Discussion in 'World War 1' started by Kyt, Jul 29, 2008.
Leading fighter pilot remembered - Crawley Observer
Grub Street Publishing has recently released a book on Mannock's life titled,
"MANNOCK: The Life and Death of Major Edward Mannock VC, DSO, MC, RAF "
by Norman Franks and Andy Saunders.
View attachment 1936
Major Edward Corringham "Mick" Mannock
VC, DSO & bar, MC & bar
Born:24 May, 1887 at Aldershot England
Killed In Action:26 July 1918 near Lestram, France.
Officially Confirmed Victories:61
Rather than rehash information that can be found elsewhere, I'll mention a few things that I think are notable about Major Mannock, and I'll provide links to other pages that deal with the other stuff.
For a long time it had been considered common knowledge that Maj. Mannock's official victory score was 73. By the same token, more than a few people also thought he was Irish. Well, according to Above The Trenches, by Shores, Franks, and Guest, Mannock's heritage is Scottish-English. His father was Scottish, and reportedly, his mother was English. Though some have tried to re-direct that heritage and say that either his mother was of Irish descent, or that his father was. So far, I believe the Grub Street publication, "Above The Trenches" is the most correct, that his father was Scottish, and his mother English. I shall continue to believe that, and have it published here until someone can show me better proof that I'm wrong.
The other problem has to do with his "official" victory score. Since about 1919, his score was thought to be 73. This was due, in no small measure, to the efforts of his friend and author, Ira "Taffy" Jones. Jones was a protege of Mannock's while they were both in 74 Squadron. Jones was also a detractor of Billy Bishop, VC. Reportedly the two got into a fist-fight when both were at the same aerodrome. No one, as far as I know, has any idea what the fight was about, nor has this fight been completely confirmed. However, it seems that one of the ways that Jones decided to get back at Bishop was to promote his dead friend, Mannock as the leading British Empire ace with 73 victories. Conviently, one more than Bishop's officially credited 72 victories.
This was the accepted score for Mannock for a very long time. Though there were more than a few times when this was examined. In the magazine, Cross and Cockade, George Shiras wrote an article exposing the fact that 73 victories could not be proven for Mannock. Also, it is mentioned in Arthur Bishop's book about his father, Billy Bishop, that Mannock had between 50 and 65 confirmed victories.
However, the authors of "Above The Trenches" apparently went into some detail searching for combat reports and such, and were able to come up with a total of 61 confirmed victories for Mannock at the time of his death. They could find no others, and consequently, that is the number we have today.
I've had several people tell me that the RAF adjusted his score officially, in 1919, when they awarded him the Victoria Cross. However, the citation for his award doesn't mention 73 victories. It mentions 50. The simple fact is, there is NO "Official" RAF list of aces. The British did not have a central clearing office to confirm or deny victory claims during World War One. It appears that confirmation of Victory claims only went as high as Brigade level. And each brigade apparently had it's own criteria for how it confirmed or denied Victory claims.
I should also like to point out that many people think that he "gave away" victories, which is why many think his "official" score should be 73. The problem with that theory is, considering the RFC/RNAS/RAF's policy of allowing full victory credits to all aircrew involved in downing an enemy aircraft, he didn't have to give away ONE victory. All he had to do was write up his report in such a way that another pilot as well as himself was responsible for bringing down an enemy aircraft. It wouldn't have taken away from his "official" score, and it would have added to someone else's.
But, that's not relevant to why I consider him a hero. He was a superb leader, a master tactician, and considering the number of victories he got during his career, I'd be surprised if he wouldn't have gotten more had he lived longer.
You can't judge a man by how many "kills" ("Victories" would be the more accurate term)he has. That's just one quantifier in a vast sea of statistics. Major Mannock was a unique man. And he was a very brave man. I think it would be more relevant to honour him for that, rather than worry about what his "official" score is.
Maj. Edward "Mick" Mannock, VC
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