Robert Manifould, Private 69193, 2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment
Killed in action 6th June 1918 in France, aged 33
Robert Manifould was born in 1884 and baptised on 11 January 1885 at Park Street New Connexion Methodist Chapel, Macclesfield, at the age of two months, the son of Sarah Ellen and Charles Manifould, a cabinet maker of 150 High Street, Sutton, south Macclesfield. By 1891 the family had moved to Walker Lane, Sutton, where six year old Robert lived with his parents and siblings James (8), Charles (4), and Elsie Maud (1).
By 1901 Robert had left school and was employed as a domestic groom. The family still lived in Walker Lane and by then included more children: William (9), Alice (6), Annie (3) and Arthur (1).
Ten years later in 1911, Robert was living at 65 Kennerton St, London, employed as a valet. It was in London that he met his future wife, Ethel Jackson, who previously lived at Gumley near Market Harborough, Leicestershire. The couple married in London in 1912, and had two daughters, Verena Ethel (born in London) and Cecily Florence (born in Market Harborough).
Meanwhile, by 1911 the rest of Robert’s family had moved to 66 Peel St, Macclesfield. Robert’s parents later lived at 64 Peel St, Macclesfield and his widow and daughters lived at 62 Caxton St, Market Harborough.
Robert enlisted into the Army in Bristol, joining the Devonshire Regiment in early 2018; his name was incorrectly spelled as Manifold in the Army records, and in the local newspaper report of his death.
On 5 July 1918, the Macclesfield Times reported that Robert had been killed in action:
KILLED – Mrs Manifold, 66 Peel St, Macclesfield, has been notified that her son, Pte Robert Manifold, of the Infantry, was killed in France on June 6th. He enlisted about six months ago and had only been at the front about a fortnight when he met his death. He was 33 years of age and his wife and children reside in London, where he was employed before joining up.
Mrs Manifold has three other sons serving, namely: Cpl Charles Manifold, RAMC (in Salonika), who in civil life was a member of the Macclesfield Borough Police Force; Pte William Manifold, Motor Transport (France), who was employed by Sir E Tootal Broadhurst at the Manor House, North Rode; and Pte Arthur Manifold (stationed at Ipswich), who was employed at the Bollin Mills. All the sons were educated at St James’ School, Sutton and attended St James’ Church.
Private Robert Manifould has no known grave and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial in France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Robert Manifould, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Locally, Private Robert Manifould is commemorated on the Macclesfield Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael’s Church war memorials, and on the Sutton Walker Lane, St James’ School and St James’ Church war memorials. He is also remembered on a family gravestone at Sutton St James Church, grave no 234.
Brother of Charles Manifould, who served as Corporal 105878 with the RAMC in Salonika; William Manifould, who served as Private M2/046726 with the 34th Division Motor Transport Corps in France; and Arthur Manifould, who served as a private at Ipswich.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
WWI Absent Voters Lists (FindMyPast): Macclesfield Parliamentary Division
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Family History Society of Cheshire: Macclesfield Area Monumental Inscriptions CD
Macclesfield Times: 5 July 1918