On this day in 1940, Sydney James Rice (1911-1940) was killed in Norway in the Second World War.
Sydney, a sergeant in the 55 (Devon) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery, lost his life in the Battle of Narvik – against invading German forces – on May 24, 1940. He was 29.
The sea and air battle was fought between April 9 and June 8, 1940.
Sydney was buried at Ballangen New Cemetery, near Narvik.
His headstone includes the following inscription from his wife, Phyllis: ‘To the world, just another soldier; to me, just all the world. Phill.’
He is also remembered on Bratton Clovelly War Memorial.
On May 30, 1941, The Western Times reported that a Lamp of Maintenance – given to the Okehampton Branch of Toc H on its elevation from group to branch status – was dedicated in memory of Sydney.
Sydney was the son of James Rice (1882-1951) and Emma Jane Townsend (1886-1956). Emma was the daughter of William Richard Townsend (1859-1935) and Jane Turner (1860-1930). William’s sister, Ellen Townsend (1872-) married George Martin (1868-1948) in 1895 in South Molton. George was the son of Charlotte Arscott (1836-1906) and George Martin Snr (1841-1912). Charlotte was the daughter of Hugh Arscott (1809-1878). Hugh was the brother of John Arscott (1807-1979), my great-great grandfather.
Born in 1911 in Sandford, Sydney married Phyllis Margaret Baker (1915-) in 1937 in Okehampton. They lived at Domons Lodge, Bratton Clovelly.
Aerial view of Narvik during the Second World War. Photo by T.K. Derry (1952). The Campaign in Norway. HMSO, Public domain image, via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Narvik.jpg