Charles was born on the 22nd October 1920 at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. He enlisted in the RAAF on the 21st July 1940 at Melbourne, Victoria.
After completing his initial training in Australia and then Canada, Charles finally embarked for the UK. On arrival he completed his training ansd was posted to 452 Squadron RAAF. It was his first and only operational posting.
At that time, 452 Squadron, which was the first Australian squadron to be formed in Britain during the Second World War, had just been formed. Its first personnel had gathered at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey on the 8th of April 1941 and the Squadron had become operational there on the 22nd May that year, flying early model Supermarine Spitfires. In July, the Squadron was moved to RAF Kenley, where they became part of No.11 Group RAF and rapidly developed a formidable reputation in operations against German forces.
Soon after, on the 18th September 1941, Charles was killed in action. Reports indicate that 12 Spitfires took off at 14:10 led by the CO for Circus 99. They were accompanied by aircraft from 602 Squadron RAF and 485 RNZAF and were to escort 12 Blenheims to Rouen. The Squadron was flying at 10,000 feet crossing the French coast near St-Valery at 14.49 and were engaged by fighters soon after. Four aircraft from the Squadron were lost in the fight.
(Web Master: A “Circus” is a small force of bombers, escorted by a large number of fighters in the daytime. As well as carrying out a bombing raid, the attacks were against short-range targets with the intention of drawing enemy fighters into combat in circumstances favourable to the RAF, and to keep their fighter units in the area concerned.)
Other reports were as follows: Sergeant Manning – Operation Circus 99 – Spitfire Vb Serial W3600 – Base RAF Kenley – Location St. Aubin-sur-Mer, France:
Sergeant Charles Frederick Richard Manning, aged 20, Killed. Reason for loss: During a Circus with the rest of the Squadron, they came under attack by Me109s of 7/JG26 during the afternoon. A total of six aircraft were lost. Three other Spitfires were also lost from 452 Squadron: Spitfire W3512 Flown by 24 year old Australian from Victoria, Pilot Officer William D. Willis, killed. Spitfire P8703, flown by Sergeant A.R. Stuart, taken POW. Spitfire W3508, flown by Sergeant A.K. Try, taken POW.
Sergeant Charles Frederick Richard Manning is buried in the St. Aubin-sur-Mer Churchyard (see photo). He was the son of Fredrick Richard and Jessie Matilda Caroline Manning, of Bacchus Marsh, Victoria.
Paul Carter and Steve McGregor
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association