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Year: 2008
Branch: Surrey & E.Hants

George Rochfort-Rae died tragically of injuries sustained in a road accident on 20 March 2008. Appointed to the Regiment in 1948 he quickly proved himself a capable and energetic officer, who was to serve his regimental career in all three battalions and at the Guards Depot. He was Adjutant of the 3rd Battalion when it called up its reservists to sail to Malta, 900 strong, in preparation for the Suez campaign, which however fizzled out before it could be engaged. His Commanding Officer, Alec Gregory-Hood, wrote that he had the invaluable quality for a staff officer in welcoming his commander’s more fanciful ideas even though later he had to prove them impracticable. This quality, among others, led him into appointments across a wide spectrum of the military life: ADC to the CIGS, DAA & QMG in Hong Kong, Brigade Major in Berlin, Senior Major of the 2nd Grenadiers in Germany, infantry instructor at the Royal School of Artillery, and in due course to command of the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Abu Dhabi Defence Force and the British Army Training Team in the Sudan, and to Headquarters Land Forces Cyprus as Colonel GS and Deputy Commander. In all he served with verve, good sense and extreme conscientiousness. George will best be remembered as a small, compact mass of energy and purpose, constructed, it seemed, of rubber, leather and coiled spring. He boxed, he flew aeroplanes, he ran across country long after it was either wise or decorous to do so. He even appeared mounted on the Queen’s Birthday Parade in Berlin, in defiance of his commander's assertion that only he (the brigadier) was to be trusted on a horse. His retirement, such as it was, was spent out on the moors urging along youngsters on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. He was said to be one of that breed of men who, if planted at Dover with the necessary connections, would light up the whole coastline from the Thames to Beachy Head. A lifelong bachelor and devout Roman Catholic, George was an intensely private person, reserved, self-contained and self-deprecating. On a short acquaintance he might appear stern and humourless. But he was not. On very little provocation the creased features and the furrowed brow would crack open into the widest of grins, and he had a laugh to go with it. May he rest in peace.


Tribute by: Douglas Robert Whitfield

I knew George for nearly twenty years and he guided me successfully through Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards. He was a fantastic person to know and I took great pleasure in staying in touch for several years after completing the awards. His anecdotes and stories were always ones to remember. George was one of a kind, a real inspiration and one who will be sorely missed.

Added on: 01 April 2012, 23:38

Tribute by: Brigadier Michael Taylor CBE DL

I knew George when were served together in Berlin in the mid-1960s; he was Brigade Major and I but a humble subaltern in the Berlin Brigade Signal Squadron. We both lived in Dorset House Officers' Mess and inevitably got to know each other well - even if he did sometimes sit at breakfast with his hat on! I am sorry only recently to learn of George's tragic death. But your Obituary is 'on the nail'; indeed, George and I kept in contact for many years afterwards, even when he moved to his cottage in Wonersh. Even then, having realised that I was living not far away, he had the kindness to invite my wife and I to accompany him to 'open air' operatic picnic events, which with his special blend of humour were always a hugely enjoyable experience. George was a kind, understanding, but essentally private man. He will be much missed.

Added on: 29 September 2012, 14:56

Tribute by: Derek Clive Swanson

I remember Major Rochfort-Rae very well, as I was his Driver Operator when he was the Brigade Major in Berlin, between 1963-1965.

We went on many manoeuvre's together including "down the zone".

It is sad to think that he had an accident after all the time he had served.

D. Swanson Royal Signals

Added on: 30 June 2014, 09:51

Tribute by: David Williams

I served under George as a Squadron Commander in the ADDF. He was the best Commanding Officer I ever had and also a good friend.

Added on: 16 August 2014, 19:12

Tribute by: Arthur Baker

I knew George in 1956 when I became his servant. He was Adjutant of the 3rd Battalion at Windsor. We served together in Malta, Cyprus and later at Regimental Headquarters when he became ADC to the CIGS. George was a strict disciplinarian, but was also a kind and caring man with a wonderful sense of humour. He kept in touch with my wife and I by phone until just before his death, and we enjoyed dinner with him whenever he was in our area. George is sadly missed and will always be remembered.

Added on: 08 December 2016, 13:35

Tribute by: Mike McCabe

When I was a Boxer at university, in 1992, I met a very non-descript quiet man and had a brief chat with him. It was George. He subsequently wrote to me carefully quoting every word I had said to him and sent me photos of my bout. A vey exceptional and kind man, the likes of which I haven't encountered before or since.

Added on: 25 December 2016, 07:42