Reains, William John (No. 169665)

Reains, William John (William)

Chief Stoker

No. 169665, HMS Vivid, Royal Navy

Died of disease on Wednesday 12 January 1916 (aged 40)


Plymouth (Weston Mill) Cemetery, Devon (Naval Consecrated C. 3894)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Across a range of records there is a wide variation in the spelling of his surname, including Raine, Rains, Raines and Raynes.

William John Reains was born on 24 April 1875 in Church Lane, Donaghadee and he was a son of William John and Margaret Reains (nee Stewart) who were married on 2 May 1873 in Christ Church, Byculla, Bombay, India.  William John Reains Junior was baptised in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee.

William John Reains Senior was a railway engine driver and he and Margaret had three children:

Alice Louisa (born 1 January 1874 in Bombay; married William McGimpsey on 21 October 1908 in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church; died 2 October 1970 in Calgary, Canada)

William John (born 24 April 1875 in Church Lane, Donaghadee)

Henry (born 14 March 1879 in Church Lane, Donaghadee; died 26 September 1966)

Their father, William John Reains, died of heart disease on 3 October 1880 in Bombay.

Their mother, Margaret Reains (nee Stewart), died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 26 February 1885 in Church Lane, Donaghadee.

The three children were raised by their maternal grandparents, Samuel and Sarah Stewart (nee Carson).

William John Reains joined the Royal Navy when he was 18 years old and, on 11 February 1901, he and Alice Maud Hallett were married in St Peter’s Church of England Church Plymouth.  At the time of his marriage, William John Reains was serving aboard HMS Hyacinth.  William John and Alice Maud Reains had no children.

Chief Stoker William John Reains was 40 and he had more than 23 years of service in the Royal Navy when he died on 12 January 1916.  His death followed a prolonged illness (contracted in Gallipoli) and an operation in the Naval Hospital Devonport.

During his naval career, William saw service all over the world and he held the African General Service Medal with a Somaliland 1902-1904 clasp.  He also held the Royal Navy Good Conduct and Long Service medal.

At the time of his death William’s wife, Alice Maud, was living at 5 Herbert Street, Stoke, Devonport.  William’s sister and brother-in-law, Alice Louisa and William McGimpsey, who were married on 21 October 1908 in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church, were living in Victoria Terrace, Donaghadee.  Later the McGimpsey family moved to Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

William’s brother Henry and Jane Anna Hill were married on 4 January 1905 in Ballymacarrett Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Patrick’s).

William’s wife, Alice Maud Reains, died of cancer on 23 March 1967 (aged 86) in the Torr Home for the Blind in Hartley, Plymouth.

In naval records it is recorded that William John Reains joined up on 11 October 1892 for a period of twelve years.  He was 5 feet 9½ inches tall with dark brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.