Little is known of Harry Mann's time as a soldier. He had been a pre-war territorial with The Essex Yeomanry, rising to the rank of Sergeant. Within the regimental history there is an unconfirmed image of Mann in his Essex Yeomanry uniform at a summer camp prior to the outbreak of war.
After service in France with the Essex Yeomanry early in the war Mann was wounded in May 1915 and returned to Britain to recover. After a period of convalescence he did not return to his unit, but instead, was sent to undergo officer training. Upon being commissioned he was posted to the 178th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. According to the information held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Mann was Mentioned in Despatches during his time as an artillery officer.
Harry Mann was killed in action on 30th March 1918, leaving a wife, Elsie Muriel. Elsie was the daughter of Austin Matthews of Chignal Hall near to Chelmsford. It was Matthews who placed notices of death in both the Essex Chronicle and The Essex Weekly on behalf of Mann's, by then widowed, mother.He also had a sizeable memorial placed in the church at Chignal St. James.Unfortunately, this mainly wooden memorial succumbed to death watch beetle in the 1980s. The tablet with the memorial inscription was saved and, upon the closure of St. James' Church, was moved to Good Easter Church.
And so, for the time being, this is all we know in regards to the life and works of Harry Mann. We will never know his hopes and dreams, nor his true abilities as an architect; all we know is that his was a life sadly cut short before he had the chance to find out.
Harry William Mann is remembered on the following memorials:
Essex County Council War Memorial, County Hall, Chelmsford, Essex.
Essex Yeomanry Memorial, Chelmsford Cathedral.
Witham War Memorial
Good Easter Church, near Chelmsford
RIBA War Memorial, Portland Place, London
Harry Mann is buried at Bellacourt Military Cemetery, Riviere, France. This is a Lutyens cemetery, though his assistant was a Captain Wilfrid Clement von Berg, of whom we shall learn more about in the future.Until that time; rest in peace Harry Mann, your sacrifice is not forgotten.