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Sidney Weetman Rochford Hughes

Portrait of Sir Rochford Hughes.

Sir Rochford Hughes

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  • Title
  • Forenames
    Sidney Weetman Rochford AWMM
  • Surname
    Hughes AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Rochford AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 40784 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB) AWMM
      KCB: Awarded 1 January 1967. AWMM
    • Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) AWMM
      CBE: Awarded 9 June 1955. The circumstances involved in the action that awarded Rochford Hughes his OBE in 1942 continue from where the citation (above) left off: "Once on dry land the 20 survivors were surprised by a small group of Italian soldiers, who, holding their rifles above their heads, surrendered to the RAF party. When 80 more Italian soldiers arrived, Hughes and his group were instead taken prisoner and marched towards Benghazi. Later a group of Italian officers and a hundred more soldiers joined the group, and, after one of the wounded air gunners died, the RAF party was abandoned at an Arab village in exchange for the Italians receiving favourable treatment should they later be captured. The Arabs directed the group towards British lines, where ... Flt Lt Hughes led his party to allied territory with approximately 130 prisoners in tow." (Air Force News, No 69, April 2006, p23) AWMM
    • Air Force Cross (AFC) AWMM
      1 January 1947 AWMM
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) AWMM
      1 January 1945 AWMM
    • Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) AWMM
      29 December 1942 AWMM
      Received for his assistance in the evacuation of Crete -- one of only two Greek awards given to New Zealand airmen during WWII. AWMM
    • Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) (Military) AWMM
      OBE - London Gazette, 14 May 1942. Citation: "One night in December, 1941, this officer was flying a Sunderland aircraft in the Mediterranean area when it was attacked by 2 enemy fighters. One of the attackers was probably destroyed but Squadron Leader Hughes' aircraft sustained damage to the aileron control, and two engines were put out of action. The aircraft lost height rapidly but, with great skill, this officer succeeded in turning it into the wind and finally descended safely on the water. Heavy seas were running but, although one wing tip float was smashed, he managed to steer the aircraft on to a nearby reef in such a way that the crew were able to escape from the aircraft into much calmer water. Observing one of his comrades, who had been swept from the main plane into the sea, in an exhausted condition and in difficulties, Squadron Leader Hughes immediately dived into the water and brought his comrade to safety after swimming some 30-yards through the heavy seas. His action undoubtedly saved the life of his comrade. Throughout, this officer displayed exceptional courage and leadership." [RAF Web bio] AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    • No 1 Pilot course, RNZAF, 1937. AWMM
    • Course No 8, Middle East Staff School, Haifa, 28 December 1942. AWMM
    • Imperial Defence College, 1955. AWMM
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    Inter War 1937 AWMM Newspaper Editor/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Attended Waitaki Boys High School

    Editor with New Zealand Herald, 1933 - 1937.

    Transferred to Royal Air Force (RAF) in June 1938

    Air Staff, HQ Middle East Command, Royal Air Force (RAF), 27 Mar 1943.

    Promoted to Squadron Leader and appointed Officer Commanding (OC), 511 Squadron, RAF, September 1945.

    Chief of Operations, USAF All Weather Center, 1948.

    Air Staff, Air Ministry, 1950.

    OC, RAF Farnborough.

    OC, RAF Jever, Germany, December 1955.

    Air Member & Chairman, Defence Resolutions Policy Staff, 1959.

    Air Officer Commanding (AOC), 19 (Recon) Group, RAF, 27 January 1962.

    Promoted to Air Vice Marshal, 1 July 1962.

    Deputy Controller Aircraft, RAF, Ministry of Aviation, 1964.

    Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C), Far East Air Force, 8 August 1966.

    Promoted Air Marshal, 1 January 1967.

    Air Adviser to Government of Singapore, 1970 - 1972.

    Retired to New Zealand, 1972.

    Chairman, Mazda Motors New Zealand, 1972 - 1987.

    Director, New Zealand Steel, 1973 - 1984.

    Director, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, 1974 - 1977.

    Director, General Accident, 1975 - 1984.

    Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    17 September 1996 AWMM
    Age 81 AWMM
    TaupoWaikato AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • References
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
      Vol. 3. p.588 AWMM
    • Air Force news. Wellington, N.Z.: Air Staff, New Zealand Defence Force. AWMM
      A Greek Tragedy, No 69, April 2006. AWMM
    • Thompson, H. (1956). New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vols. 1-3). Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      (Vol. 3, pp. 17, 40, 136-138, 231, 235). AWMM


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28 January 2017Michael Palmer NapierFriend

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