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
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
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.