WW1 Alumni

Manson, MM


Magnus Murray Manson

Magnus Murray Manson

Rifleman, London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles)

Age 13, Class VA Lower: ‘A very good boy of great promise.’

Age 16, Class VI Technical A: ‘Bright, of decidedly good powers – much improved’

Magnus Murray Manson was born 30th September 1891. He was a scholarship student at Alleyn’s from 1904-1907. He lived with his parents James and Margaret Manson at 7 Ardbeg Road, Herne Hill and had five older siblings.

His experience at Alleyn’s was positive and he managed to keep up with the other boys in his class despite being one of the youngest in his form when he first arrived. He is often complimented in his school reports for having good mental powers and was 1st in French.

After leaving Alleyn’s Magnus was living with his parents at 13 Harborough Road, Streatham and working as a Clerk in the education department of the London County Council. Thereafter he worked in the London office of the Guaranty Trust of New York.

On the outbreak of war in August 1914, he was serving in the 1st Surrey Rifles. The Unit had just arrived for their annual summer camp on Salisbury Plain, when they were mobilised and concentrated in the St Albans area for training. They went to France on 16th March 1915. Less than a month later, Magnus was killed in action at Richebourg L'Avoué, north-east of Bethune at the age of 23. He was buried the same day in the little churchyard there behind the firing line. Later his body was re-buried in the cemetery at Souchez some 25 kms to the south. Captain Quintin Walford, his Company Officer, wrote: ‘His loss is much felt by his comrades of ‘A’ Company and by me. He was conscientious and hard-working and died doing his duty for his King and country.’

When he died, Magnus’ parents were living at 4 Cornwall Avenue, Finchley and Magnus is also commemorated on the memorial in St Paul's Church, Finchley.

With thanks to Revd Nicholas Pye, vicar of St Paul's church Finchley for providing much of this information.