Is this tall thin Derek? What a very sad loss. Our paths only crossed briefly but he struck me as genuine guy, good sense of humour (the way he took the piss out of me on the Monday after my football team was thrashed 7-0 the previous Saturday was brilliant), very approachable but a strong Sgt Maj, Op Int and Spy hits the nail on the head with the balance between compassion and command. It was an example I aimed to emulate. I think he was RSM FIU when the whole I** F***** thing broke. He will be sorely missed. A very sad day. Condolences to his family.
Just seen this. i first met Derek in 10 Int & Sy Coy when he was the FSC, he was a great role model. Fortunately I had the pleasure of running into him on numerous occasions during the rest of my career. During the time he was RSM FIU (NI) it was always 'Sir'. the day he handed over it was 'welcome back Derek'. A top bloke.
My favorite story about him was when he served in SMIU prior to 10 Int. His then wife Chris ( also sadly deceased now) asked him if he had had a good night the night before. He replied in the affirmative and she replied 'I though so, now please go and remove your car from the neighbour's garden'.
I have only just learned of this sad news, I have great memories of Derek Lawrence as the RSM at FIU many years back, On my first visit to HQ for the RSMs initial interview I was greeted at the door by a nice chap in civvies who chatted quite politely to me as we climbed the stairs to the 1st floor, Following a short wait in the orderly room I was called into the RSMs office to find the same chap had undergone a true Clark Kent stylee transformation into a scary RSM type who made it quite clear what he expected from soldiers in the unit..
A genuinely nice bloke who had enough of a glint in eye to make it clear that you did not want to get in his bad books.
I served with Derek when he was a Cpl in 123 Int Sect (39 Bde Lisburn). I was outside the portacabin when he shot the handbag. He had an ND while cleaning a Walther PPK. He had been on the ranges with some of the guys from the RO. They used to clear their weapons in their office rather than at the pit by the gate at front of the HQ. Derek Walked straight in with the RO guys for a coffee, then back to the Section to clean the PPK but forgot he hadn't unloaded it. I think he got a £300 fine and had to pay for a new handbag!
He was my instructor on a course and we subsequently worked together. He was both the ultimate professional and a very cheerful and compassionate colleague. My main memory of him has to be a one week trip to Ontario with him to train Canadian forces in our particular speciality. The phrase 'work hard, play hard' doesn't come close. Highlights included too many jugs of beer, a trip home in a Canadian police car, a brief visit to the US and a lap-dancing club, and many, many laughs. I have a memento of the trip which he created for me on my desk as we speak. RIP Derek.