Stephen Rice of Castleblaney, spent WW2 destitute in Paris

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Stephen Rice of Castleblaney, spent WW2 destitute in Paris

Post by Isy »


I am hoping somebody in this forum can help me. In the course of my research for a book on the Irish in Paris during the Second World War, I have come across frequent references to one Stephen Rice, who was born in Mullaghanee outside Castleblaney in 1881.

Rice left Castleblaney for Canada in 1923 and lived in the US from 1924-1940. In the mid-1930s, he was living in San Francisco, but by the outbreak of war in 1939, he had an address in Lower Manhattan, New York, and was making a living as a “livestock attendant” on boats transporting cattle between both sides of the Atlantic. On 19 June 1940, he was on the Ville de Namur, a cargo ship transporting horses from the US to Bordeaux, when the ship was torpedoed off the coast of western France. Rice was rescued and spent over four years destitute in Paris (including some time in prison). He made it back to London in December 1944. Perhaps from there he made it back to Castleblaney?

His wife’s name was Mary. He had relatives (sons?) called John, Owen and Stephen as well as a daughter called Maggie. Her married name was Maggie McKenna and she lived at Creevey Swinburn in Carrickmacross. I can see that members of the Rice family from Mullaghanee are buried in St. Mary’s Graveyard. I wonder whether these people belong to the same family as Stephen Rice?

In any case, I would be most appreciative of any further information on this man. The story of his survival in Paris during the Occupation is hair-raising, to say the least, and I will gladly share all the information I have in return for further leads on this man's life story.

Many thanks for your help,
Isadore Ryan (Mr.), Paris
(tel. 00.33.6)
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