Obituary: Dr Roger Berrett


Dr Roger Berrett
OC 1948-1956

Born 5 July 1939, died 25 May 2016, aged 76

Roger was an internationally recognised expert in forensic analysis of origins of fires and the various materials used. After retirement from the MET, Roger ran training courses for police forces around the world.

Roger was one of the boarding entrants in September 1948. He was initially billeted in the three-bed dorm in Shirley Goss. He quickly became close friends with us all, and notably with Toby Rushton and me. I remember his skillful stepovers at soccer for Emlyn and the School.

Two years later brought the arrival of another group of friends including Phil Walker, John Davies, David Charles and Nic Harper.

Roger left in 1956, after winning colours for Hockey and Cricket before leaving to join a Sixth Form College. And subsequently joining the Met Police Labs before taking a degree in Chemistry and a Phd in Forensics. His speciality became crimes and incidents involving fire, in which he became a world authority.

Phil, John and Toby, as Best Man and Ushers, supported Roger at his first marriage.

He was always a very special hockey player and represented the Hawks, the Met Police and the Civil Service until well into his fifties. A career which began at Left Wing ended at Left Back as his speed diminished. A new neighbour here, arrived from Weybridge, remembered Roger’s legendary hockey skills. More recently, Roger appeared on Breakfast TV talking about another passion, Barbecue.

In the eighties and nineties, I was to host Caterham “tables” when Odiham Cricket Club held “benefit” matches for retiring Hampshire players. Over the years, Roger, Phil, John, Toby, David and Nic Harper and Geoff Bayly were regular visitors to the marquee.

Roger, Phil, John, Toby, David Charles and I got together with Roger, at that time wheelchair bound, in late 2015,, when we spent a fantastic day at Brooklands Motor Museum, lunch at the golf club followed by Dinner at our hotel. After a long battle with Prostate Cancer, Roger knew that his days were numbered. So it was a very special pleasure for us all to enjoy each others’ company and to celebrate our lifetime friendship”. His wife, Sheila, later told me how much he had enjoyed getting together with his “Old Cat” mates.

He has left a memorable footprint: and much to celebrate.

By his friend OC Peter Ward

 More on Roger can be read on his facebook page: