Friends of Neville Mann
Following an article in the Surrey Advertiser at the beginning of April asking for information about the family of Neville Mann, the Trust was contacted by his brother David and a number of people that had known Neville Mann in his youth in the Godalming area.
Ottershaw School Old Boys' generosity
In an exceptional act of generosity the Old Boys of Neville's school, Ottershaw, who were meeting for an annual lunch last Friday, raised £415 which they have donated to the British Antarctic Monument Trust. Prompted by an Old Boy Angus Palmer who spotted the article, Dennis Williams wrote to say, "Each year I organise a Lunch for Old Boys who were at Ottershaw with me (1949-1955). This year it is on this coming Friday. We always have a raffle and the proceeds go to our OB Society funds. This year I intend to donate the proceeds to your memorial fund, and I confidently predict that there will be no dissenters. Everyone attending the Lunch will have been at School with Neville at some stage, and so the gesture is entirely appropriate. Ottershaw (the first state boarding school) lived from 1948-1980, but the School spirit is very much alive within the OB's Society.
Busbridge, a friendly and caring community
We also heard from Sheelagh Brown who described the friendliness of society in Busbridge in the '60s. She said, "I have just read the article on the Get Surrey internet about the memorial planned for Antarctic research victims, including Neville Sanders Mann. It sounds so worthwhile. Although I did not know him personally, I do remember the Mann family as they were very much part of the Busbridge community in Godalming – where I grew up and went to the local grammar school etc All the very best for the appeal. Godalming (especially in the 1960’s) was always a very friendly and caring community – and there will be lots of people who will want to ensure that Neville Mann has a fitting memorial. With best wishes, Sheelagh (Brown)(An Old Godhelmian)"
By chance a Brenda Tuxbury (neé Black) registered on the BAMT website last week. Now living in the US she says "Neville Mann was a close neighbour of mine growing up. We attended the same church, school and Youth Club. It was a pleasure to have known him. He was one of the nicest people you could wish to meet."
David Mann remembers
David has written to say that Neville and his elder brother Bob were born before the war, he and his sister Susan, the youngest, were born after the war. He writes, "Neville and I were very close. We shared interests in vintage cars and climbing. Ours was a happy family with loving parents. We were a religious family and Sunday church was a regular thing. Grace was said before all meals."
Out of the four of us Neville was the talented one, he writes. Neville was a member of the local Busbridge Youth Club, and played clarinet in a jazz band, The Black Jacks, that also sang as a male harmony choir. The Black Jacks put together a show combining acting, comedy, singing and playing. They entered the All Surrey talent competition held in London. "They won."
Neville was a member of the British Sub-Aqua Club and went diving off the South Coast. He was also a keen climber, as noted by John Richardson, another school colleague. He climbed in North Wales and in the Dolomites with German friends, Klaus and Wieland Sussmilch. He also joined an expedition to Spitsbergen.
He was a keen photographer and something of an artist. David says he could caricature people. He also thinks he edited the Halley Bay magazine in 1963.
David had a particular bond with Neville over his love for old cars. Neville bought and renovated a 1929 Triumph Super Seven, a rare car that was the first production car to have hydraulic brakes. David remembers helping Neville to get the engine running "after weeks of work."
"And," he goes on "he had a wacky sense of humour. He was my hero."
"I still miss him now."
The Mann family camping holiday. Memorial cross Halley Bay