On Monday evening, 21 March 2022, the members and visitors of Solihull Lodge 8088 carried out their usual business once the clock hit 6 pm. When the gavel was put down by Worshipful Master Paul Draper, the lodge opened its doors to a very important speaker, former Police Superintendent, Derek Forrest OBE.
Derek Forest, who is not a Freemason, delivered an interesting presentation entitled 'Disaster Victims Identification'. Serving across the globe as a DVI commander, he gave paramount details about the whole process of identification, e.g., scene management, search and recovery, matching IDs, family liaison, repatriation and managing press. Among many disasters where he took on a leading role, the most important was the earthquake followed by a giant tsunami travelling at 1,000 km per hour in Indian Ocean in 2004. The energy released in the wake of the earthquake was equivalent to 23,000 atomic bombs. All of these resulted in 280,000 deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries and millions of reports of missing people.
Derek Forrest OBE and WM Paul Draper
Working against the unknown and every possible barrier over 18 busy months in Thailand, travelling back and forth while racing against the clock, and engaging with stressful details surely are not easy tasks, let alone managing and dealing with forensics, administration andhumanitarian aspects of such crises. Derek Forrest, a true gentleman and an expert in his area, was welcomed and applauded by everyone in the room.
This news has initially been published by the website of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire.