John Manning of Ballinasloe
- A Veteran of the Battle of Trafalgar -
by Peter Duckers
John Manning was born around 1773. He entered the Royal Navy in 1803 as a Volunteer aged 29. His fairly advanced age (for a new recruit) might suggest previous experience in the merchant or fishing fleets.
After initial training on HMS Utrecht, he was posted to HMS Victory as an Ordinary Seaman on April 11, 1803 and served aboard the ship until she paid off (for extensive repairs!) on January 15, 1806. Like many other members of her crew, he was directly transferred to HMS Ocean in January 1806.
Manning would have been aboard the Victory for her entire commission (after complete refitting) from 1803, through the pursuit of the French Navy across the Atlantic/West Indies and culminating in the great Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. He is not amongst those listed as wounded or injured during the battle but was one of the crew who were present at Nelson's funeral in Westminster Abbey, where the crew were given a prominent place at the proceedings.
After Trafalgar, he served on HMS Ocean (as an Able Bodied Seaman – the highest rank he obtained) until July 5, 1809 and then on HMS Milford until January 1814. After some service on HMS Prince Frederick, on September 16, 1814 he was finally paid off and left the service after eleven years to return to his native Ballinasloe.
His wife's name was Mary but her surname/date of marriage is unknown.
Little else is known about Manning except that he lived until 1848 to receive the Naval General Service Medal with the "Trafalgar" clasp (he would have been about 78 then); this medal is recorded as "known to exist".
As a "hero of Trafalgar" he may have been a known/respected local character later in life and may have received a decent funeral/obituary. If anyone in the area knows anything about him (e.g. where he is buried or when he died). Is the name Manning known/local to the area? I'd like to know to add to my records on Trafalgar sailors. Anything appreciated! -- Peter Duckers
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