|Full name||John Errol Manners|
|Domestic team information|
|1953||Marylebone Cricket Club|
John Errol Manners DSC (born 25 September 1914) is a former English first-class cricketer and Royal Navy officer. He was born in Exeter, Devon, the son of Admiral Sir Errol Manners KBE, RN. Manners had a distinguished naval career, serving from 1932 to 1958. His served aboard several different destroyers during World War II, including as commanding officer of HMS Eskimo and HMS Viceroy. His actions during the war saw him awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. As a first-class cricketer, Manners' career was interrupted by his naval career, though he did play first-class cricket for several teams, scoring 1,162 runs in 21 matches between 1936 and 1953. In September 2018, he became the longest-lived first-class cricketer, surpassing the previous record of 103 years and 344 days.
1 Early life and pre-WWII
2 War service
4 See also
6 External links
Early life and pre-WWII
Manners was born at Exeter, the son of Admiral Sir Errol Manners (1883-1953) KBE (also an author on theology) and Florence Maud Harrison (1883-1967). He followed in a family tradition by attending Dartmouth College from the age of 13. Manners enlisted in the Royal Navy as a cadet in January 1932, and became a midshipman in September of that year. By 1935, he had obtained the rank of sub-lieutenant.
Manners represented the United Services in a victory against a strong Hampshire Club and Ground team at Portsmouth in 1935, scoring 20 runs and taking 4/43. His selection for Hampshire came in 1936, when he impressed captaining the Royal Navy in a two-day match against the British Army at Lord's. His performance in this match was noted by Christopher Heseltine, then President of Hampshire County Cricket Club, who recommended him to the county. He made his first-class debut for Hampshire in August of the same year, against Gloucestershire in the County Championship, scoring 81 runs in his first innings. He played three further first-class matches over a period of a fortnight, totalling 212 runs. With his naval career taking priority, Manners made no further appearances in first-class cricket before the onset of the war.
By July 1937, Manners had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Having served on the Royal Yacht in 1936, Manners served aboard torpedo boats in the Mediterranean and the Far East from 1937.
When war was declared, Manners was serving aboard HMS Birmingham at China Station at Singapore. With war declared, Manners returned to Southampton aboard the troop ship Strathallan for a new assignment. He was posted to the destroyer HMS Eglinton, which was nearing completion at the Walker shipyard on the River Tyne. It was here that he would meet his future wife, local actress Mary Downes (1917-1995). The couple were married in October 1940. On the night of their wedding they came close to death when their hotel was bombed by the Luftwaffe. Six months later, with HMS Eglinton based at Harwich, they again narrowly missed being killed when a bomb landed in the bedroom of the house they rented, while the couple were in the bathroom. Both were unscathed, but four other occupants of the house were killed. While serving aboard the still incomplete HMS Eglinton, Manners was seconded to HMS Watchman in Derry for six weeks.
After six weeks aboard Watchman, Manners returned to Eglinton, where the ship joined the Rosyth Escort Force with the task of escorting merchant ships along the British east coast. Manners served aboard Eglinton until February 1942, after which he served two months aboard HMS Fame. He was posted to HMS Eskimo in May 1943 and became its commanding officer in August of that year. Manners transferred to HMS Viceroy as commanding officer in December 1943, a position he held until July 1945.
In April 1945, while escorting a convoy, Viceroy sank U-1274, an exploit which won Manners the Distinguished Service Cross. As the war neared its conclusion, Manners took part in Operation Conan, the Royal Navy's contribution to the liberation of Norway. He served as the British naval officer in charge in Trondheim during the German surrender, where he also entertained Crown Prince Olav. Having served as an acting lieutenant-commander from May 1945, Manners achieved the full rank in July 1945.
Upon leaving Viceroy in July 1945, Manners was posted to Australia (the birthplace of his mother) as a "spare destroyer commander". With no vacant commanding officer positions in Australia, he spent time working on a friend's wool station near Melbourne, before joining HMS King George V in October 1945, and stayed with her until April 1946.
After leaving the ship, Manners was able to resume his first-class cricket career. His first match following the war came for the Combined Services against Gloucestershire in 1947 at Bristol, also playing once for Hampshire in that season against Kent. In this match he scored his maiden first-class century, making 121 in Hampshire's first-innings total of 285. In 1947 he was appointed Naval Liaison Officer at Sandhurst. The following year he played his final two first-class matches for Hampshire in the 1948 County Championship, as well as playing in that same season against Hampshire for the Combined Services at Aldershot. From 1948 to 1953, he played frequently for the Combined Services, making ten first-class appearances in that period. He made a further three first-class centuries, including a score of 123 against the touring New Zealanders in 1949. Manners first-class career also consisted of one match each for the Marylebone Cricket Club and the Free Foresters in 1953, with his appearance for the Free Foresters his last in first-class cricket. He returned to sea later that year, ending his first-class cricket career.
Manners retired from the Royal Navy in 1958, still holding the rank of lieutenant-commander. Following retirement, he found employment as a bursar at Dauntsey's School in Wiltshire. He is the author of the books Country Crafts Today (1974), Country Crafts in Pictures (1976), Crafts of the Highlands and Islands (1978), and Irish Crafts and Craftsmen (1982). His collection of rural photographs and research files are held at the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading.
His wife, with whom he had a son and two daughters, died in April 1995. In September 2017, at the age of 103, Manners took part in the ITV documentary 100 Year Old Driving School, which also featured the England women's Test cricketer Eileen Whelan. In September 2018, he became the longest-lived first-class cricketer, surpassing Jim Hutchinson's record of 103 years and 344 days. Paying tribute, Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove said: "Everyone involved in Hampshire Cricket, past and present, salutes John Manners for his terrific innings and hopes that he holds the record as the oldest living first-class cricketer for a very long time."
List of centenarians (sportspeople)
Lists of oldest cricketers
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