William Victor Rice

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Commander William Victor Rice, D.S.O., D.S.C. (7 April, 1887 – 8 June, 1932) served in the Royal Navy. He commanded minesweepers despite a pronounced stammer.

Life & Career

Rice passed out of Britannia in September, 1903 and served first in Cambrian and then the first class protected cruiser St. George. It was in this appointment that a Commodore reported on 20 July 1904 that Rice "suffers so badly from stammering when on duty as to greatly handicap him & suggests sending him home for treatment." Captain Finnis concurred. He returned to Southampton in S.S. Nile.[1]

Rice was back in December, 1904, and was appointed to Empress of India. When she paid off on 27 February, 1905, he went to Hannibal in the Channel.

Captain Arthur J. Henniker-Hughan of H.M.S. Venerable wrote in March, 1906 that Rice "although of great promise, he unfortunately stammers to such a degree that he can't get wds out. Later in 1906, Rice was recognized for having produced good watercolour sketches of Catarro.[2]

Before Rice was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 30 June, 1909, a report was called for to precisely pin down how great his speech impediment was. Rice's captain in Hindustan recorded in March that he did not regard the issue as being so great as to inferfere with Rice's duties.[3]

Rice qualified as an Assistant Surveyor, fourth class, in April 1910. He would make third class in April, 1911 and second class in July, 1913, but would unfortunately be admitted to Haslar Hospital with "Gonorrhea and Epididymitis." He was serving in Fantome upon the outbreak of war, but was appointed in command of Pekin, where he was also expected to navigate for a pair of paddle sweepers.[4]

Rice was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 30 June, 1917 while in this protracted appointment. It ended only on 15 March, 1918.[5]

Following a brief minesweeping course in Portsmouth, Rice was placed in the minesweeper H.M.S. Gorleston and in charge of a group of twin-screw minesweepers out of Falmouth.[6]

At the very end of the war, Rice grappled with influenza. He received an uncommonly strong appraisal from Captain Preston at the end of 1918: "His ability to command a seagoing unit, nerve and staying power has not been surpassed."[7]

On 25 July 1919 (1918?), Gainsborough collided with Shrewsbury in Granton Roads. Both captains were found equally to blame.

Rice was appointed to the minesweeper Beaufort as executive officer on 1 June, 1921. He transferred to Endeavour from February through October 1922, but was appointed in command of Beaufort on 15 March, 1923.[8]

In November, 1920, a Court of Enquiry in Melbourne found that the officers in Fantome were not to blame for recent indiscipline in the crew.

Rice was sent home from Fantome without relief on account of ill health in March, 1921, leaving Sydney on 12 March and arriving in England on 23 April in S.S. Osterley.

Rice was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 December, 1923 and was re-appointed in command of Endeavour.[9]

Rice died at Malta on 8 June, 1932 and was buried on the island.

See Also

Bibliography

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Charles H. Knowles
Captain of H.M.S. Beaufort
15 Mar, 1923[10][11] – 8 Feb, 1927[12]
Succeeded by
Arthur G. N. Wyatt
Preceded by
Arthur G. N. Wyatt
Captain of H.M.S. Ormonde
8 Feb, 1927[13] – 7 Oct, 1929
Succeeded by
Arthur G. N. Wyatt
Preceded by
Arthur G. N. Wyatt
Captain of H.M.S. Beaufort
7 Oct, 1929[14] – 3 Apr, 1931[15]
Succeeded by
Harold E. Turner
Preceded by
John A. Edgell
Captain of H.M.S. Endeavour
3 Apr, 1931[16][17] – 8 Jun, 1932[18]
Succeeded by
Richard M. Southern

Footnotes

  1. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  2. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  3. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  4. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  5. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  6. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  7. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  8. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  9. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  10. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  11. The Navy List. (April, 1925). p. 217.
  12. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  13. The Navy List. (February, 1929). p. 257.
  14. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  15. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  16. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.
  17. The Navy List. (July, 1931). p. 237.
  18. Rice Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/34. f. 39.