Mick Mannock

Mick Mannock

Major Edward Corringham "Mick" Mannock VC, DSO and Two Bars, MC & Bar (24 May 1887 – 26 July 1918) was a British First World War flying ace. Mannock was probably born in Ireland, but of English and Scottish parentage.

Mannock went into combat on the Western Front on three separate combat tours. Although initially a social misfit suspected of cowardice in his first assignment to 40 Squadron, he began to accumulate victories. He took on the highly hazardous task of balloon busting for his first aerial victory, and by dogged concentration on his gunnery skills, tallied 15 victories by the end of his first combat tour.

After two months back in England, he returned to France as a Flight Commander in the fledgling 74 Squadron. He amassed 36 more victories between 12 April and 17 June 1918. He also gained a reputation for ruthless hatred of his German adversaries, delighting in burning them to death. He became phobic about burning to death in midair. The stresses of combat began to tell on him. He also became ill with a lingering case of influenza. When ordered home on leave in June, he wept.

He returned as Officer Commanding of 85 Squadron in July 1918; he would score nine more victories that month. By now, his phobias had spread to include excessive tidiness. He also had presentiments of his coming end. Just days after warning fellow ace George McElroy about the deadly hazards of flying low into ground fire, Mannock did just that on 26 July 1918. His fighter plane was set on fire, and he was killed in action.

He was one of the world's first theorists of aviation tactics, and was renowned for his prudent but aggressive leadership in the air. By the time he rose to command of 85 Squadron, his subordinates boasted that he never lost a wingman.

Mannock won the Military Cross twice, was one of the rare three-time winners of the Distinguished Service Order, and would be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. He is regarded as one of the greatest fighter pilots of the war.

Read more about Mick Mannock:  Youth, Dealing With War, Mid 1918, Memorials and Tributes, Mannock's Score, Mannock's Rules, Quotes About Mannock

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