CWG: Air Mechanic William Manning

Air Mechanic William Manning

William Charles Manning – known as Willie – was born in Bridgwater in 1890, one of ten children to Samuel and Emily Manning. Samuel was a cabinet maker, and at least of three of his sons, Willie included, went into the family business.

There is little information available on Willie’s life, but he married Nellie Dodden, also from Bridgwater, in November 1915. Sadly, this was around the time that Nellie’s father passed away; tragedy for Nellie was still close by.

Willie’s military records are minimal, although details of his passing can be determined from the subsequent newspaper report.

He had enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps around October 1915, certainly around the time he and Nellie married. He was an air mechanic, something his woodworking skills probably drew him to and was based at Manston Airfield in Kent.

On 8th July 1916, Willie was a passenger in a flight piloted by Lieutenant Bidie. It seems that Bidie was turning the plane while at low altitude, while attempting to land. The plane crashed, and both Bidie and Willie were killed. Air Mechanic Manning was just 25 years old.

William Charles Manning lies at rest in the Wembdon Road Cemetery in his home town of Bridgwater, Somerset.


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