George William Manby
By James Dray
George William Manby was born in Denver, Norfolk, England back in 1765 to Matthew and Mary. He was educated at the Free Grammar School in King’s Lynn. He volunteered to fight in the American War of Independence at 17. He was rejected due to his youth, instead he was sent to the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. In 1788, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Cambridgeshire Militia reaching the rank of captain before resigning in 1793. He married the daughter of Reverend Preston but left her in 1801 after being shot by her lover moving to Clifton, Bristol. In 1807, he witnessed a Royal Navy ship carrying French prisoners run aground killing 214 people including women and children. With that embedded in his mind he invented a mortar call the Manby Mortar. It fired a thin rop...