John Thomas RICE

RICE, John Thomas

Service Number: 5182
Enlisted: 18 October 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 49th Infantry Battalion
Born: Mount Perry, Queensland, Australia, 23 March 1881
Home Town: Mount Perry, North Burnett, Queensland
Schooling: Mount Perry State School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Teamster
Died: Killed in action, Mouquet Farm, France, 5 September 1916, aged 35 years
Cemetery: Courcelette British Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Miara, Waterloo & Yandaran Roll of Honor, Mount Perry Shire of Perry Roll of Honor, Mount Perry War Memorial, Waterloo Memorial Cairn Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

18 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 5182, 9th Infantry Battalion
31 Mar 1916: Involvement Private, 5182, 9th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '9' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Star of Victoria embarkation_ship_number: A16 public_note: ''
31 Mar 1916: Embarked Private, 5182, 9th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Star of Victoria, Sydney
5 Sep 1916: Involvement Private, 5182, 49th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 5182 awm_unit: 49th Australian Infantry Battalion awm_rank: Private awm_died_date: 1916-09-05

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

John Thomas Rice was one of four sons of John and Maria Rice of Mount Perry, Queensland who enlisted during WW1. The father died in 1899, leaving a widowed Maria to raise seven children.

She lost three sons to the war, receiving the news of all their deaths during 1917. John Thomas Rice (known to his family as ‘Jack’) enlisted in late 1915 with his brother William. They both joined the 9th Battalion and were issued consecutive regimental numbers. Both transferred to the 49th Battalion only a fortnight before the unit was sent in to the front line to make the last Australian attack on Mouquet Farm. John was reported as missing after the battle, missing on the 5 September 1916, which is unusual in that most of the casualties were reported as on 3-4 September 1916. His brother William also fought in this battle and made a statement to the Red Cross, “All the information I can give is that I last saw him on Saturday evening 2 September 1916 previous to the attack of next day. Though I have heard various rumours about subsequent happenings I have no evidence as to the correctness of them.”

John was not confirmed as killed in action on 5 September 1916 until August 1917, almost 12 months later. By then his brothers, 5183 Pte. William Henry Rice and 2389 Pte. Frederick James Rice 12th Battalion, had both been killed in action. A fourth brother, George Rice, applied to be sent home on the basis that his three brothers had been killed and he was now the sole support of his widowed mother. The Department of Defence in Melbourne cabled London and gave orders that 6070 George Rice be returned to Australia in March 1918.

During 1919 John Thomas Rice’s remains were discovered near Mouquet Farm, confirmed by the presence of his identity disc. The identity disc was returned to his mother during June 1920.