City Insights

Major Edward "Mick" Mannock, (1887-1918)

By Jennifer Drury

Photo:Major Edward Mannock commemorative ceremony
Photo:Major Edward Mannock commemorative ceremony
Photo:Major Edward Mannock commemorative ceremony
Photo:Major Edward Mannock commemorative ceremony
Photo:Major Edward Mannock commemorative ceremony
Photo:Major Edward Mannock commemorative ceremony
Photo:Major Edward Mannock commemorative ceremony
Photo:Major Edward Mannock commemorative ceremony

 

Commemorative ceremony

A ceremony was held this week at the Old Steine War Memorial to unveil a commemorative stone honouring a World War One flying ace. Among those attending were the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field; the mayor Councillor Dee Simson; and representatives of the RAF and British Legion. The commemorative stone is part of a national scheme that will see every VC recipient of WW1 honoured with a paving stone in their birth place, to provide a lasting legacy to local heroes.

Brighton born

Major Edward "Mick" Mannock, (1887 – 1918) was born at Preston Barracks in Brighton on 24th May 1887. Mannock was among the most decorated men in the British Armed Forces, he was honoured with the Military Cross twice, was one of the rare three-time recipients of the Distinguished Service Order, and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Medals for courage

In 1916 Mannock joined Royal Flying Corps(RFC). After completing his training he was assigned to No. 40 Squadron RFC. He went into combat on the Western Front participating in three separate combat tours. After a slow start he began to prove himself as an exceptional pilot, scoring his first victory on 7 May 1917. Major Edward 'Mick' Mannock was awarded more medals for courage than any other British fighter pilot of the First World War.

Killed in July 1918

His last flight was on 26 July 1918. After attacking a German plane he followed it down and was hit by ground fire. His left wing detached and he spiralled out of control, crashing in a ball of fire. It's unclear whether Mannock jumped out or burned to death in the plane. Neither his body nor his grave has ever been conclusively recovered.

 

This gallery was added by Jennifer Drury on 26/07/2018.
Comments about this page

It is right that 'Mick' Mannock should be honoured here on account of his association with Brighton and for his great gallantry, but I set out below a letter I sent to The Argus several days before the commemoration but which, unsurprisingly, was not published:

I write with reference to the forthcoming (on 24 July) unveiling of a commemorative stone in honour of First World War flying ace Major Edward 'Mick' Mannock and would like to reproduce here what I wrote in my book 'Brighton in the Great War', published in 2016: 

'His name - as Mick Mannock - was carried on Brighton & Hove Scania Omnidekka Bus No 912 from September 2006 to March 2008, when it was replaced by that of Anita Roddick. The bus company affirms in the notes to its listing that he was born in Ballincollig, County Cork, Ireland. By way of a Brighton link, it states that ‘the Air Cadet building in Preston Barracks is named in his honour’. This ties in with some sources claiming that the fighter ace was actually born in the Barracks. A number of Mannock’s biographers admit, however, to the total confusion surrounding the pilot’s place of birth, which has been mooted as Brighton, Aldershot, Cork, Canterbury and even India. Mannock himself clouded the issue by recording both Brighton and Cork on documents. Biographer James Dudgeon was told by family members that Cork was correct.

By Douglas d'Enno (27/07/2018)

It is with some interest that I have read about Major  Edward (Mick) Mannock,being a Brighton exile for a good number of years and now living in Wellingborough. I would like to add that Mick Mannock lived in this Town for a number of years and has a road named after him and also the local ATC Squadron is 378 Mannock Squadron. There is a portrait of him along with his medals hanging in the local library, hope this will be of some interest to fellow Brightonians. 

By John Wignall (05/08/2018)

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