Major General Rockingham
Major General "Rocky" Rockingham began his military career in 1935 as a Lieutenant in the Canadian Scottish Militia Regiment.
He achieved the rank of Brigadier during the Second World War and on return to Canada, assumed command of the 6th Canadian Pacific Force. On his retirement, he accepted a Reserve Force appointment as Commander of the 15th Canadian Infantry Brigade.
In August 1950, he was put in charge of the organization and training of the 5,000 strong Canadian Army Special Force that served in Korea, and commanded the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade there from August 1950 to April 1952.
Second World War
In 1944, during the D Day invasion, Lieutenant-Colonel Rockingham (known by his troops as "Rocky") was the Commanding Officer of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. Successful during the Caen-Falaise breakout as a Battalion Commander, he was promoted to Brigadier-General in August 1944 and given command of the 9th Infantry Brigade, which he led with distinction through Belgium, Holland and Germany.
With a well earned reputation as a great fighting officer, he was asked to return to the army in 1950 to take command of the Canadian 25th Brigade, which was soon to depart for action in the Korean War. In 1953, he was promoted to Major-General, remained in the Army and was General Officer Commanding (GOC) Western Command when he retired in 1966.
By the 9 July 1944, thirty-three days later than planned, the Canadians finally captured Caen after vicious fighting against the Hitler Youth of the German 12 SS Panzer Division led by Brigadier General Kurt Meyer, whose unit had infamously murdered 11 captured Canadian soldiers at Ardenne Abbey the previous month.
Falaise was 21 miles south of Caen and was the next objective, but blocking the road to Falaise was Verrieres Ridge, a formidable, well-defended German position. Between 18–25 July, numerous attacks to take the ridge failed, including an attack by the Black Watch, which suffered over 300 casualties killed or wounded, including the Battalion Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel S. Cantlie.
On the morning of 26 July 1944, Lt. Col. Rockingham, leading his Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Battalion, took the ridge and held it, suffering 200 casualties. For his leadership and determination, Rockingham was promoted to Brigadier-General and placed in command of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division.
Battle of the Scheldt
During the Battle of the Scheldt, Brigadier Rockingham’s leadership again helped to secure the Breskins Pocket, where his Brigade, using tracked, water navigating troop carriers called Buffaloes, launched an amphibious surprise assault across the Terneuzen Canal and closed on the rear of the enemy. By 8 Nov 1944, the Battle for the Scheldt was over with the entire estuary in Allied hands.
On return to Canada he assumed command of the 6th Canadian Pacific Force. When the Japanese surrendered he retired from the Regular Force and accepted a Reserve Force appointment as Commander 15th Canadian Infantry Brigade.
On 25 June, 1950, Communist North Korea invaded South Korea. The Minister of National Defence recalled Rockingham from civilian life to organize and train the 5,000 man Canadian Army Special Force to serve in Korea. He commanded the 25th Canadian Brigade in Korea from August 1950 until April 1952.