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Old 04-05-15, 10:03
Jill Jill is offline
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Default (57) Ernest James Manvell, Sgt G/2519, 8th Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment

57th of the Old Boys of St Wilfrid's School, Haywards Heath to die in WW1.

Born in 1894 in Haywards Heath to Stephen Manvell, a gardener, and his wife Martha, the family lived in Sussex Road in 1901 but by 1911 were at Steeple Cottage [near what is now Beechhurst Gardens], by which time Ernest was one of 8 children and was working as a gardener.

Ernest served in France from 24th July 1915, he was killed in action on 23 Mar 1918. He is buried at Chauney Military Cemetery British Extension grave 3. A. 3. He was awarded the Military Medal.

From the local paper:

MID SUSSEX TIMES, 5 March 1918

THE MILITARY MEDAL has been awarded to Sergeant EJ Manvell, Royal Sussex Regiment. He is the eldest of Mr and Mrs Manvell of Steeple House, Butler’s Green Road.


Through letters written by comrades, Mr and Mrs S R Manvell, of Steeple Cottage, Butler’s Green, have learnt that their eldest son, Sergt EJ Manvell, MM, was killed on 23rd March, in France, by a shell. He was 24 years of age, and joined up in September, 1914. He was awarded the Military Medal for devotion to duty. It is a sad, though interesting, fact that he is the 50th boy of St Wilfrid’s School to have given his life for King and Country. Many letters of sympathy have been received by Mr and Mrs Manvell, and they are deeply grateful to the writers.

[He was the 50th as far as they knew at that time; others had died though the news had not yet been received].

There was also a report on his memorial service:


The service on Sunday evening at the Congregational Church was mainly a service of memorial to Sergeant Ernest Manvell, the news of whose gallant death in France reached his family on Monday last. Hymns specially chosen by the family were sung and the service commenced with “Ten thousand times ten thousand” and concluded with the deceased Sergeant’s favourite hymn, “Abide with me.” T

he REV S MADDOCK, preaching from the text “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life,“ said that Sergeant Manvell was one of the earliest to join up when the war broke out, and his soldierly conduct received the recognition of a Sergeant’s stripe, and his courage and devotion to duty were testified to by the award of the Military Medal last year. With his brother (wounded last year near Paschendaele) he was offered a commission which for personal reasons he declined.

For three years, on the Somme, at Paschendaele and at St Quintin, he bore a brave part, and in almost miraculous ways escaped unhurt. But the end came in the great struggle when the Germans made their violent offensive, and fighting against odds of seven to one, he was struck by a shell at Frieres Wood, and was one of those who helped to save a desperate situation with magnificent courage and endurance.

The preacher quoted a letter which Mrs Manvell had received from a lady who had lost her only son in the war. She said “To such men we owe everything we hold dear in this world, for without them we should long ago have been lost, so I feel, Mrs Manvell, they have not given their lives in vain. It is not death to them; it is the beginning of life.” The service was largely attended, and many tokens of sympathy were shown to the bereaved family.

His father Stephen received his pay of £20 6s 2d and a War Gratuity of £19 10s.

My husband’s grandfather knew the Manvells, he is mentioned in a letter written by Ernest’s brother Bert in 1951 to the local paper recalling the old school.
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