Manktelow, Bruce Malcolm (1891-1917)

Bruce Malcolm Manktelow was a private in the 7th Battalion, Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment (Regimental Number: G/3892). He had enlisted in Chatham. In the 1911 Census his occupation was a cement labourer when he was aged 20.

The 7th (Service) Battalion was formed at Maidstone on 5 September 1914 as part of  the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Purfleet to join the 55th Brigade of the 18th (Eastern) Division.  They moved to Colchester in April 1915 and on to Salisbury Plain in May.

The battalion mobilised for war on 27 July 1915 and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including:

During 1916: The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Thiepval Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.

During 1917: Operations on the Ancre, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilckem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, First Battle of Passchendaele, and The Second Battle of Passchendaele.

The battalion was in engaged in ferocious action at Cherisy between 3-5 May, after being withdrawn for ten days rest they returned to the line between Cherisy and Fontaine les Croisilles and again saw action to the end of May and Bruce was recorded as killed on 29 May 1917

On 9th February 1918 they transferred to the 53rd Brigade of the 18th Division and saw actions including; The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of the Avre, The actions of Villers-Brettoneux, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.

The battalion ended the war in at Le Cateau.

Bruce Malcolm Manktelow was killed in action in Flanders on 29 May 1917, when he was 26 years old and buried at Rookery British Cemetery, C. 24, Heninel.  The village and commune are in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, 10 kilometres south-east of Arras and 3 kilometres south of the straight main road from Arras to Cambrai. Heninel village was captured in a snowstorm on 12 April 1917 by the 56th (London) and 21st Division and the 50th (Northumbrian) Division, advancing from Heninel on the two following days, captured Wancourt Tower.

Rookery British Cemetery (named from a group of trenches) was made by the 18th and 50th Division Burial Officers in April-June 1917 and used until November 1917. Two further burials were made in August 1918.  The Cemetery is 1.5 kilometres from Heninel village, 165 metres north-east of the road to Fontaine-les-Croisilles opposite Cuckoo Passage Cemetery.  Bruce’s page on Every Man Remembered can be found here.


Bruce Malcolm Manktelow was born on 7 February 1891, in Borstal, Kent to Eliza Ellen Manktelow (nee Chadwick), age 28, and William James Manktelow, a wheelwright age 32.  His father had moved upon marriage to Yalding from Stepney where his family lived, possibly suggesting Huguenot heritage on his father’s side. His mother was from Spindon, Derbyshire.  Between 1885 and 1893 they had five children.  Four were born in Kent, their second son however was born in Rye, East Sussex.  After his birth they moved back to Kent and were resident at 3 Primrose Cottages in Borstal by the 1901 census.  The table below summarises his family:

The Family of Bruce Malcolm Manktelow
Parents Born Died
William James  Manktelow 1858 1907
Eliza Ellen Manktelow 1863 1925
Siblings Born Died
Ada Priscilla Manktelow 1885 1972
Stanley James Manktelow 1887 1956
Frank William Manktelow 1889 1975
Bruce Malcolm Manktelow 1891 29/05/1917
William J Manktelow 1893 1968


Bruce’s father died on 13 November, 1907, at the age of 49.  His mother lived another eighteen years, dying in 1925.

The census also records his eldest brother Stanley James was born on November 7, 1886, in Ospringe, Kent and was an apprentice in the cycle trade. However, this may be an error as younger brother Frank is noted as an apprentice butcher.  In 1908, aged 21 Stanley Manktelow enlisted in the Army Service Corps, (which was responsible for keeping the British Army supplied with all its provisions barring weaponry, military equipment and ammunition) his trade is shown as a butcher.  Stanley Manktelow served from enlistment until the end of hostilities in the Army Service Corps.  Stanley died in 1956 aged 69.

His other elder brother, Frank Manktelow who was born whilst the family lived in Rye, may have briefly joined the navy, although his service is unclear as the only surviving records refer to him aged about 16 having serviced on HMS Swiftsure  from 1 July to 12 December 1905.  In 1909 he was noted as a witness at his sister’s wedding in Borstal. When Frank was 35 he married Louise Betsy Baggett on 9 Aug 1924 at St. Matthews Church.  At this time he still lived at 3 Primrose Cottages, however it had been renamed to its current address – 79 Borstal Street.  Frank was recorded as a store house assistant when he married.  They subsequently had two children: Audrey A. Manktelow and Colin S. Manktelow.  Louise died in 1962 (registered in Chatham) but Frank lived to the age of 85, dying in the Sittingborne area in 1975.

Bruce’s sister, Ada Priscilla was born in 1885, in Faversham, and was shown as a dressmaker in 1901. Ada married Walter William Wells, a builder from Dover, on 18 Oct 1909 in St. Matthew’s Church, Borstal and subsequently moved to Dover and had a son by the time of the 1911 Census.

Bruce’s younger brother William was born in 1893 and was recorded as an Assistant Grocer in the 1911 census.  In 1915 he married Ellen Edith Rivers at St Nicholas church in Rochester.  In June 1916 he joined the Royal Field Artillery and was recorded as living at 76 Castle Avenue, Rochester with his wife Ellen, son Vivian James and his mother. By the 1930s William and his family were living in Lambeth in South East London. William died in 1968 in the Tonbridge area aged 75.

The house Bruce grew up in, 3 Primrose Cottages survives and as noted above was re-named/numbered between 1911 and 1924 as 79 Borstal Street which it still is in 2016:




Via Ancestry UK:
Census records – 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911
Births, Deaths & Marriage records
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965

Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment websites
Janet & Richards Genealogy (
Stephen Hannington, Out of the Shadows (2015)



Andy Brittan, 2016