News, Views and Comments

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

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Website Updates!

Time for our occasional 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!

C.B.E. for Chief Constable

Chief Constable Paul Crowther

The Chief Constable of British Transport Police has been awarded a C.B.E. in Her Majesty The Queen’s 2020 New Year Honours list.

Paul Crowther has worked for BTP for 40 years and has served as its Chief Constable for the last five years.

His long career has seen him work on numerous incidents, ranging from the King Cross fire and the Potters Bar train crash, to more recently, presiding over the response to terror attacks that have struck Manchester and London.

Throughout his service he has made clear his determination to keep the national rail network safe and secure as well as supporting victims of crime and the vulnerable. He has been awarded the CBE for a substantial contribution to UK policing and his unwavering focus on keeping more than 3 billion passenger journeys safe each year.

Chief Constable Paul Crowther CBE, said: “It has been the greatest honour to serve BTP for the past forty years, and to be the Chief since 2014. Throughout my time at the force, I have seen staff and officers across all ranks tackle and overcome such enormous challenges. Not only have they responded to acts of terrorism, or witnessed devastating scenes following train crashes, they’ve also brought violent offenders to justice and helped protect vulnerable people from harm.

“While this is an individual award, it is clear to me that this honour is shared amongst all the hard working men and women at BTP who carry out tremendous work every day. As we welcome in 2020, I would like to thank those officers and staff for their dedicated service and wish them and their families a very happy New Year.”

Source: BTP

Paul Crowther was previously awarded an O.B.E. in 2014.

The Honours, Decorations and Medals table has been updated.

Another Display Cabinet

Further to the previous post – More Display CabinetsEd Thompson has confirmed that we have a new display cabinet at Spring House Training Centre. Meaning that there are now four.

Spring House

Well done to him and the team for getting this done. The displays are regularly changed and highlight the work that the History Group undertakes, and hopefully we will get some new recruits as members!

Happy Holidays

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at the BTPHG!

History from Nottingham

PS Garyjohn Warren and John Owen

Today, BTPHG Treasurer and Archivist John Owen met up with BTPHG member Sergeant Garyjohn Warren at BTP Nottingham in order to receive some old photographs that had been on the walls at the police station for as long as anyone can remember. In order to preserve the history of BTP Nottingham, these were handed over to the BTP History Group for their preservation.

Many thanks to them both.

Tadworth 1947

Tadworth Sept 1947


BTPHG member George Chaney has presented us with a photograph missing from our collection. An early Tadworth course photograph from September 1947 (course 8). Prior to this our earliest class photo was course 9, taken in November 1947. This was taken prior to the British Transport Commission taking over the nationalised railway. As can be seen the centre was called the Main Line Railways Police Training School. The name changed again and throughout 1948 and 1949 course photos show the name as the British Railways Police Training School. It is not until January 1950 (course 30) that the name changes to the British Transport Commission Police Training School.

According to Kevin Gordon’s article – A Brief History of the Training Centre, Tadworth – the first residential course was held in January 1949, prior to that “students had to travel daily and as there were no canteen facilities, had to bring their own food”.

George credits a friend of his who discovered the photo, along with two other BTP related photos, at a car boot sale. All three items are quite small (7 x 5″), printed onto card and laminated. Many thanks to George for adding one more piece to our historic record.

See also: The Official Opening of Tadworth, 1948.

We Will Remember Them

As we approach Remembrance Sunday it is time to reflect on those RDC officers who were killed during the conflicts, either overseas or on duty.

To that end, BTPHG Committee Member Ed Thompson has been working on our World War Two Roll of Honour, where his research has led us to several additional names. In addition we have more details of the officers in a new PDF document which Ed has compiled and can also be found on that page.


Additional related pages:

BTPHG Roll of Honour

In Remembrance 1914 – 1918




Great Train Robbery Confidential: The Cop and the Robber Follow New Lines of Enquiry

Another new BTP related book has recently been published and added to our virtual BookShelf.

Following on from his autobiography, An Inspector Recalls: Memoirs of a Railway Detective, retired BTP Detective Superintendent and BTPHG member Graham Satchwell has ventured into the true crime arena with his own investigation of the Great Train Robbery.

From the publishers website:
“In 1981, Detective Inspector Satchwell was the officer in charge of the case against Train Robber Tom Wisbey and twenty others. The case involved massive thefts from mail trains – similar to the Great Train Robbery of 1963 where £2.6 million was taken and only £400,000 ever recovered.

Thirty years later their paths crossed again and an unlikely partnership was formed, with the aim of revealing the truth about the Great Train Robbery.

This book reassesses the known facts about one of the most infamous crimes in modern history from the uniquely qualified insight of an experienced railway detective, presenting new theories alongside compelling evidence and correcting the widely accepted lies and half-truths surrounding this story.”

Graham adds:
“I have been working on the subject for a number of years, in a way, ever since 1981. In that year I had access to the entire Metropolitan Police Great Train Robbery archive, and started to get to know some of the people featured there. More recently, I have done a complete review of all the main published works and trawled several important untapped sources. During 2015 and 2016 I also had considerable help from an unexpected quarter – Train Robber Tom Wisbey. The results are striking and will certainly impact those who have an interest in this crime – it turns over ‘accepted facts’, exposes a great deal of accepted falsehood and generally puts ‘the cat amongst the pigeons.’

Great Train Robbery buffs might have viewed the Channel 4 TV special programme about my investigation on Monday 12th August, it was revelatory, but very short of what my book reveals.”

‘The Great Train Robbery – Confidential’ is published by The History Press and widely available in print or ebook format from 1st October 2019.

Birmingham New Street, c.1920's.

Birmingham New Street, c.1920’s.

(click to enlarge)


This photo comes from the BTP Collection and was recently rediscovered by Ed Thompson. Ed says “The photo is printed on card on the reverse it reads ‘Railway Police New Street Station Birmingham. Taken in the 1920’s. Joseph Twentyman is second left, back row.’

History Group records show a J. Twentyman, who was then based at Carlisle, being awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct medal in 1954. Birmingham New Street  had a London and North Western and Midland Railways Joint Police Station until 1923, when both railway companies were merged into the London Midland and Scottish.

Just one photo from our Constituent Forces photo gallery.

WW1 Centenary Memorial Service

Over 186,475 railway people from Britain and Ireland fought in World War One, on land, sea and in the air, and more than 18,957 of these gave their lives. On 14th May, 1919, in the presence of His Majesty King George V, over 7,000 railway people and families attended a service of remembrance in St Paul’s Cathedral “In memory of the railwaymen of Great Britain and Ireland who have died in the service of their country during the war 1914-1918”.

Now, a century later, the railway industry of Britain and Ireland will come together again in a service at Southwark Cathedral, London, to remember those that fell in the “Great War”.

The service, on 6th November 2019 at Southwark Cathedral, will be by invitation only, and a website has been set up to enable those wishing to register to receive an invitation.

Link:  WW1 Centenary Memorial Service