Old Bill’s Tales of the Railway ‘Old Bill’

By our friend Bill Rogerson MBE, and published by Bostin Books.

Forty nine years of working for British Transport Police https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08TY85J68/

Interested in the reality of policing? Interested in railways? The heart-warming tale of the life of a British Transport Police Officer and community worker.

Bill looks back at his 49 years working with the British Transport Police working as a warranted officer, a civilian and a volunteer, which was sometime humorous and sometimes serious. 

   Unlike a lot of police related stories, Bill’s is not one of high-speed car chases, high level drug busts, shooting bank robbers and the like, but details the everyday life of an ordinary railway copper, policing Britain’s railways in England, Scotland Wales and on the high seas to Ireland, along with a couple of trips to the Netherlands. He was appointed an MBE in 1995 in recognition of his charity and community work in North Wales. 

   From the hustle and bustle of the big cities of Birmingham, Coventry, and Leicester to the more (and not so) tranquil locations of Heysham, Crewe and North Wales, Bill has a story or two to recall. During that time and in all the different places, he certainly saw life, sometimes it was comic sometimes it was tragic and sometimes in was in between. Policing Britain’s railways was never dull, no two days were the same. 

    Like most other people, prior to joining the police force, Bill had no real idea of what police work was like. He had only seen the work through the eyes of television and film – The Blue Lamp; Z Cars; No Hiding Place, Dixon of Dock Green and many others created images in his mind which were now to be tested against the reality.

    He quickly learned that any similarity between fictional police work and the real thing was purely coincidental. He learned that a police officer must be able to converse on equal terms with everyone he came into contact with, be they rich or poor. He must take insult and praise with equal humility and never be surprised at the heights or depths to which human nature can reach.

    The dark humour of the everyday pranks and tricks that police officers play on each other and members of the public and rail staff are recounted with great hilarity. In the book he shows that police officers are human after all and has unearthed humour and tragedy. 

     The book takes you back to policing in the days when the world seemed to be a little bit more innocent and political correctness was something unheard of.  

   Amongst the many anecdotes, Bill recalls a duty to prevent the Mafia from becoming involved when an Italian cafe owner in Birmingham was threatened by youths. He describes falling into a sewage farm, mistaking it for a field whilst chasing a suspect and getting covered in green slime.  

     He describes arresting a member of the gentry in Birmingham for being Drunk and Disorderly. How he and a colleague were mistaken for rapists when dealing with a group of children who were trespassing on the railway.  

      As the book unfolds there are stories of Bill preparing for the Cold War, and meeting with high ranking officials from all three armed services on a regular basis. 

   He appeared on two Crimestoppers reconstructions regarding a robbery and an indecent assault and was identified as suspect in one of them.

      Bill describes how he became an author. He tells of how he met someone in his family who was involved in the Great Train Robbery.  

   Bill tries not to aggrandise his careers with the police, but inevitably the contents of the book are given over to Bill’s daily working life. There are some gentle humorous memoirs from Bill contained in the book including his experiences of teaching well over one million school children on the dangers of the railway. 

   Why not purchase the book to relive Bill’s tales.