Boy 1st Class John Arthur George Rice

John Arthur George Rice was born on 16th January 1899 in Wotton, Surrey to Elizabeth Jane Rice.  His father is not known, John may possibly had a sister called Winifred Leith Rice born in the 2nd quarter of 1897 in Wotton.

At the time of the 1901 Census, Elizabeth was staying, along with her children Winifred and John, with her parents: estate woodsman William and his wife, Fanny at Broadmoor, Wotton. The household further comprised of William and Fanny’s other children: Ellen, agricultural labourer James, Elsie and Thomas.

At the time of the 1911 Census, John’s grandparents William and Fanny lived at Broadmoor, Wotton. The household further comprised of Robert Rice and Dorking Urban Council roadman William, gardener James and farm labourer Alfred.

John Rice enlisted into the Royal Navy on 18th January 1914 for duration of 12 years. He was a Boy II Class and his regimental number was: J30222. At the time of his enlistment he was working as a salt works boy. He was over 5ft tall, had dark hair, brown eyes and a shallow complexion. He served on the HMS Impregnable as a Boy II Class from 24th March 1914 to 29th October 1914. On 24th October 1914 he was made a Boy I Class. From 30th October 1914 he served as a Boy I Class on the HMS Queen Mary until his death on 31st May 1916.

He was killed on board of the HMS Queen Mary during the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916.

The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle between the Royal Navy and German Seas Fleet from 31st May 1916 to 1st of June 1916 in the North Sea near Jutland in Denmark. HMS Queen Mary was sunk during this battle in its opening phase. She was hit at 4.26PM by shells from SMS Derfflinger which detonated her forward magazines and the ship broke in two pieces and sunk. Out of her 1286 crew, only 20 men survived.

Jack Rice Plymouth Memorial Roll of Honour ©

John Rice is commemorated at the Plymouth Naval Memorial on panel reference 13.

His mother Elizabeth Jane Rice later lived at 93 Jersey Road, Custom House in London. She died in 1970 in Dartford, Kent.

Elizabeth’s brother, John’s uncle, Alfred Thomas Rice was part of the Coldstream Guards at the time of the WW1. He was a Private with the regimental number 14791. He was killed on 18th June 1916 in the Western Theatre of War.

Rice Family History

John’s mother Elizabeth Jane was born on 1st April 1876 in Wotton to general agricultural labourer William and Fanny (nee Edwards).

His maternal grandfather William was born about 1837 in Wotton to William and Hannah Charman, born about 1811 in Abinger, Surrey. William married Hannah on 24th August 1831 at St John’s the Evangelist church in Wotton. Hannah later married agricultural labourer William Neale, born about 1822 in Chiltenton, Sussex. At the time of the 1861 Census, the family lived at Chapel House in Wotton. William Neale was working as an agricultural labourer and Hannah was looking after their children: Hannah and Henry. The household further comprised of Hannah’s children from her previous marriage: George, William, Michael and John and two lodgers. All four boys were working as agricultural labourers. John’s maternal grandmother Fanny Edwards was born in the 2nd quarter of 1849 in Ockley, Surrey to labourer George, born about 1819 in Ockley, and Ellen, born about 1816 in Horley, Hampshire. William and Fanny married on 19th April 1867 in Oakwood, Surrey.

John’s mother Elizabeth was born to William Jnr and Fanny on 1st April 1876 in Wotton. Elizabeth Jane Rice was a sister of Alfred and Arthur Rice, who would also die during the WW1.

At the time of the 1881 Census, the family lived at Broadmoor. William was working as an agricultural labourer and Fanny was looking after her children: William, Ellen, Elizabeth and James.

At the time of the 1891 Census, the family lived at Broadmoor Cottage in Wotton. William Rice Jnr was working as a general labourer and Fanny was looking after her children: Elizabeth, James, Elsie and Albert.

John’s mother Elizabeth married William Charles Mould in the 2nd quarter of 1899 in Dorking.

Born Wotton
Son of Elizabeth Jane Rice
Nephew of Arthur James Rice and Alfred Thomas Rice
Regiment H.M.S. Queen Mary. Royal Navy
Number J/30222
Date of Death 31st May 1916
Place of Death At Sea
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Age 17
Memorial Plymouth Naval Memorial
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