Officers recieve their medals

Pc’s McLeod and Marques after receiving their medals

PC Wayne Marques and PC Leon McLeod, together with other award recipients from the London Bridge terrorist attack, received their medals today (11th October 2018).

Constable Leon McLeod, left, received the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, while PCs Charles Guenigault and Wayne Marques were awarded the George Medal. © Press Association

(More details will follow)


Retired Officer celebrates 100 years

Sylvester ‘Jock’ Winters at FHQ, with his wife and family, the Chief Constable and others.

report by John Owen

Sylvester Walter ‘Jock’ Winters celebrates his 100th birthday today (10th October 2018). Jock served with BTCP & BTP from 1951 until 1975 at Euston, St Pancras & Camden. He and his family were invited to FHQ to meet with the Chief Constable yesterday.

Course 48 Tadworth 1951

The History Group had managed to locate a photograph of his initial training course in 1951 of which a framed copy was presented to him. It was a great occasion and Ed Thompson and I were delighted to have been invited along to represent the History Group. ‘Jock’ was able to meet a couple of firearms officers and dog handler pictured here. Jock’s son, Andy (also pictured) is a serving BTP officer.

Illustrated Address for Elijah Copping

Illustrated Address

Earlier this year the History Group purchased the Illustrated Address presented to Detective Superintendent Elijah Copping by his colleagues, on his retirement from the London and North Western Railway Company in 1904. Superintendent Copping had a distinguished career and was involved in several high-profile cases.

Lookout for a forthcoming HistoryBank article.

Also see Elijah Copping in this group photograph from the Railway Police Superintendents’ Annual Conference at Windsor in 1897.

BTP officers honoured for heroic actions during London Bridge terrorist attack


PC’s Leon McLeod and Wayne Marques

Two BTP officers have been recognised by the Queen for their heroic actions during the London Bridge attack last year, it has been announced today in the Civilian Gallantry List: 2018.

PC Leon McLeod has been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, and PC Wayne Marques the George Medal.

On 3 June 2017, three terrorists carried out an attack on members of the public at London Bridge, resulting in eight people being killed. PC Wayne Marques was seriously injured as he ran towards the attackers and confronted them, armed only with his baton. His colleague, PC Leon McLeod, was with PC Marques that night. He ran after the attackers and gave vital first aid to injured people, helping to carry people to safety despite the danger to himself.

Chief Constable Paul Crowther, said: “I was delighted to hear the news that PC Marques and PC McLeod are to be honoured for their incredible actions during those terrible events in June last year. It really signifies the regard in which we all hold them for their actions that night. Last year was a year that was incredibly difficult for many BTP officers and staff up and down the country and I’m incredibly grateful for all they did during those difficult times. While today is a day of acknowledgment and celebration for Wayne and Leon, of course, our thoughts remain with those who lost their lives or were injured in all of those terrible incidents. But very well done to Wayne and Leon.”

PC Wayne Marques, said: “It is unbelievable to be awarded with the George Medal, I am truly speechless. When I think back to the night of the attack, I was just doing my job and trying to save lives – I never expected to be honoured in this way. I remember the events of that night vividly, the evil that was done but also the courage and bravery of the public and my colleagues. I am here today because of my friends who helped me, I’d cannot thank them enough.”

PC Leon McLeod, said: “I am overwhelmed to receive this honour – I was in complete shock when I opened the letter. As police officers, you never know what to expect on your shift. When me and Wayne heard the screams at London Bridge, our first instinct was to run and help. We never thought we were being brave, all we wanted to do is help as many people as possible. It feels surreal and bittersweet to be honoured following the horror of this attack. So many people acted with courage, I was just one piece in London’s response to this atrocity.”

From left, PC Leon McLeod, PC Wayne Marques and PC Charles Guenigault were recognised for their response to the attack.

PC McLeod and PC Marques have been honoured alongside PC Charlie Guenigault from the Metropolitan Police Service, who was also injured during the London Bridge terrorist attack. PC  Guenigault was off-duty at the time but rushed to help PC Marques when he saw what was happening and was stabbed repeatedly. He praised the efforts of Ellen Gauntlett and Justin Jones, who helped him and took him to hospital, and have been recognised with the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery. “I can’t thank them enough for what they did,” he said.


(See the full Citations here)

See the Honours, Decorations & Medals page.



BTP website

BBC News

Civilian Gallantry List: 2018


Retired BTP officer receives the Legion d'honneur

William Tavendale at the Balhousie Castle ceremony.

Last Wednesday (13/06/2018), Retired Sergeant William Tavendale received the Legion d’honneur from the French Consul General.
See the HistoryBank article – Retired BTP officer receives the Legion d’honneur – for details.

In 2014, 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.

Also see our post on Geoffrey Lawrence, who received the honour in February 2016.

