Christ Church Crest
 
 
   
 
ยป Stephen Christopher ROCHFORD
 
 

Stephen Christopher ROCHFORD

Service number 70584

Born: 1916
Died: August 24th 1940

Stephen was the son of Joseph Patrick Rochford and his wife, Lena Blanche Rapley. He had an older brother and sister and a younger sister. They lived at Broxbourne near Cheshunt in Hertfordshire.

J.P’s father, Joseph, had started a business growing fruit under glass and J.P described himself as a nurseryman. The first Joseph erected his first greenhouse in 1872 and was the founder of what has become in the 21st century, Rochfords Nursery and is one of the largest wholesale suppliers of hardy plants in the United Kingdom. When he died in 1932, he left £278,692-6s.

Stephen was educated at Ampleforth and matriculated in 1935 [Ampleforth claimed that there was barely a year in the 20th century that there had not been a Rochford at the school.]

In December 1936, he was granted a commission as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Branch RAFVR. He joined 53 Squadron and having trained as a pilot was promoted to Flying Officer. 53 Squadron was equipped with Blenheims in January 1939 and went to France in September for strategic reconnaissance duties. In May 1940, the Squadron returned to England and continued its operations as well as undertaking bombing missions. It transferred to Coastal Command on 3rd July 1940 in Detling Kent.

At 2059 on Saturday August 24th F/O. S C. Rochford, Sgt, W. Briggs and Sgt. D. Brook took off from Detling in T2035 to patrol ports from the Hook of Holland to Ostend. Returning about 2200, the plane hit two houses near Dover and the aircraft burst into flames, killing all on board as well as the occupants of one of the houses.

His funeral was a Requiem Mass at the Catholic Church in Hertford on Friday August 30th at 10.00.a.m. He is buried in the Hertford Corporation Cemetery, Sec. M. Row Q. Grave 12.

Stephen was a first cousin of Anthony Rochford. Their fathers were brothers.

The history of the civilians of Dover who were killed during the war tells of Mary Alice Maycock and William Charles Maycock.

They died around 10 o'clock on Saturday night, 24 August 1940 at their home 15 Chevalier Road, Elms Vale, after an aircraft crashed onto theirs and a neighbouring house and burst into flames. The aircraft was an RAF Coastal Command Bristol Blenheim, from 53 Squadron. It had taken off an hour earlier from Detling, Kent, to conduct a patrol along the Hook of Holland to the Ostend line. All three of the crew, Stephen Rochford, aged 24, William Briggs, and Dennis Brook, 21, were also killed. Mr and Mrs Maycock's funeral was held at St James' cemetery, Dover. A large number of mourners attended and there were many floral tributes. PC Maycock had joined the force in 1931, and was a keen athlete. He was a swimmer and water polo player, member of the Police and Dover Swimming Clubs, and was also a boxer, having on three occasions competed in the Police Boxing Finals at the Albert Hall, London. 

When they died, PC Maycock had just arrived home from duty. It was Mrs Maycock's thirtieth birthday, and she had that week travelled home from Southall Middlesex, in order to spend the day with her husband. One of their cousins recollected the tragedy. "I saw the plane come down and explode ... They said at the time the plane may have hit a barrage balloon cable. They were both killed. I remember going over to see it (the wreckage). There was nothing left, not a brick standing. ... So very sad, they were such a lovely couple".

Mrs. Maycock had been expecting the couple's third child. Their son, Peter, aged 6, and their daughter, Stella, aged 2, had remained in Southall, where they had been evacuated with their mother.

Peter joined the Royal Navy, and was serving as a Lieutenant when he was killed on November 27th 1962, with five others, in a flying accident at Greencastle, Northern Ireland. He was 27. He is buried at Helston, Cornwall, in the RNMAS Culdrose RC Section.

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