Rice, William

Rice, William


Cloughey Presbyterian Church


It is recorded in the annals of Cloughey Presbyterian Church that William Rice, who was a member of the congregation and the husband of Margaret Rice (nee McNamara), was killed in action in 1917.

At the beginning of April 1911, William Rice (aged 23 and born in County Antrim) was working as a postman and he lived at 37 Market Square, Portaferry where he boarded with Robert and Minnie Lemon.  Robert Lemon worked as a master carpenter.

William Rice and Margaret (Maggie) McNamara (aged 20) were married on 14 April 1911 in Cloughey Presbyterian Church and afterwards their address was the Post Office, Cloughey.  Maggie McNamara from Cloughey was a daughter of William John McNamara, a tailor.  William Rice from Portaferry was a son of William Rice, a carter.

There is evidence that William Rice was born on 12 November 1887 in Derriaghy, Co Antrim and he was a son of William John Rice (a carter) and Margaret Rice (nee Steel).

William and Margaret Rice (nee McNamara) had at least two children:

Marjorie Jeanetta (born 17 February 1912 in High Street, Portaferry)

William John (born 13 December 1913 in Cloughey; after leaving school he became a seaman and was drowned at sea)

Six servicemen named W. Rice who died in 1917 are listed in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour.  Four can be eliminated by virtue of the family details provided.  The service details for the most likely soldier are as follows:

William Rice


(No. 195981) ‘A’ Battery 190th Brigade Royal Field Artillery

Died of wounds on 26 September 1917


Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery, Belgium (Special Memorial A. 6)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

There is an inscription on his CWGC memorial:


In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Gunner William Rice (No. 195981) enlisted in Manchester.

In the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, it is recorded that it was Gunner William Rice’s widow Maggie who received the outstanding payments that were due to him.

Whilst there is compelling circumstantial evidence, desk searches and public appeals to date have not conclusively confirmed a connection between these service data and the serviceman who is commemorated in the annals of Cloughey Presbyterian Church.