Queen's Birthday Honours

The History Group are very pleased to announce that Her Majesty the Queen has bestowed honours on two of our members:

  • BENJAMIN CLIFFORD, Special Chief Officer, British Transport Police receives a BEM for services to policing.
  • JIM RENTELL, formerly Constable and Football Intelligence officer of Birmingham receives the QPM.

We send our hearty congratulations two both members on their well-deserved honours.


Jim Rentell

Jim Rentell

A British Transport Police officer who served with the force for more than 40 years said it was “wonderful” to have been awarded the QPM (Queen’s Police Medal) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Jim who joined BTP as a cadet in July 1973, became a constable at New Street – a job he said he loved. From there, he was posted to Birmingham International Airport and, in 1982, joined the Mobile Support Unit. They were a public order that were often used to police travelling football supporters – and it was football which would come to dominate Jim’s working life.

In 1987, he was part of Operation Red Card, a West Midlands-led operation to infiltrate and stop a Birmingham City hooligan group. The operation led to 67 arrests. Other jobs included being seconded to West Midlands Police for Euro ‘96, the National Football Unit for France ’98, and in 2001, Jim became the Football Intelligence Officer for Wales and Western, and later the Midlands division. He was well known within the football and policing community over the years, as well as getting to attend some of the biggest championships of the last few decades. His last was the Champions League Final in Cardiff last year.

Jim said: “I am very honoured that BTP thought so highly of me over my 44 years of service and put my name forward for this honour. I think what I’d really like to say is thank you for the support of my family – especially my wife Mary, who I have been married to for nearly 40 years – and my two sons Patrick and Andrew, and their other halves. They’ve had to put up with my love for BTP and I know they will be very proud of me getting the QPM. Which is just wonderful.”

Chief Constable Paul Crowther said: “Jim was a well-known and respected officer around the force, and I’m delighted he is being honoured with a QPM. His dedication over 44 years of service was exemplary and included some of the biggest operations the force has ever taken part in – most recently the Champions League Final last year. I know he has been sorely missed since his retirement. This award is just recognition of his contribution to policing the railway and keeping the public safe and I want to once again thank Jim for everything he did for BTP.”


Ben Clifford

Ben Clifford

British Transport Police’s most senior Special Constable has also been awarded an honour in The Queen’s Birthday 2018 Honours List.

Ben Clifford, who is the Chief Officer of BTP Special Constabulary, has received a BEM (British Empire Medal) for services to policing. Ben joined BTP’s special constabulary back in January 2006, being posted to London Victoria and then Croydon. He quickly progressed through the ranks becoming Special Chief Inspector for the London South Area. In April 2014 he temporarily became the Chief Officer for the force’s specials and was appointed substantively to the post in November 2014. As Chief Officer, he leads the force’s 340 special constables nationwide. Like all special constables, Ben’s contribution to BTP is voluntary and is on top of his full-time employment as an academic geographer lecturing in City Planning at University College London. Ben regularly takes his volunteering work up and down the nation, visiting teams across England, Scotland and Wales. BTP Specials play a significant role in the everyday policing of Britain’s railways. From patrolling stations, tram networks and the London Underground, they’ve also contributed to major events such as Notting Hill Carnival, Champions League Final in Cardiff and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Special Constables have also proved invaluable during the heightened threat level in 2017 following the devastating terrorist attacks in Manchester and London.

Chief Officer Ben Clifford said: “It is a huge privilege to receive this honour and it came as a total shock! Since day one at the Special Constabulary, I have enjoyed every second. It hasn’t come without it’s challenges and juggling this role with my full-time employment can be tricky. “However, the work we do as police officers can be extremely rewarding. We see the best and worst in people, helping those in crisis through to arresting criminals, no shift is ever the same. “The last couple of years have been particularly rewarding for me, seeing a growth so that BTP’s specials have been volunteering over 100,000 hours to policing per year. Every day our Specials are out on the network and are contributing hugely to keeping the travelling public safe – I am proud to be a part of this incredible team. “I love what I do, and I definitely see myself volunteering as a special constable for a few more years yet.”

Chief Constable Paul Crowther said: “Ben’s contribution to BTP and policing of the railways has been outstanding. Ben has given over 11 years’ service to BTP’s Special Constabulary – firstly as a Special Constable and since 2014 as BTP’s Special Chief Officer providing inspirational leadership to our Specials, who add extraordinary value to our Force. “In the last 12 months alone, Ben volunteered more than 700 hours to policing, and his wider team of specials have contributed more than 100,000 hours policing the railway and serving the travelling public. “Ben’s commitment and focus has truly made a real difference. I am immensely proud of his work and the work of our Special Constabulary. This honour is well deserved.”


Source: BTP website

See the Honours, Decorations & Medals page.

