The Airmen's Stories - P/O K Manger
Kenneth Manger was born in Halifax, Yorkshire on 25th February 1917 and educated at Crossley and Porter Grammar School, Halifax, as a boarder. After leaving he tried various local jobs but mainly worked in the family florist business.
On 17th January 1938 Manger began flying training at 5 E&RFTS, Hanworth, obtained his pilot's license on 10th February and on 26th March was commissioned as an Acting Pilot Officer in Class 'A’ of the Reserve of Air Force Officers.
He spent two weeks at No. 1 Depot Uxbridge on an induction course and was then posted to 3 FTS South Cerney on 9th April 1938. With training completed he joined 17 Squadron at Kenley on 29th October.
At the end of his years probation, Manger was granted an RAF short service commission. 17 Squadron were now fighting over France, covering the BEF, from Hawkinge. Manger destroyed a Ju87 and damaged another on 17th May, damaged a Me110 on the 18th, shared a Do17 on the 25th, damaged another on the 26th, destroyed two Do17s on the 29th, shot down a Me109 and damaged another on the 31st.
Manger was himself shot down on 1st June by return fire from Ju88's in Hurricane P3476 and baled out into the Channel near Dunkirk. He was picked up by a French boat and put ashore, returned to England in a British troopship, and was flying the next day. On 6th June he damaged another Me109.
Above: the gold Caterpillar Club badge issued to those who baled out of a damaged aircraft had to be claimed by the individual writing to the Irvin Parachute Company
On the 7th 17 Squadron was ordered to France, to the airfield at Le Mans. Manger destroyed a Me109 on this day. The squadron was withdrawn to Debden, via the Channel Islands, on the 17th. Manger was awarded the DFC (gazetted 25th June 1940).
Above: somewhere in France (L to R) F/O WJ Harper, P/O RC Whittaker, P/O Hunter, F/O RV Merdith, F/O J Jeffries, P/O K Manger
He shared in the destruction of two He111s on 9th and 12th July.
He was reported 'Missing' after a combat with Me110s off the east coast on 11th August 1940 in Hurricane P3760.
His body was not recovered and Manger is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 9.
Images and additional research courtesy of Nigel Manger.