Godfrey George Manning
July 20, 2015
MANNING, Godfrey George- – – – SPC 1906-1907
DoB:- – 1890, Traralgon, VIC
Father:- – John Manning
Mother:- – Sophia, nee Johns
George Manning (as he was known) was a boarder at St Patrick’s from Morwell. In 1907, he was named on the Prize List as having successfully completed the Commercial Class.
Service No:- 99
Rank:- – Sapper, later Captain
Unit:- – 2nd Field Company Engineers, later 4th Battalion, Australian Pioneers
George Manning enlisted on 18 August 1914, soon after war was declared. He was 24 years and six months old, five feet, eight and a half inches tall, with a florid complexion, brown eyes and black hair. He was a single man, whose profession was electrician.
He embarked from Melbourne aboard the Orvieto on 21 October 1914, disembarking at Suez. After months of training in Egypt, he proceeded from Alexandria on 5 April 1915 bound for Gallipoli. Prior to the landing at Suvla Bay, Sapper Manning was struck down with influenza and was admitted to the 2nd Field Ambulance at Mudros. He recovered from this illness and followed his unit onto Gallipoli where he remained until the evacuation of troops late in December 1915.
Returning to Egypt by January 1916, he marched in to Tel-el-Kebir and was attached to the 4th Pioneer Battalion. The following month, on 5 April he was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant. In June he proceeded to Marseilles with the British Expeditionary Forces, and by July 1916 had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.
Manning sustained lacerations to his right arm and right leg, through some -‘accidental’ cause which was not named. He had to be admitted to the Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) for medical attention, and when he was discharged in May, he attended Anzac Corp School until 13 June 1917. He rejoined his unit in the field, and was wounded in action on 3 October, suffering a shell wound to his left arm and right leg. The 3rd Canadian CCS evacuated him to England where he was admitted to No 3 General Hospital, London on 5 October 1917. On 22nd of that month, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
Once again, (now) Captain Manning proceeded back to France, marching out to the 4th Division at Rouen by 16 December. He came in for special commendation from General Sir Douglas Haig in April 1918, being Mentioned in Despatches.
– -‘-¦ relating to the conspicuous services rendered by -¦ Captain G G MANNING, 4th Pioneer Battalion.
MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES
The following is a continuation of Sir D Haig’s despatch of the 7th April 1918, submitting names deserving of special mention : –
Captain G G MANNING -¦’
Only a few weeks later, on 8 August 1918, Captain Manning was killed in action at Villers-Bretonneux, France. The report of Lt Col Rutledge, Commanding Officer of the 4th Australian Pioneer Battalion stated that -“
-‘-¦ Capt G G Manning was killed by a shell on the 8th Aug, during the opening stages of the advance. The infantry had reached an intermediate objective and Capt Manning was reconnoitring the site for a trench previous to taking his company up to dig in. He was killed instantly. The body was recovered and was buried at Morcourt Military Cemetery. Exact map location is not known. A cross has been erected to mark the grave -¦’
Eyewitness accounts by some of his comrades reveal further details -“
-‘-¦ He was the OC of my Company. About the 8th August we were at Morcourt, working with the Infantry -¦ In the afternoon, Captain Manning went out to decide where to dig a strong post when he was hit by a whizz bang and killed right out. I helped carry him back -¦’
-‘-¦ Sgt Sommerville told me afterwards that a whizz bang got Capt Manning, blew him up and killed him instantaneously -¦’
-‘-¦ he was practically blown to pieces by a shell, was buried where he fell ..’
-‘-¦ a shell burst a few yards in the rear of us, with the result, a piece of shell penetrated the centre of the Captain’s back, killing him instantly. I immediately turned him over, but I found death already imprinted upon his face and anything in the nature of first aid was absolutely useless -¦ when I had the occasion to pass there about six weeks later, I made it my business to have a look at his grave, which I found was quite intact. I might be permitted to add, I was greatly distressed by the occurrence of this fatality, and my deepest sympathy goes to his dear relatives and friends, and it was with universal regret I made known to his comrades his sad fate, for all realised they had lost a brave and fearless officer, and one who had won the respect and esteem of all-¦’
Godfrey George Manning was reinterred at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France. He was 28 years old.