Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper
Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Ernest Rice appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
16 April 1927


We regret to announce that Admiral Sir Ernest Rice died yesterday at Dane Court, Eastry, Kent, after a short illness, in his 88th year. He was a most able and experienced officer, who showed both technical capacity in gunnery and also diplomatic ability. He was held in high respect by the Navy in general.
The late Admiral was the ninth son of Mr. Edward Royds Rice, M.P., of Dane Court, Kent, and brother of the late Admiral Sir Edward Bridges Rice, and was born on February 24, 1840. He entered the Britannia in June, 1854, and had early experience of active service. Great efforts were made, on the outbreak of the Russian War, to send officers to the Fleet, and he found himself, in the next year, a midshipman of the Odin engaged in the Baltic operations. He was involved in the unfortunate attack on the Russian boathouses and stores at Gamla Carleby, where 26 officers and men were killed and wounded, and was present also at the bombardment and taking of Bomarsund and the bombardment of Sveaborg. He passed his seamanship examinations and the Royal Naval College, and was promoted from the old rank of mate to lieutenant in February, 1860. He served in the Topaze, a screw frigate in the Pacific, and in the Duncan, flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope, on the North America and West Indies Station, 1864-67. He specialized in gunnery, and, being known for his administrative capacity, he was called to the Admiralty on promotion to commander in October, 1870, to join the newly constituted Department of Naval Ordnance as Assistant Director. This was the time when rifled breech-loading guns were being installed in place of the old muzzle-loading smooth-bores. He left the Admiralty in 1874.
Shortly after his promotion to captain, in March, 1878, Rice was appointed Naval Attaché for Europe, and resided chiefly in Paris, where it fell to him to conduct some delicate negotiations with the French Minister of Marine for the joint protection by British and French naval forces of the Suez Canal. Relations with France were then far different from what they became in and after 1905, but Captain Rice displayed admirable discretion and tact, and Lord Lyons, the British Ambassador, expressed to the Foreign Office his high appreciation of the good work done by the Naval Attaché. Captain Rice was soon ordered to Egypt, and was present at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir in September, 1882. He was appointed on January 1, 1883, to the dispatch vessel Iris, which had done much in the war. From the same ship, in the previous August, a midshipman of 15 had landed, to the astonishment of the officers of the Canal Company and the anger of M. de Lesseps, to take possession of its telegraph apparatus at Port Said, and in April, 1883, Captain Rice, being senior naval officer at Suez, where the Mahdist movement threatened new dangers, landed a force for the protection of the place, and was thanked by the principal inhabitants for the promptitude with which he had suppressed outrage. He took an active part in the Red Sea operations of 1885, and the Iris contributed a contingent to the Suakin Naval Brigade. For these services Captain Rice received the Egyptian medal and the bronze star. Afterwards, in August, 1887, he commanded the Sultan in the Channel Squadron.
Though promoted to flag rank in May, 1893, after being in command of the Fleet Reserve at Chatham, Rice did not hoist his flag in a command at sea. In the next year he was appointed vice-president of the Ordnance Committee at Woolwich, as principal naval adviser, and held that post until 1806. He then went to Portsmouth as Admiral Superintendent of the Dockyard, where he remained until April, 1899. At that time the CanopusExternal link, CæsarExternal link, and FormidableExternal link, were being built there, and he was most vigilant and capable in directing the work. He was promoted to vice-admiral in July, 1899, and in 1901 was president of the Committee on Naval Victualling, whose report on alterations in and additions to the service ration was adopted. Afterwards he commanded the Coastguard and Naval Reserves from May, 1903, to February, 1905.
Sir Ernest Rice was promoted to admiral in March, 1904, and retired in the following February. He was created K.C.B. on the King's Birthday in 1914, a mark of the approbation of his Sovereign which came to him at a time when he was much distressed at the loss of his only son, Commander Arthur Rice. R.N., who was killed in a seaplane accident, near Calshot on June 4, 1914. He retained his vigour till an advanced age. When in the winter of 1920 Sibertswold Place, near Deal, where he was then living, was burnt down, although he was then over 80, he personally directed gangs of villagers and miners in saving the furniture and pictures. Sir Ernest was twice married. first to the daughter of Mr. Edward York, of Wighill Park. Tadcaster: and secondly to Fanny, sister of the late Sir Clinton Dawkins, and widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Gunning; she died in 1923. He had two daughters, one of whom is the wife of Lord Northbourne, and the other, who died in 1906. was married to Brigadier General E. Pearce-Serocold, C.M.G.
The funeral will be at Tilmanstone on Monday at 2.15.

Valid HTML 5.0