The AIF Project

William Henry RICE

Regimental number5183
Place of birthMount Perry, Queensland
SchoolMount Perry State School, Queensland
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationTeamster
AddressMount Perry, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation32
Next of kinMother, Mrs M Rice, Mount Perry, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date18 October 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name9th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/26/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A16 Star of Victoria on 31 March 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll49th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 7 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death34
Age at death from cemetery records34
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
149
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Maria RICE, Mount Perry, Queensland
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 2389 Pte Frederick James RICE, 12th Bn, killed in action, 15 February 1917; 6070 Pte George RICE, 1st Bn, returned to Australia, 12 May 1918; 5182 Pte John Thomas RICE, 49th Bn, killed in action, 5 September 1916.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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