Sergeant James Rice

Service number 191
Ranks Held Private, Sergeant
Birth Date 1885
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Newcastle
Death Date 1970-04-25
Final Rank Sergeant
Unit 6th Australian Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company
Place Newcastle
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918

James Rice was born in 1885 to James and Catherine Rice at Newcastle, New South Wales. Before enlisting, James was employed as an engineer and had worked for five years with the Pacific Coal Company.

Rice enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 17 January 1917 and was assigned to the 1st Railway section. On 7 February 1917, he embarked with the 1st Railway section for England on board HMAT Wiltshire. His unit was redesignated 60th Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company in April 1917, and on 14 May 1917 he proceeded overseas to France. In October of 1917 he was promoted to corporal while acting as a sergeant, and was promoted to a full sergeant on 1 February 1918. In March 1918, his unit was renumbered 6th Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company.

In April 1919, Rice was granted leave with pay to work for a private engineering company in England until 28 July 1919. He returned to Australia on board HMAT Argyllshire on 1 August 1919. During this voyage, he was part of the onboard entertainment group The Fragments. This group gave a performance at sea on 12 August, during which James Rice sang “The Battle Eve” as a duet with Lance Sergeant Patrick Joseph Walton, 5th Australian Pioneer Battalion.

James Rice died on the 25 April 1970 and is buried in Rookwood cemetery in Sydney New South Wales.



Date of birth 1885
Date of enlistment 17 January 1917
Date of embarkation 07 February 1917
Date returned to Australia 01 August 1919
Date of death 25 April 1970