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[RAF Elsham Wolds] [Profiles] [Edward Rice]

AVM Sir Edward Rice KBE CB CBE MC

OC 1 Group Bomber Command which included RAF Elsham Wolds, RAF Kirmington and RAF North Killingholme – Feb 1943 to Feb 1945


The son of a Berkshire doctor he was born on 19 December 1893 and educated privately.

He served with South African Forces and entered Sandhurst at the beginning of WW1 and was commissioned in 1915. He joined the RFC Special Reserve on 8 June 1915. Rice served as a pilot with 21 Squadron in 1915. During WW1 and up to 1930 he served with a good number of operational Squadrons and he must have had a very impressive log book. Rice will be best remembered for his  leadership of No 1 Group Bomber Command which lasted for 2 hard years from February 1943 to February 1945 when WW2 was drawing to its close.

To summarise his extensive career Rice served with the following units :-


21 Sqn - 1915 - Pilot - 2 Lt

55 Sqn - 1916 - Flight Commander - Capt - France

31/114 Sqn - 1917 - Flight Commander - Capt - India and Middle East

98 Sqn - 1918 - OC - Major - France

106 Sqn - 1918 - OC - Major - France

108 Sqn - 1918 - OC - Major - France/Belgium


DH9 of the type operated by 108 Sqn


Now Squadron Leader Rice RAF

11 Sqn - 1919 - OC - Squadron Leader - Army of Occupation Germany

RAF Scopwick - 1920 - O I/C - Squadron Leader

6 Sqn - 1920 - OC - Squadron Leader

Air Pilotage School - 1922 - OC - Squadron Leader

11 Sqn - 1923 - OC - Squadron Leader

RAF Andover - 1928 - OC - Wing Commander

216 Sqn - 1929 - OC - Wing Commander

216 Squadron RAF Vickers Victorias_at_Ismailia Egypt, 1929 A A Koch

216 Squadron RAF Vickers Victorias at Ismailia Egypt, 1929 - A A Koch

Attended RN senior Officers War Course - 1933 - Wing Commander

RAF Base Calshot - 1934 - Navigation Officer - Wing Commander

RAF Hemswell - 1939 - OC - Group Captain

Senior Officers Course HQ Bomber Command - 1939 - Wing Commander


RAF St Athan/ 4 School of Technical Training - Men - Oct 1940

AHQ West Africa - AOC - Sept 1941 - Air Commodore - Nigeria

No 92 Operational Training Group - AOC - Jan 1943

No 1 Bomber Group - AOC - Feb 1943 - AVM

VR receives DFC award from AVM Rice at Elsham cropped B and W s.

Edward Rice presenting a DFC to Florent Van Rolleghem at RAF Elsham Wolds 1943

No 7 Operational Training Group - AOC - Feb 1945 - AVM.

Edward Rice retired 1st March 1946 and passed away suddenly on the 14 April 1948 at his home in Kenya at the relatively young age of 54


Rose Turret


The roomy and well designed Rose Turret

A chance meeting between Rice and the head of engineering firm Rose Brothers led to the design of the successful Rose Rice twin .5 Browning tail turret for Lancasters of 1 Group.

Despite a lack of official interest Rice went ahead and helped Alfred Rose with the design and the Air Ministry placed an initial production order for the turret in June 1943

The Rose turret was a roomy design equipped with two M2 Browning heavy machine guns.

The turret was driven by hydraulics and the hydraulic system was easier to use than that in previous designs.

The considerable internal space meant that the turret could be fitted with two seats, a layout in which one man operated the guns and the other fed targeting data into the gunsight computer was developed. However this was not used in practice.

An unusual feature of the Rose design was that the turret was not fully enclosed. Previous designs had perspex around the gun position but in the Rose turret there was no protective shielding immediately in front of the gunner.

This feature reflected operational experience. Many Lancaster gunners had cut away parts of their turret perspex in order to obtain a better view, a practice that had originated at RAF Gransden Lodge and which was subsequently known as the "Gransden Lodge modification".

Testing of the Rose turret found that the open design reduced the temperature in the turret – which was typically very low by only four degrees Celsius compared with a closed design. As well as improving the gunner's view this feature also made it easier for him to bail out of the aircraft in an emergency.

The improved view from the roomy turret with the guns widely spaced was a very positive feature enabling the rear gunner to keep a good look out directly behind and above and below with little difficulty. It was also found simple to operate.

If the turret could have been brought into service in time for the Battle of Berlin it would have certainly saved a lot of lives. As it was the turrets started to be installed in 1 Gp Lancasters in late 1944/45 with some going to 5 Group.


Rose turret showing the excellent view that it offered for the rear gunner below, directly behind and above

Compiled by David Fell with photos from my archive apart from the Victoria which was supplied by A A Koch



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