Valentine Augustine (Val) ROCHFORT

ROCHFORT, Valentine Augustine

Service Number: 6575
Enlisted: 28 April 1916, Cootamundra, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 9th Field Ambulance
Born: Jerilderie, New South Wales, 1 October 1898
Home Town: Jerilderie, Jerilderie, New South Wales
Schooling: St Patrick's, Goulburn
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Died of Wounds (leg & thigh), Bray sur, Somme, France, 23 August 1918, aged 19 years
Cemetery: Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery
Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Jerilderie War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

28 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Cootamundra, New South Wales
7 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 6575, 2nd Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '7' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Ceramic embarkation_ship_number: A40 public_note: ''
7 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 6575, 2nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Sydney
23 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 6575, 9th Field Ambulance

Help us honour Valentine Augustine Rochfort's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


From the Australian War Memorial: 6575 Private Valentine Augustine Rochfort, 9th Field Ambulance AAMC

DOW 23 August 1918

Story delivered 26 October 2013

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Valentine Augustine Rochfort of the Australian Army Medical Corps. Val Rochfort was born in Jerilderie, New South Wales, and was the third son of Joseph and Emilie Rochfort to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force. He did so at Cootamundra in April 1916 after gaining his parents permission, as he was only 18. He was sent overseas with reinforcements to the 2nd Battalion.  On arrival in England, Rochfort continued the training program he began in Australia. However, during musketry training at Liverpool it was suspected that he had a problem with his sight. He was sent to Larkhill for a medical board early in 1917 where it was determined he had a detached retina in his right eye. It had probably been present since before enlistment, and he was boarded permanently unfit for military service.Rochfort stayed in training camps in England for some time, working on pioneer fatigues until he was recommended for use in the Medical Corps. Rochfort was sent to France with the 9th Field Ambulance as a stretcher bearer in late 1917. He was known as a great talker and a very pleasant fellow and proved popular with all the men in his unit. He served with them for several months. 

On 23 August 1918, as the Allies were finally making large inroads into the German positions, Rochfort was performing his duties near the French village of Sailly-le-Sec. His position came under heavy shell fire, and he took shelter in a dugout. Two shells dropped, the first right outside of the dugout, and two of his mates got out. The second shell was a direct hit. Rochfort was severely wounded in the blast, and some who witnessed it thought he was killed outright. He survived long enough to receive some treatment at the 9th Field Ambulance station before dying of the shell wounds to his legs and thighs. Shortly before being hit, Val Rochfort had posted a letter home in which he told his family about the fortnight s leave he had just returned from, and describing the big push he was part of. His family received the letter after being notified of his death.

A comrade of Rochfort wrote:

We have lost a comrade whom we all admired for his straightforwardness and clean living, and one who was always ready when there was work to be done. Never complaining, he always kept cheery, making the best of things when they were going wrong.

Val Rochfort was 20 years old. His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War. This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial.

We now remember Private Valentine Augustine Rochfort, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.