1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Bertie Frederick Rice

Contributed by: Yvonne Brookfield, on 2008-11-11

No portrait available
Rank
First Name Bertie Frederick
Surname Rice
Year of Birth 1882
Year of Death 1914
Regiment Middlesex Regiment
Place of Wartime Residence Hounslow, Middlesex, Greater London

Bertie Frederick's Story

My great uncle Bertie was killed in action in the opening days of WWI. On the night of 28 October 1914 the original War diary describes the regiment as having a very disturbed night - " about 10 pn of heavy fire opened on our trenches - supported by high explosive shells. Sniping still increasing from farms in front". It then list two casualties one of which was my great uncle, 4955 Sgt Rice followed by the simple word killed.

The family story has always been that Bertie was killed because he was too tall for the trenches and was hit by a snipper as a result. He and his brothers were all tall, well over 6', but Bertie was reputed to have been close to 6'8". We have a photograph of him stood in a colour party where it looks like a man amongst boys but when you study the faces you can see they are his peers.

Bertie was a regular soldier, having signed up as a boy soldier and served as a bandsman in the Duke of Cambridge's Own, Middlesex regiment. He was born in Rangoon Burmah in 1882 when his father was there with the Middlesex Regiment and lived his whole life within the army.

We have visited Bertie's grave at the Rue David Cemetery, Fleurbaix near Armentiers on many occasions taking at different times my mother and her cousin as well as our own children. My son Jonathon now has Bertie's medals. They were given to him on his 18th birthday and they are treasured. As a family we will never forget - Bertie was a talented musician, and a soldier who dedicated his whole life to the service of his country.

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