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William Turnbull Rochester

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Born in Seaham in 1913, he was a miner before he enlisted, aged 16, as a Regular soldier in the DLI in 1930. Before the Second World War, he served in India, Sudan and at home. At Rauray, Normandy, on 28 June and 1 July 1944, as Company Sergeant Major of "D" Company 11th Battalion DLI, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal when he "showed the highest standard of devotion to duty and example. He was CSM of a very young Company who took their objectives after suffering heavy casualties. Throughout, his example and steadiness, in the face of determined counter-attack, instilled great confidence". All the officers were killed or wounded but "with their Warrant Officer present the Company remained cheerful, stood firm and held on". Later he was badly wounded by a mortar bomb. After his discharge, William Rochester worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Birtley and took on the voluntary post of Civil Defence Officer, teaching rescue and first aid. Bill Rochester retired in 1978 to live in Birtley. He died in 2000.
William Turnbull Rochester

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