The Upper Thames Patrol

In 1939 Sir Ralph Glyn, Member of Parliament for Abingdon, was granted permission to set up a water-borne unit on the river Thames, in conjunction with the Thames Conservancy and the War Office.

The Thames is 125 miles long and at the time had 26 locks, 44 road bridges and 4 important rail bridges. The UTP's remit was to patrol the Thames from Teddington to Lechlade against potential invaders and saboteurs.

In June 1940 the UTP was reorganised into two companies, one water-borne and the other for shore duties.

At its height the UPT has 6000 members, mainly Thames water-men but also civilians.  They were the first unit to recruit women, who helmed boats and crewed.  In fact on 29th August 1940 over 40 women joined the UTP in Wallingford, although this was never officially sanctioned.

The UTP was divided into 7 county sections, each section was allocated an area of the river, for example Lechlade to Oxford has 30-36 men and were sub-divided into three sections.

Members received special instructions on boat handling and water-borne operations in addition to standard Home Guard training.

The UTP became jokingly known as Up The Pub and was dissolved in September 1944.

UTP Photographs