William John Rice

Belfast man William John Rice was 46 years old when he landed on Sword Beach on D-Day, June 1944. Three days later he died during fighting at Cambes Wood.


William John Rice


William John Rice from Belfast, Co. Antrim served in 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles. He died aged 46 years old during the Battle for Cambes Wood in 1944.

Rifleman William John Rice (7011646) served in 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He served in A Company during the Normandy campaign.

Born in 1898, he was the son of Thomas Rice and Elizabeth Rice (née Bingham). William had an older brother Joseph born in 1897. He had at least five younger brothers; Samuel born in 1899, Thomas born in 1902, Robert Timby born in 1910, and Alfred born in 1911. He had at least two younger sisters; Maria born in 1906, and Annie born in 1907. The Irish census taken on 2nd April 1911 lists the family living at 1 Biggs Street, St George’s, Co. Antrim.

William was the husband of Mrs. J Rice of Arkwright Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Rice had served for thirteen years in the British Army at the time of his death. One of his brothers served in the Royal Navy.

Royal Ulster Rifles in Normandy

Imperial War Museum Photo: B 5039 (Part of the War Office Second World War Official Collection). Troops of 3rd Division in La Brèche d'Hermanville on 6th June 1944. The men on the right are from 2nd Royal Ulster Rifles from 9th Brigade. Photo taken by Sergeant J Mapham.

On 9th June 1944, three days after landing on D-Day at Sword Beach, Normandy, William John Rice died in Cambes. He suffered fatal wounds from shrapnel during the battle to take the woods near the village. He was 46 years old.

William John Rice’s grave is in Row G, Grave 6 of Cambes-en-Pleine Cemetery, Cambes, Normandy, France.