcusable and is something that my colleagues and I are appalled by. The actions of DS Ridgewell do not define the BTP of today which is enriched by highly professional, kind and committed officers and staff who are passionate about protecting the public. I have also met retired officers who are equally appalled by the criminal actions of DS Derek Ridgewell. I acknowledge that, during those times, systemic racism played a role in the culture of the Force, as it did across many parts of society.

“We continue to engage and work closer with the British African community. We cannot undo the past, but we can learn from it. This is an important and sombre point of reflection in our history. BTP is committed to combatting racism, which includes Afriphobia, which led to these historic cases that targeted African youths and destroyed lives.

“Since I last commented on this we have agreed to fund a bursary for a British African youth to study law. The bursary will be funded by the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), and aims to ensure that British African communities are better represented within the UK judicial system, which will benefit us all.

“My colleagues and I are profoundly sorry to all those affected by DS Ridgewell’s atrocious actions and the trauma that victims and their families suffered as a result. I would like to reiterate my sincere apology for the trauma caused to the British African community by a corrupt BTP officer, whose misuse of his powers caused harm not only to the innocent young people criminalised, but also to their families and community.

“The identification of DS Ridgewell’s victims has always been important to us and we are thankful that the Criminal Cases Review Commission identified and successfully appealed for justice for Mr Peterkin and Mr Mehmet. We continue to encourage any possible victim or their family to reach out if they feel they have been subject to a miscarriage of justice.”

Source: Statement regarding outcome in court of appeal today

[1]  Updated (25/01/24) with article from The Guardian newspaper by Simon Hattenstone. As is noted in the article, Basil Peterkin was Afro-Caribbean and Saliah Mehmet was a Turkish-Cypriot.

Also see: BTP to Launch Law Bursary

New Year Honours 2024

It was announced on Friday (29/12/2023) that Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams M.B.E. and Special Inspector Christopher Angus JAMIESON B.E.M.,  have received recognition in the New Year Honours List 2024.

Congratulations to them both.

The Awards table has been updated.

D/Supt Gareth Williams

Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams has been awarded an MBE for his services to policing and his incredible work leading the British Transport Police (BTP) County Lines Taskforce.

Gareth joined BTP in 1992 and in his 30-year career has worked across a broad range of roles from covert policing, to homicide and domestic abuse investigations. In 2019 he wrote a successful bid for funding which saw the creation of the first ever BTP County Lines Taskforce.

Under Gareth’s stewardship the taskforce has delivered impressive results, protecting vulnerable people who have been coerced into the drug trafficking industry, and bringing numerous offenders to justice who have sought to coerce and exploit the vulnerable.

His citation reads: “His unfaltering drive to identify and disrupt those who seek to coerce and control the vulnerable is inspiring to those who work with and for him.”

It adds: “He has regularly gone above and beyond, leading the way in the fight against county lines criminality. The railways and public are significantly safer because of his leadership, commitment, and dedication.”

On receiving this honour, Gareth said: “I am extremely proud for my achievements to be recognised in this way. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with many outstanding individuals, who have provided invaluable support and guidance to me.

“Most recently, I have had the pleasure of establishing and leading the County Lines Taskforce; a team of outstanding individuals, motivated by simply doing the right thing – making interventions to keep vulnerable people safe.

“When we embarked on our county lines efforts, I didn’t fully understand the scale of the challenge, but I have been extremely proud to watch us not only maintain our initial impetus and impact, but continually improve over the last four years.

“It’s been an honour to lead a team that has made a real difference to exploited young people, involved in drug supply on the railway network.”

Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi said: “Gareth has been outstanding in leading our county lines taskforce. He has worked tirelessly with his team to safeguard exploited vulnerable children and make the railway network safer for everyone. He is relentless in his pursuit of those causing harm to communities through the supply of illegal drugs and exploitation of people.

“His dedication to policing is admirable, leading the way for others and showcasing the very best of the British Transport Police. We are extremely proud of him, and I wish to congratulate him on this honour on behalf of everyone.”

Christopher Jamieson, of North Berwick, received a BEM for services to policing. He has worked as a Special Inspector for the British Transport Police since 2007.



(We await details of S/Inspector Jamieson)