ALBERT ERNEST MANN
This post was written by Victoria Doran
Albert Ernest Mann is a name included on both the Hoylake Roll of Honour and the list in the 1922 Deeside Advertiser, but he does not appear on the Grange Hill War Memorial. He was a member of the Canadian Infantry, and married during the war, though he enjoyed less than a week of married life before returning to the Western Front.
Cap badge of the 10th (Alberta) Battalion, Canadian Infantry
Albert Mann was born on 17 March 1892 at Matlock Bath, Derbyshire where his father, Henry Thomas Mann (1864-1892), was a railway signalman. Albert had an older brother, George Henry Mann (1887-1919) and an older sister, Alice Maud Mann (1890-???). His father died when Albert was only 6 months old.
His mother was Sarah Annie Bagley (1864-1932) who was born in North Collingham, Nottinghamshire where her father Robert Bagley (1821-1864) worked for a miller. Sarah worked as a domestic servant before her marriage to Henry Thomas Mann in the summer of 1886 in the Newark district of Nottinghamshire.
Albert and his brother George appear to have been brought up by their paternal grandparents, George Mann (1845-1910) and Mary Ann Gold (1837-1923) at Longbridge Farm on the edge of Warwick, Warwickshire, where George Mann senior was a farmer. The son of a farm labourer he had been variously a cow boy, a groom and a maltster’s labourer before managing to become a farmer in his own right. When he died in 1910 he left the considerable sum of £4,072.
Meanwhile Albert’s mother, Sarah moved to Liverpool where she married Enoch Ashton Jones (1870-1929) on 27 September 1899. It is not known how she had supported herself for the previous 7 years, possibly by working as a servant. Enoch Ashton Jones came from Hoylake, where he worked as a bricklayer’s labourer. Sarah and Enoch did not have any children of their own. However at the 1901 census Albert’s sister Alice is with them, together with a young cousin of Enoch’s who Enoch’s parents had previously ‘adopted’. At the 1911 census Sarah and Enoch have adopted another girl (then aged 3). They lived in Back Sea View, Hoylake. Presumably Albert visited his mother and sister at some stage, but it seems unlikely that he ever lived in Hoylake.
In June 1913 Albert, a mechanic, emigrated to Alberta, Canada intending to farm. However he seems to have remained as a mechanic.
On 15 January 1915 he enlisted in the Canadian Infantry at Calgary, Alberta. He was just over 6ft tall with black hair and brown eyes. He stated that he had served as a territorial for 4 years with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which must have been the 4 years immediately preceding his emigration. 5 months later he assigned part of his pay to a Mrs J Halladay of Valley Farm, Yarnagale, by Claverdon, Warwickshire, but it is not known who she was. By this time he was at Shorncliffe Camp, Kent, England and was a Corporal in the 50th Battalion, Canadian Infantry.
On 5 August 1915 Albert arrived in France and was posted to the 10th (Alberta) Battalion. This was only 2 days after John Aitken joined the same battalion. The history of this battalion from 1914 to 1917 can be found here, which describes what Albert will have been through better than I can.
On 4 December 1915 Albert was promoted to Lance Sergeant, and on 29 January 1916 to acting Sergeant. However on 14 February 1916 he reverted to his previous rank at his own request. On 7 April he was again a Sergeant. At this time the battalion was occupying trenches on Hill 60. Clearly he had a strong sense of duty, but found the extra responsibility difficult.
On 28 August 1916 the Alberta Battalion moved to the Somme. On 13 September 1916 Albert was given 10 days leave to return to England to marry his fiancée, Annie Frances Irene Keight (1889-1980). This required the permission of his commanding officer and proof that he genuinely was affianced. It is not known how they met, but her brother Lawrence Charles Keight (1887-1969) had emigrated to Calgary to farm in 1912, so maybe Albert knew him.
Albert and Annie were married on 18 September 1916 at St Mary, Warwick. They had no more than 4 or 5 days together before Albert returned to the Western Front. No child resulted from their union. Annie’s father was a blacksmith who worked making cycles and motor cars; her mother had a draper’s shop, where Annie worked as an assistant before her marriage.
Albert died on 9 April 1917 during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, when his battalion was decimated. He is remembered on the Vimy Memorial.
Annie eventually remarried in 1937, but only enjoyed 6 years of marriage before she was again left a widow for another 37 years.
Albert’s brother George enlisted on 14 November 1914 and became a wireless operator in the Royal Naval Reserve. On 19 January 1915 he was promoted to Warrant Telegraphist. At some stage he must have been invalided out as he was awarded a Silver War Badge on 20 March 1918. He had married in 1917, and sadly died on 10 March 1919. From the number of deaths reported in the same newspapers, he most probably died of Spanish Flu during the epidemic. At the time he was Head of the Wireless Department at the Central Technical School, Leeds, Yorkshire.
It is not known for certain what happened to Albert’s sister Alice after 1911, but there is a strong possibility that she also emigrated to Canada.
Birth: 17 Mar 1892 at Matlock Bath, Derbyshire
Death: 9 April 1917 during Battle of Vimy Ridge, France; killed in action
Addresses: 27 Foundry Street, Starkholmes, Matclock, Derbyshire (92); 3a Hollingsworth Street, Islington, London (visitor) (01); Longbridge Farm, Warwick, Warwickshire (11); Calgary, Alberta, Canada (15)
Units: 50th, 10th (Alberta) Battalions, Canadian Infantry
Number and Rank: A/34490; sergeant
Medals : 15 Star, Victory & British War
Commemorated: Vimy Memorial, France; Canadian WW1 Memorial Book p 290
Sources: CWGC, SR, DA, HT, Census: 01, 11, Canadian WW1 Archives, Probate, passenger lists