Red Head Cove re­mem­bers Beau­mont-Hamel ca­su­alty

Pri­vate John Joseph Rice re­mem­bered at Memo­rial Day cer­e­mony

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON TC ME­DIA edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Red Head Cove res­i­dents had an ex­tra spe­cial Memo­rial Day cer­e­mony this year. Thanks to some re­search spear­headed by a dis­tant rel­a­tive, a new dis­play board was un­veiled hon­our­ing the life of Pte. John Joseph Rice. A na­tive of Bac­calieu Is­land, Rice was killed dur­ing the Bat­tle of Beau­mont-Hamel.

John Joseph Rice was born on Bac­calieu Is­land to par­ents Pa­trick and Agnes Rice of Red Head Cove.

Ex­actly 100 years af­ter the day of his death in the Bat­tle of Beau­mont-Hamel, res­i­dents of the lat­ter com­mu­nity gath­ered to pay their re­spects to Rice as part of a Memo­rial Day cer­e­mony.

The event at the Red Head Cove Com­mu­nity Cen­tre also served as an oc­ca­sion to un­veil a new dis­play board chron­i­cling the life of the lone sol­dier from com­mu­ni­ties in the Old Per­li­can and Bay de Verde area killed in the fa­mous First World War bat­tle.

“We didn’t ac­tu­ally know we had a solider from the com­mu­nity that fought at Beau­mont-Hamel un­til just a cou­ple of years ago,” ex­plained Darrell Rice, a dis­tant rel­a­tive of Pte. Rice. “I’ve been try­ing to get it off the ground ever since.”

Through re­search, quite a bit was learned about John Joseph Rice. He was born in 1888 and was liv­ing on Flem­ing Street in St. John’s with his wife Brid­get and child Mary Bene­dict Rice when he en­listed in Jan­uary of 1915 at the age of 26. He left the prov­ince two months later.

In Au­gust, Rice left Eng­land to be­gin two weeks of train­ing in Egypt. He took part in the land­ing at Gal­lipoli, Turkey and suf­fered shrap­nel wound in his right heel that De­cem­ber. He was dis­charged from a field hos­pi­tal in Egypt in Fe­bru­ary 1916. The New­found­land Reg­i­ment was sent to France in March.

Rice was among more than 300 New­found­land- ers ei­ther killed or pre­sumed dead as a re­sult of the in­tense bat­tle at Beau­mont-Hamel. His body was not re­cov­ered.

Darrell Rice han­dled most of the re­search on the project, with Joanne Hatch also pro­vid­ing some help. A draft ver­sion of the dis­play board was shown dur­ing the Memo­rial Day cer­e­mony. It will even­tu­ally take a place on the Bac­calieu View Walk­ing Trail. The Hon­our 100 ini­tia­tive sup­ported the project.

“The ser­vice went re­ally well and I has very happy to see many peo­ple there from not just Red Head Cove but the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties as well,” said Darrell Rice, who hopes it will be­come an an­nual event. “It was nice to have ev­ery­one to come to­gether.”

It was nice to have ev­ery­one to come to­gether.

— Darrell Rice

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

Stand­ing be­side the dis­play board hon­our­ing the life of Pte. John Joseph Rice are, left to right, (Re­tired - Navy) Petty Of­fi­cer Sec­ond Class Clyde Bursey, Chief Petty Of­fi­cer 2nd Class Deanne Rice, Chief Petty Of­fi­cer 2nd Class Mor­gan Hyde, and (Re­tired - Navy) Petty Of­fi­cer First Class Stephane Trem­blay.

(Re­tired - Navy) Petty Of­fi­cer First Class Stephane Trem­blay, left, and Darrell Rice. Darrell han­dled much of the re­search that went into cre­at­ing a dis­play board to hon­our the mem­ory of Pte. John Joseph Rice.

Shown here un­veil­ing the new dis­play board are, left to right, Mar­ion Hyde and Mary-Lou Riggs — two com­mit­tee mem­bers of the Red Head Cove Com­mu­nity Cen­tre — and Darrell Rice.

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