By Sean O’Riordan
A special ceremony will take place today at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, to honour a Victoria Cross winner who pioneered aerial warfare tactics, shooting down 61 enemy planes — making him the fifth most deadly pilot of the First World War.
A special Victoria Cross Stone will be unveiled at Glasnevin Cemetery dedicated to Major Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock, 100 years on from his death.
The flying ace was the son of Julia Sullivan from Ballincollig, Co Cork, and Englishman Edward Mannock.
The young Mannock became a fervent supporter of Irish nationalism and Irish Home Rule before joining up to fight in the war that was supposed to end all wars.
After a brief spell serving in the Royal Engineers and then Royal Army Medical Corps, he joined the Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) and went into combat on the Western Front.
Mannock was among the most decorated men in the British Armed Forces.
He was honoured with the Military Cross twice, and was one of the rare three-time recipients of the Distinguished Service Order. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross after shooting down nine German planes in June and July 1918.
He died on July 26, 1918, when his aircraft was shot down over France.
Paul Kehoe, minister of with responsibility for defence, will accompany the British ambassador, Robin Barnett, to the ceremony with John Green, chairman of Glasnevin Trust.
It will also be attended by Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier, chief of the British Air Staff, and Brigadier General Sean Clancy, general officer commanding the Irish air corps.