Who's Who - Edward Mannock

Edward Mannock Major Edward 'Mickey' Mannock (1887-1918) was Britain's highest scoring fighter pilot of World War One.

Unfortunate enough to be in Turkey working as a telephone engineer upon the outbreak of Allied hostilities in November 1914, Mannock finally returned home in April 1915 and in time joined the Royal Engineers before his transferral to the Royal Flying Corps.

It wasn't long before Mannock earned a reputation as one of Britain's best fighter pilots, flying Nieuport and (predominantly) SE5a aircraft.  During the course of his tally of 73 reputed victories - other figures range from 50 to a more probable 61 - Mannock earned the Military Cross in 1917 to which a bar was later added.  The following year he won the DSO and a further two bars.  These achievements were all the more remarkable given that Mannock was all but blind in his left eye.

As with so many high-scoring and long-serving fighter pilots (he reached the Western Front in March 1917), Mannock's war ended with a grave.  He was shot from the ground on 26 July 1918.  His demise was thus similar to that of his German enemy, Manfred von Richthofen (of whose demise three months earlier he had commented, 'I hope the bastard burned the whole way down').

Following representations from his former flying colleagues Mannock was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross in 1919.  In spite of his remarkable record Mannock's fame was largely restricted to the armed services rather than among the general public.

"Beachy Bill" was the name given to one of the Turkish guns which regularly shelled Anzac Cove.

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