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Author Topic: James Rice - Royal Navy 1868-1901  (Read 4749 times)


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James Rice - Royal Navy 1868-1901
« on: 17 December 2016 12:41:09 am »

Thank you for adding me to the forum.

I received my great grandfather's RN records and there is a lot of information.  A couple of things have me puzzled though.  He appears to have been a good sailor, obtaining the rank of Boatswain until about 1885.  There is a notation in the Remarks column while he is on board HMS "Alexandra" as a Bosun QDD which states:

*Tumour - admitted Haslar 6-8-85
I know this was the Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport. 
Nothing else is mentioned of this "tumour" or any actions taken.

In 1888 he is aboard HMS "Malabar" as Bosun for QDD and the Remark:

S.183.  Fair conduct - rest V.G.I.  shortly after last annual report was filled up, it came to my knowldge that his conduct had been by no means satisfactory.  Capt Fanshawe - June 1888

*** Reprimanded and dismissed from "Malabar" by Court Martial for absence without leave. 

June 1888  L1369

His records then proceeds through various vessels with his conduct becoming less favourable until 1898 when he is serving on HMS "Wye" and there is a Remark:

St: Com'r Robinson reports Mr Rice as an undesirable W.O. for such a responsible position.

S.206. All V.G.  Has asserted in the Navigating duties of the ship & has been very zealous at the same.  He is not recom'd for adv't.  St. C'r Robinson - Jan 1899
(In the constant habit of injecting morphine thereby rendering himself unfit for duty)

So my questions are:  1.  How can I find out more about his stay in Haslar Hospital in 1885?   and 2.  How could he be reprimanded and have a Court Martial and then continue to serve?  His records after 1899 show him as Bosun and also as Carpenter.

I am wondering if his hospital stay in 1885 could have involved some kind of brain tumour to account for the changes in his conduct etc and if this also led to the use of morphine???

He died 10 Dec 1900 at the Railway Station in Sittingbourne, Kent, when he was struck by a train whilst crossing the track, according to the Coroner's report.

I am attaching a page of his service record which lists the instances I have mentioned above.  I would be very grateful for any help in trying to sort out my great-grandfather's service record.

He was James Rice born 1849 West Ham and died 1900.  Son of James Rice and Harriet Stone.  He married Sarah Ann Fry in 1875 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Thank you
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