Local vet preserves history with sword donation (Bristol Press)

February 9, 2015

By Brian M. Johnson
February 6, 2015

Scott Stanton looks through old photographs of Col. Frederick Manross while talking about an upcoming ceremony at the Manross Library in Forestville.

BRISTOL — James Murdoch, a terminally ill local World War II veteran, will donate a sword which belonged to his late comrade-in-arms, Colonel Frederick Tuttle Manross, to the library bearing his family’s name today at noon.

Murdoch will be joined by Mayor Ken Cockayne, members of the library board, members of American Legion Post 2, and members of the Korean War Veterans Association as he presents the sword to Manross Library at 260 Central St. The mayor will then present him with a certificate of appreciation.

During World War II, Murdoch was a major in the First Company Governor’s Horse Guards. Col. Manross was a lifetime associate member of the Horse Guards and served with General Douglas MacArthur during the occupation of Japan. Manross willed the sword to Murdoch after his death in 1989.

Scott Stanton, programming and public relations manager at Bristol Public Library, was at Manross Library when Murdoch initially approached him four years ago with his intention to donate the sword. He said it would now be displayed near portraits of other members of the Manross family at the library. Murdoch’s son, Russ Murdoch, built the shadow box that will house the weapon.

“For him, this is a tribute to a friend and to the whole Manross family,” said Stanton. “He feels that it is appropriate that the sword should be here.”

Col. Manross’ father, Arthur Manross, donated the building that became the first Manross library in 1949. It was once the home of his father, Frederick Newton Manross, whom the library is named after. In 1975, the library was moved into the current building and Col. Manross was present for the dedication. Both Arthur Manross and Col. Manross donated significant amounts of money to the library’s trust fund over the course of their lives.

Stanton said the sword itself likely belonged to a previous owner before Col. Manross and may date back to the civil war era.

“‘E.C. Wattles’ is engraved on it,” he said. “Russ Trudel, a historian at American Legion Post II, is currently researching that name.”