Reece, Reginald

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Reginald Reece

L/5838, Officer’s Steward 2nd Class, HMS Victory, Royal Navy
Died of illness, 24 October 1918, aged 21
Buried at Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery

CWGC registered (Son of Mrs D Price [formerly Reece], of Sandy Lodge, West Shore, Llandudno, and of George Price [step-father])

Reginald Reece was born in London on 10 December 1896. Born William Reginald Oscar Reece, he was the son of William Rosenburgy (Robert) Reece, an American citizen and his wife, Dora Reece (née Zachari). William Reece was a New Yorker who by 1887 had arrived at Bristol (via Chicago and Melbourne, Australia) where he married Dora. The Census for 1891 records the couple living at Islington with their son Lewis (11 months). William Reece was described as a general broker. Daughters Dorothea and May (Miriam) were born in 1891 and 1893, the latter at Hastings. The electoral registers for the years 1895-1900 record William Robert Reece as resident at four addresses in Marylebone West – the family’s address when Reginald was born was 28 Loudoun Road. By 1901, the family had moved to Hove in Sussex and William Reece was now described as a licensed valuer.

In 1904, William Reece was tried for perjury and fraud at the Old Bailey. As well as evidence of the offence, additional evidence given gave numerous examples of passing dud cheques as well as three occasions of bankruptcy and being in possession of a “second establishment” – a euphemism for the home of a mistress. He was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment with hard labour at Wormwood Scrubs. On 3 August 1905, William Reece described as a merchant departed Liverpool for Cape Town, South Africa. On US consulate documents dated 1907 and 1909, he claimed that his wife Dora and his children were living at “Breathwaite”, Wilton Road, (Victoria,) London. On the latter, he gave his son Lewis, now resident in Toronto, Canada as his nearest relative. Seemingly, William Reece had abandoned his wife for the Census of 1911 recorded Dora (now called Dorothy) as the “wife” of George Price, a commissioning agent and turf accountant, who lived at 58 St. James’ Street, Brighton. Included in the family were George Price’s sons Thomas and George as well as “Reggie” Price (14). The marriage index for Steyning, Sussex for 1913 records the marriage of Dora Reece and George C Price. George Price accepted bets at Llandudno and Colwyn Bay, certainly from August 1914 and perhaps earlier. He died at Llandudno on 22 December 1914 at “The Avenue”, Arfon Avenue, Llandudno. Local newspaper reports state that he left a wife and one son (presumably Reginald).

In the meantime, in October 1914, Reginald Reece had joined the Royal Navy. Previously employed as a steward, his rank in the Navy was officer’s steward third class. His service number was L.5838 and his initial posting was to HMS Victory (ie Portsmouth). From 5 November 1914 he served on HMS Emperor of India, a recently-commissioned battleship of the Iron Duke-class, based at Scapa Flow. From 19 November 1916, he was on the crew of HMS Campanula, a mine-sweeping sloop based at Malta. Reginald was promoted to officer’s steward second-class on 13 February 1917 and remained at Malta until 5 September 1918.

Reginald Reece died of pneumonia on 24 October 1918 at Haslar Naval Hospital, Portsmouth. He was buried at Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Gosport. Naval death records record his mother’s name and address as Dorothy Price, “Sandy Lodge”, West Shore, Llandudno.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno


Royal Naval records give Reginald Reese’s birthday as 10 December 1895. However, the birth index for Marylebone gives his actual date of birth as 10 December 1896. When he joined the Navy in October 1914, Reginald was still aged 17. Though the Royal Navy accepted boy sailors, they had to be aged 18 before they could go to sea.

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