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George Albert Manning

George Manning

Served with Essex County Constabulary from August 23, 1946 and died on December 26, 1976.

Chief Inspector George Manning was a Welshman, born in Glamorgan. He was educated at the London Choir School. He served with the 6th Airborne Division throughout the Second World War, and was wounded twice. Joining the force after demobilization, he worked mainly in the south of the county, in Hornchurch, Rainham, Purfleet, and Grays before going to Stansted on promotion to sergeant.

He was subsequently posted to Clacton and South Benfleet where he was promoted to inspector. He then served as Inspector at Romford for three years and in 1960 moved to Billericay as Chief Inspector and sub Divisional Commander. George Manning received the Queen's Commendation for Bravery on two occasions.

In September 1970 the Romford Express carried the following report on the Welshman;

THE POLICE HERO WITH A 'SILVER TONGUE'

A MODEST hero- that's former Romford policeman Chief Inspector George Manning, now in charge of Billericay police who has twice talked unbalanced gunmen into laying down their arms and coming along quietly. But while he puts his triumphs down to a distinct flair for Welsh rhetoric, we would prefer to describe his actions as sheer guts. 

The first occasion was at Benfleet in 1956, when the fifty-year-old Swansea-born Inspector was still a sergeant. A chap with a shotgun was wildly threatening people's lives out on the downs. But together with a police possee, George dedicated five-and-a-half hours to talking him out of his melancholy and getting his gun safely away. For this he earned the Queen's Commendation for Bravery, presented to him by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex at Orsett Hall.

Then history repeated itself in August at the famous "Farmhouse Siege" at Hammerstones, Coxes Farm Road, Billericay.

SMUGGLE
Fifty - seven - year - old Frederick Street had barricaded himself in a room in the house armed with a 12 bore and a .410 shotgun, firing around seventy shots at everyone who attempted to come into range. Chief Insp. Manning and Insp. John Clark arrived from Billericay Police Station and managed to smuggle the man's wife and a third man away. Then started the long vigil, while the Welshman, who used to sing soprano with the London Choir School, armed only with his silver tongue, tried to coax the man into surrender.

He talked to Street about the war-they had both seen a lot of action; Manning was wounded twice while stationed with the Sixth Airborne Division - and then they discussed the man's heart condition and general health. Within two-and-a half hours, George and his colleague had both come out of hiding to talk to Street openly. His guns went down behind bolted windows.

Then his GP arrived to give him sedation and hand the shotguns out to the waiting police. "I must admit I do a lot of public speaking - especially with the local Rotary," George Manning confessed. Will he receive another citation for the Billericay incident? "I honestly can't say," he shrugged. But I later heard the matter is under review by the Chief Constable of Essex.

PSYCHOLOGY
Is he a psychologist. of sorts with a real insight into people's minds? At this the Chief Inspector grinned infectiously: "Like I said before, I put it down mostly to the Welsh gift of the gab. But I am taking a course in social studies at Thurrock. So you can definitely say I am very interested in people and psychology".

On 14th May 1971 George Manning attended the Shire Hall in Chelmsford to receive his second commendation. The June 1971 edition of the Essex Police newspaper. 'The Law' reported he had received the commendation 'after an incident at Billericay last year when a man fired shotguns out of the windows of his house at passers-by. With Inspector John Clark of Laindon Traffic he calmed the man down until he could be disarmed'. George Manning also worked on police helicopters at the time when they were hired form the army.

He loved sport and during his time in the police he played football, cricket, bowls and golf for police teams, and also for the police college at Ryton- on-Dunsmore. Locally, he worked tirelessly for charities, was a past president of the Billericay Rotary Club, and Honorary Life Vice President of the Billericay Motor Club.

On one of the last days of 30 years' service, George Manning was out on mobile patrol with a young officer when their vehicle was sent to a suspected burglary in progress at Hutton. The police vehicle was involved in a road accident en route, and George Manning and the constable were badly injured. George Manning tried to release the trapped driver but collapsed in the process. Six weeks later, on Boxing Day 1976, he died from his injuries. The 7th January 1977 edition of the Standard Recorder contained the following report of George Manning's funeral:

Hundreds mourn town's police chief
FINAL TRIBUTE TO A HERO
PEOPLE TURNED out, in their hundreds on Wednesday to pay a final tribute to Billericay police chief George Manning, whose Boxing Day death shocked the town. 

The hero's farewell came after the funeral cortege passed down the High Street. Mourners watched in silence as double ranks of regular and special police formed a guard of honour as the cortege made its way to Christ Church. It was a fitting end to a police officer who was twice decorated for bravery and who died as a result of answering a 999 emergency call three days before he was due to retire.

A standard bearer from the Billericay branch of the Royal British Legion lowered his flag to half-mast in silent tribute to the man who won the hearts of the townspeople with his courageous exploits and cheerful manner. Chief Insp. Manning, who served the town for 16 years, was a long-standing member and former president of Billericay Rotary Club, and the entire membership turned out to pay last respects. Sir John Nightingale, Chief Constable of Essex, and many other high-ranking police officers came to pay tribute. A special all-ranks group escorted the coffin into the church. It was led by Billericay's new chief inspector, Mr. Les Brewer, and his second-in-command, Insp. Tony Tomlinson.

The Vicar of Billericay, the Rev. David Greaves, also a Rotarian, took the service: In a moving address he told the mourners: "It is wonderful on an occasion such as this to see such a big church so full that people are having to stand. All who knew George Manning knew him as a different person - some as a colleague-some as the governor, some as a good friend. In these lawless days I am grateful for the job George and all the other police do."

Sir John Nightingale said after the service: "He was a good policeman and a very good colleague."

People representing virtually every organisation in the town attended the funeral, including publicans and solicitors. Tragically, the 999 emergency call which led to Mr. Manning's death was a false alarm. The accident happened in November when a police car Mr. Manning was travelling in crashed. After appearing to be on the way to recovery, Mr. Manning had a relapse and died on Boxing Day.

He will be buried in the village of Bramford near Ipswich. Mr. Manning and his, wife Joyce were due to move there on his retirement and he was joining the legal department of Suffolk Council. He also leaves a daughter Heather.

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