Colonel D. H. Rochester, OBE, CD 

August 1917 - 15 August 1997


 

Colonel Rochester graduated in 1941 from the University of Toronto as a mining engineer, he served during the Second World War with 24 Field Company during operations in the Aleutian Islands and in Germany with 8 Field Squadron.

Following the war, Colonel Rochester served as Pacific Command Fire Prevention Officer at  Vancouver, attended Staff College at Kingston, then served a tour at Army Headquarters. In January of 1949, Colonel Rochester was appointed Chief Instructor at the Royal Canadian School of Military Engineering, and when the Korean War broke out was chosen to command 57 Independent Field Squadron, the first RCE unit to serve in Korea. It was for his service in Korea that Colonel Rochester was awarded the OBE. In January of 1952 he served at the Canadian Army Staff College as a member of the Directing Staff. He then served in a Planning appointment at Army Headquarters during which tour he sent to Indo China in November of 1954 to prepare for the establishment of the International Truce Commission in that country.

In September 1954, Colonel Rochester commanded 1 Field Engineer Regiment at Vedder Crossing, BC and then attended the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia. Following a short period again in Ottawa, Colonel Rochester too a light aircraft course and served at the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre in Rivers, Manitoba. He then served three years as the Canadian Liaison Officer at the American Command and General Staff Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, following which he assumed command of the Canadian Base Units, Middle East, in May 1962 for a two year period.

On 21 September 1964, Colonel Rochester took up the appointments of Commander Camp Chilliwack and Commandant of the Royal Canadian School of Military Engineering, and because of integration measures within the Services, he from that date also acted as Chief Engineer of the Canadian Army. In April 1966 with the advent of the "Base" concept, he became the first Base Commander, Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack.

In April 1967 Colonel Rochester was posted to command the formed Canadian Airborne Regiment which, at that point in time, existed only on paper. In the following two years he built that regiment into a fighting unit that was second to none in the Canadian Armed Forces. Colonel Rochester commanded the Canadian Airborne Regiment until August 1969.

Instead of taking a promotion, he retired from the Armed Forces that August. 

Upon retiring, he returned to Chilliwack BC. During his retirement he served as an alderman for the District of Chilliwack, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Rotary Club of Chilliwack, was on the Chilliwack General Hospital hospital board for many years, also as a Anglican minister he ministered at two churches in the Chilliwack area.

At the age of 79, he wanted to add to his 1500 parachute jumps. He was advised to get a medical checkup first. It was then they discovered the liver cancer which quickly took his life. He died August 15, just days before his 80th birthday. A memorial service was held 2 p.m. Saturday September 6, 1997 at the Drill Hall at CFB Chilliwack.

AIRBORNE

back


Ubique