Keith Warren Maxwell Mann was born in Liverpool, the son of a sales manager for Lever Brothers. He moved to Chelmsford by the early 1930s and was a student at the town's grammar school. After leaving there in December 1939 he joined his father at Lever Brothers. In August 1940 he joined the army and became an officer, He won the Military Cross at Tobruk. Later he was sent to fight the Japanese in Kohima and it was there he was killed in action in May 1944. His motther died in 1947 and his father committed suicide in 1948. Their home was in Rainsford Road, Chelmsford.
Keitth was born in Liverpool, Lancashire in 1921, the only son of George Bell Mann (1897-1948) and Annabelle Mann (nee Burt) (1901-1947). The couple had married in 1921.
Keith's siblings were two younger sisters, Joan Maxwell Mann (1923-2004) and Marjorie Maxwell Mann (1924-1925).
During the First World War Keith's father was an officer and served in the Royal Engineers and the Welsh Regiment.
In 1933 Keith's father, a sales manager with Lever Brothers who frequently travelled abroad, was living at 141 Wood Street in Chelmsford. Five years later the family remained at the same address.
Keith was educated at King Edward VI's Grammar School in Chelmsford. There he was Company Sergeant Major in the cadets and a member of the school's hockey and running teams. After leaving school in December 1939 Keith went to also work for Lever Brothers.
On 15th August 1840 he joined the army and reached the rank of Captain 177788 in the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment. He fought in north Africa, when aged 20, and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty at Ed Duda near Tobruk in December 1941 when a Second Lieutenant.
The following uyear he was wounded and was sent to hopsital in Cairo to recover.
Keith was killed in action as a member of the Chindit force fighting the Japanese on 24th May 1944 at Kohima. He was 22 years' old. His headmaster at the King Edward VI's Grammar School, Mr. Norman Squier, described Keith as ‘A jolly, fearless, willing boy’.
At the time of his death Keith's parents were living at 'Faygate' 115 Rainsford Road in Chelmsford.
Keith is commemorated on the King Edward VI's Grammar School war memorial. Keith's sister Joan, who served in the Women's Royal Air Force, married Hugh Alan Ashton D.F.C. in 1946.
The following year Keith's mother died in Chelmsford. One of the town's newspapers reported:
"DEATH OF MRS. G. B. MANN.— The death occurrcd on Monday in Hospital, after a short illness, Mrs. Annabelle Mann, wife of Mr. G. B. Mann, of Faygatc." Chelmsford.
Keith Maxwell Warren MANN, Captain, Military Cross, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment
Killed in India. Aged 22
Mrs. Mann, like her husband, was much esteemed locally, had for some years been actively connected with the Chelmsford Labour Party Women's Section, in which she held an official post. She was also interested in the Chelmsford Professional Business Women's Association. The only son. Capt. K. W. M. Mann. M.C., was killed in the war while serving in the Essex Regt. There is a daughter, the wife of Flight-Lieut. Hugh Ashton. D.F.C.. of Chelmsford. During the war Mrs. Mann was an ambulance driver in the Civil Defence in Chemsford. and also in Liverpool. A memprial service will be held in the Chelmsford Cathedral to-day (Friday) at 11.30 a.m."
Keith's father died early in 1948. A Chelmsford newspaper reported:
"GAS ESCAPED: MAN FOUND DEAD Mr. George Maxwell Mann, aged 55, of Faygate, Rairisford Road, Chelmsford, was found dead at his house yesterday. Gas was escaping from a stove. Mr. Mann was a supporter of the Labour Party, and had stood as a Labour candidate at the local Council election. Before he retired he was well-known commercial circles, and had been employed by Lever Bros, on the West Coast of Africa. His wife died a few months ago. Their only son was killed in the war while serving the Essex Regt. The daughter married Flt.- Lieut. H. Ashton, D.F.C., of Chelmsford."
After the inquest into his death another Chelmsford newspaper reported:
'Mr. Mann was "moody and depressed since wife died" Balance of mind disturbed - Coroner
A verdict that he took his life when the balance of his mind was distutbed was returned at an inquest at Chelmsford to-day on George Maxwell Mann. 50, of Faygate, Rainsford Road, Chelmsford, retired sales representative, who was found dead in his bathroom on Monday. Gas was escaping from a portable gas stove.
Flight-Lieut. Hugh Alan Ashton, son-in-law of Mr. Mann, told the Coroner that his father-in-law had been moody and depressed since the death of his wife. He lived alone, but a maid came during the mornings.
Maisey Newman, a maid, employed by Mr. Mann, described how she could not get into the house on 1 Monday morning. After a time she called a taxi driver, and they got into the house. In the scullery was . a note, " Careful, gas, bathroom. , Telephone police."
Recording his verdict, the Coroner (Mr. L. F. Beccle) said Mr. Mann had retired earlier than most people. It seemed that .he had been drinking heavily, which was a sign of some tempermental defect. Yet the letters which he left were clear and lucid, and it seemed that he had made up his mind to do away with himself. Yet I think I am justified saying that he took his life while his mind was unbalanced,"