Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France
By the time Edward Corringham Mannock was twelve years
old, his Scots father had abandoned his English wife and children,
leaving them destitute. Mannock dropped out of school to take
various jobs in order to help with the family finances.When the
war began, he was interned in Turkey while working as an inspector
for a British telephone company. After an unsuccessful escape
attempt, he became deathly ill and was repatriated by the Turks in
1915. When he recovered, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps
before transferring to the Royal Engineers. Despite a congenital
defect that left him virtually blind in his left eye, 2nd Lieutenant Mannock received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 3895 on 28 November 1916 and was
accepted by the Royal Flying Corps in 1917, training under the
scrutiny of James McCudden. In April,
he was assigned to 40 Squadron where he got off to a slow start
with his peers and his Nieuport scout. To the other flying
officers, he seemed aloof and perhaps overly cautious in the air.
It was not until a month later that he scored his first victory by
flaming an enemy balloon. Eventually, Mannock earned the respect
and friendship of men like Keith
Caldwell. In February 1918, he was reassigned to 74 Squadron
as a flight commander, scoring thirty six victories with an S.E.5a before replacing William Bishop as the commanding officer of 85 Squadron on 3 July 1918. Mannock
never achieved the public notoriety of Albert
Ball, but he was revered by his men and proved to be one of
the greatest flight leaders of the war. Often physically ill
before going on patrol, Mannock routinely shared victories with
other pilots or didn't bother submitting claims for enemy aircraft
he'd downed in combat. After selflessly sharing his 61st victory
with Donald Inglis, a newcomer from New Zealand who had yet to
score, Mannock was killed when his aircraft was shot down in
flames by machine gun fire from the ground. Inglis was also
brought down by ground fire but survived.
Major Edward Mannock, R.A.F., "who had brought down 58 German machines, is reported missing. He was last seen fighting over the German lines on July 20, and soon afterwards his machine was noticed to be falling in flames." Major Mannock has had a distinguished career since he joined the Royal Flying Corps 18 months ago. He rapidly became one of our foremost flyers, and when Canada's great aerial fighter, Major Bishop, returned to the Dominions some months ago he succeeded Major Bishop in command of his squadron. Major Mannock's record of 58 machines down dates up to a month ago. When war broke out Major Mannock was in Turkey, and, coming home through Bulgaria, joined the R.A.M.C., attaining the rank of sergeant. Then he obtained a commission in the Royal Flying Corps, and although 30 years of age proved as skilful in the art of downing Huns as our youngest dare-devils. Major Mannock possesses the D.S.O. and M.C., each with two bars. Major Mannock is a nephew of Mr. J. P. Mannock, the well-known billiard player, and a native of London.
The News of the World - Sunday, August 4, 1918
"If I have any luck, I think I may beat old Mac's [James McCudden] fifty seven victories. Then I shall try and oust old Richthofen . . ." Edward Mannock
"I sent one of them down to hell in flames today . . . I wish Kaiser Bill could have seen him sizzle." Edward Mannock
"I'll put a bullet through my head if the machine catches fire . . . they'll never burn me." Edward Mannock
"The scrap took place at 2000 feet up, well within view of the whole front. And the cheers! It took me five minutes to get him to go down, and I had to shoot him before he would land. I was very pleased that I did not kill him. Right arm broken by a bullet, left arm and left leg deep flesh wounds." Edward Mannock, describing his encounter with Joachim von Bertrab
EDWARD MANNOCK, Deceased.
Pursuant to the Statute 22 and 23 Vict., c. 35.
NOTICE is hereby given, that all persons having any claims against tihe estate of Edward Mannock, V.C., D.S.O., M.C., late of the city of Canterbury and Wellingborough, in the county of Northampton, a Major in the Royal Air Force, deceased (who died on or since the 26th day of July, 1918, on active service in France, and letters of administration to whose estate, with will annexed, were granted to Patrick John Mannock, brother and residuary legatee named in the said will by the Principal Probate Registry, on the 3rd day of October, 1919), are hereby required to send in the particulars of their debts or claims to me, the undersigned, the Solicitor to the said administrators, on or before the 1st day of April, 1920, after which date the said administrator will distribute the assets of the Said deceased, having regard only to the claims of which he shall then have had notice.—
Dated this 14th day of February. 1920.
