Air Mechanic Second Class, Royal Flying Corps
William Charles Manning was born in 1891 and in 1911 he lived at 21 Polden Street and worked as a cabinet maker, living with his six siblings. He married Nellie Frances Dodden, of Reading in 1915.
Near the start of the war he enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner of the RAF, and served as Air Mechanic second class, which meant he was the lowest rank of pilot, the rank later being renamed as aircraftman.
William was sadly killed in Britain on the 8th July 1916 in a flying accident. This was during the first week of the Battle of the Somme and the Flying Corps was desperate to gets planes and crew to the front as soon as possible, and in the rush accidents were made.
On 5 July 1916 the Bridgwater Mercury reported 'Air Mechanic William Charles Manning, nearly 26, Foster's Court, Silver St, victim of flying accident, Whitstable, Saturday July 8. Member of Royal Flying Corps. Son of Mr Samuel Manning, cabinet maker, Devonshire St, Bridgwater'.