Champions League, 2009

Hanover, 2009

A timely new entry in our Photo Gallery, with the Champions League Final featuring an English team today (Saturday 26/05/2018), Kay Clifforth shows us a clipping from December 2009, when she and Graham Naughton appeared in the BILD newspaper. Part of a BTP team sent to Hanover to escort Manchester United fans on their foreign excursion, for a Group B match against VfL Wolfsburg . You can see the clipping and more details in the BTP section of the gallery.

For the uninitiated (or uninterested), Liverpool play Real Madrid in the Champions League Final in Kiev (Ukraine) this evening.

Policing South Wales Docks - an Illustrated History

Policing South Wales Docks - cover

Policing South Wales Docks – cover

BTPHG Chairman, Viv Head, has returned to his roots to document the history of dock policing in South Wales.

This new BTP related book is published today (15/05/2018). It is available from the publisher – Amberley Books, as well as Amazon, and all good book shops and internet based retailers.

Viv writes this introduction for the History Group:

It is now more than thirty years since BTP ceased policing the docks. Officers have joined, served their time and retired without ever realising that the Force once policed an extensive network of docks and ferry ports across the country – 24 of them to be precise. The Humber Ports, Southampton and the South Wales Ports were major undertakings employing hundreds of officers. This newly published book provides an insight into policing the docks of South Wales although in many respects it could be any of the docks once policed by BTP and their forebears.

During the Nineteenth Century, South Wales exploded into industrial activity; previously peaceful valleys were turned on their head. Iron, coal, the arrival of the railways and great docks were built all along the coast; at Newport, Cardiff, Penarth, Barry, Port Talbot and Swansea. South Wales became the crucible of the Industrial Revolution.

Men from all across the land, and seaman from all over the world arrived eager to be part of it all. The docks became a land of opportunity; peaceful coastal communities were transformed; overcrowding, disease, prostitution, violence and dishonesty were everywhere. Into this mix of blood, sweat and coal dust came the dock police, charged with keeping a lid on rough communities, hell bent on self-intent. Crime and murderous violence were rife; it took a breed of hard men to step in and take control. And they stayed for more than a hundred years.

Over time the different forces amalgamated to become the British Transport Police. Then in the mid-1980s came privatisation and containerisation; it was perceived that the police had done their job and were no longer needed. So, in 1985, the last dock policeman locked the police station door, got into his car and drove away.

The book provides an illustrated insight into some of the darker and lighter moments of the dock coppers’ working lives. You won’t be surprised to know that they weren’t always angels themselves, but they do deserve to be remembered. As an ex dock copper in the 1970s the author well-remembers his time at Cardiff Docks, it was quite an experience!


From the publishers description:

Alongside the emergence of the railways in the nineteenth century came a huge expansion of docks and shipping. Worldwide demand for Welsh steam coal also saw a population explosion in the towns of Newport, Cardiff, Penarth, Barry and Swansea. Foreign seamen, ship owners, opportunists, thieves and vagabonds all came in search of a share in the new prosperity. It resulted in hard-living overcrowded communities where drunkenness, prostitution, thieving, violence and murder flourished. Embryo Borough police forces were stretched to the limit and beyond to deal with it.

Each of these coal ports formed their own police forces to deal with the mayhem. Like needed to be met with like; it was not a job for the fainthearted. The Bute Dock Police went out on patrol armed with cutlasses; and two of its officers drowned on duty on separate occasions, one in particularly suspicious circumstances. Strikes, two world wars, organised crime and drugs were all part of the story. In 1923, the railway amalgamations meant that for the next twenty-five years it was the GWR Police who kept a grip on the docks, followed, in 1948, by the British Transport Police – the first national police force in Britain.

Following privatisation, the police were withdrawn from the docks in 1985. And so it was that after 125 years of continuous police service, the last dock copper took off his helmet, locked the police station door and went on his way. This book tells the story of the dock police in South Wales.

A new addition to the BTPHG virtual Bookshelf has been made.

Website Updates!

Time for our annual 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!

Roll(s) of Honour

BTP tree on ‘The Beat’ at the National Arboretum
(July 2013)

During a discussion this week at the BTP History Group A.G.M. there was mention made of the proposed UK Police Memorial, which will be on or in the vicinity of “The Beat” at the National Memorial  Arboretum in Staffordshire.

In particular, there was reference made to the National Police Officers Roll of Honour, which was created by former Metropolitan and Lancashire police officer Anthony Rae who, since 1981, has spent more than 36 years researching and compiling records of British police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. There is a specific BTP page on this website, which was in many instances the starting point for names included in our own British Transport Police – Roll of Honour (Line of Duty). We are pleased that Anthony has recently become a member of BTPHG, and that work is under way to synchronise both lists.

In addition, it should be noted that there is the roll maintained by the Police Roll of Honour Trust.

Both these websites are available from our Links page.