CUTHBERT A. GARDNER, 1A, Castle-street, Canterbury, Solicitor for. the said Administrator.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 17 September 1917 (31784/1997)
Military Cross (MC)
T./2nd Lt. Edward Mannock, R.E. and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. In the course of many combats he has driven off a large number of enemy machines, and has forced down three balloons, showing a very fine offensive spirit and great fearlessness in attacking the enemy at close range and low altitudes under heavy fire from the ground.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 17 September 1917 (30287/9577)
Military Cross (MC) Bar
T./2nd Lt. (T./Capt.) Edward Mannock, M.C., R.E. and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has destroyed several hostile machines and driven others down out of control. On one occasion he attacked a formation of five enemy machines single-handed and shot one down out of control. On another occasion, while engaged with an enemy machine, he was attacked by two others, one of which he forced to the ground. He has consistently shown great courage and initiative.
(M.C. gazetted 17th September, 1917.)
Supplement to the London Gazette, 7 March 1918 (30561/2900)
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
T./2nd Lt. (T./Capt.) Edward Mannock,
M.C., R.E., attd. R.A.F.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during recent operations. In seven days, while leading patrols and in general engagements, he destroyed seven enemy machines, bringing his total in all to thirty. His leadership, dash and courage were of the highest order.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 September 1918 (30901/10869)
Distinguished Service Order (DSO) First Bar
T./2nd Lt. (T./Capt.) Edward Mannock, D.S.O., R.E., and R.A.F.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. In company with one other scout this officer attacked eight enemy aeroplanes, shooting down one in flames. The next day, when leading his flight, he engaged eight enemy aeroplanes, destroying three himself. The same week he led his patrol against six enemy aeroplanes, shooting down the rear machine, which broke in pieces in the air. The following day he shot down an Albatross two-seater in flames, but later, meeting five scouts, had great difficulty in getting back, his machine being much shot about, but he destroyed one. Two days later, he shot down another two-seater in flames. Eight machines in five days—a fine feat of marksmanship and determination to get to close quarters. As a patrol leader he is unequalled.
(D.S.O. gazetted in this Gazette.)
Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 September 1918 (30901/10858)
Distinguished Service Order (DSO) Second Bar
Lt. (T./Capt.) Edward Mannock, D.S.O., M.C. (formerly Royal Engineers).
This officer has now accounted for 48 enemy machines. His success is due to wonderful shooting and a determination to get to close quarters; to attain this he displays most skilful leadership and unfailing courage. These characteristics were markedly shown on a recent occasion when he attacked six hostile scouts, three of which he brought down. Later on the same day he attacked a two-seater, which crashed into a tree.
(The announcement of award of Distinguished Service Order, and First Bar thereto, will be published in a later Gazette.)
Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 August 1918 (30827/9197)
Victoria Cross (VC)
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the late Captain (acting Major) Edward Mannock, D.S.O., M.C., 85th Squadron Royal Air Force, in recognition of bravery of the first order in Aerial Combat: —
On the 17th June, 1918, he attacked a Halberstadt machine near Armentieres and destroyed it from a height of 8,000 feet.
On the 7th July, 1918, near Doulieu, he attacked and destroyed one Fokker (red-bodied) machine, which went vertically into the ground from a height of 1,500 feet. Shortly afterwards he ascended 1,000 feet and attacked another Fokker biplane, firing 60 rounds into it, which produced an immediate spin, resulting, it is believed, in a crash.
On the 14th July, 1918, near Merville, he attacked and crashed a Fokker from 7,000 feet, and brought a two-seater down damaged.
On the 19th July, 1918, near Merville, he fired 80 rounds into an Albatross two-seater, which went to the ground in flames.
On the 20th July, 1918, East of La Bassee, he attacked and crashed an enemy two-seater from a height of 10,000 feet.
About an hour afterwards he attacked at 8,000 feet a Fokker biplane near Steenwercke and drove it down out of control, emitting smoke.
On the 22nd July, 1918, near Armentieres, he destroyed an enemy triplane from a height of 10,000 feet.
Major Mannock was awarded the undermentioned distinctions for his previous combats in the air in France and Flanders: —
Military Cross. Gazetted 17th September, 1917.
Bar to Military Cross. Gazetted 18th October, 1917.
Distinguished Service Order. Gazetted 16th September, 1918.
Bar to Distinguished Service Order (1st). Gazetted 16th September, 1918.
Bar to Distinguished Service Order (2nd). Gazetted 3rd August, 1918.
This highly distinguished officer, during the whole of his career in the Royal Air Force, was an outstanding example of fearless courage, remarkable skill, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice, which has never been surpassed.
The total number of machines definitely accounted for by Major Mannock up to the date of his death in France (26th July, 1918) is fifty—the total specified in the Gazette of 3rd August, 1918, was incorrectly given as 48, instead of 41.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 18 July 1919 (31463/9136)