If Mannock did suffer from a "bad press", it is due in large part to statements he made himself and those who knew him, in my opinion. I will quote from Alex Revell's superb new book, "British Single-Seater Fighter Squadrons on the Western Front in WWI", pages 254-255:
" 'Grid' Caldwell had witnessed the fight with the Halberstadt (April 30, 1918 - a Halberstadt CL. II from Schlasta 28b which came down behind the British lines) and later wrote:
"The Hun crashed but not badly and most people would have been content with this - but not Mick Mannock
, who dived half a dozen times at the machine, spraying bullets at the pilot and observer, who were still showing signs of life. I witnessed this business and flew alongside to Mick, yelling at the top of my voice (which was rather useless) and warning him to stop. On being questioned as to his wild behaviour after we landed, he repeatedly replied, "the swines are better dead - no prisoners for me."
In his footnote to this passage, Alex says, "This side of Mannock's nature, an almost pathological hatred of Germans, so at variance with his usual quiet and kindly nature, was incomprehensible to his family and those who knew him well, and startled his fellow pilots. As a civilian, Mannock had been interned in Turkey at the outbreak of war and he and his fellow internees had been extremly badly treated. Mannock blamed Germany for the war and his first biographer, Ira Jones
, felt that his hatred was intensified by the fear that Germany might win the war; an understandable fear in the March and April of 1918 when the German offesnives were going so well."
By the way, the crew of the Halberstadt survived in spite of Mannock's attacks, and were taken prisoner...quoting Alex again: "Mannock and Dolan took a lorry and a trailer with some mechanics out to the scene of the crash. When they arrived the area was being shelled with mustard gas, but with the aid of some infantry they got the remains of the Halberstadt onto the trailer. However, as they were leaving the trailer took a direct hit from a shell, killing two of the troops and demolishing the rest of the Halberstadt. The lorry carrying the squadron mechanics and Dolan was not hit and got away safely."