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McManus is the ill-tempered Irish left-side gunner of the "Black Bess". Mistrustful and vocal, he verbally chastises the newly assigned and nakedly inexperienced driver Edwards upon their meeting, and again when he stalls the tank after taking the controls for the first time. Each time he is pacified by Finch and Townsend respectively, who are willing to give Edwards a chance to prove himself. Based on remarks made on McManus' presumed non-participation upon the promise of "wine, women and song" waiting for the crew in Cambrai, it is possible he is married or does not drink. He is also seen to be religious - a rosary and crucifix hanging by his weapon station denotes him as a Catholic Christian, as well as his performance of the sign of the cross when he believed he was about to be killed by British artillery support.
When Black Bess got stuck in a large mud area, he tried to move the tank, along with its crew. He later became afraid of being killed with crew by releasing the pigeon. Although the tank itself was saved by artillery support, McManus became more hopeless, saying that "All we got is blind orders, and chance". At time of dawn, he and Edwards get out of the tank to search for new sparkplugs. Before doing so, he talks about Black Bess and Townsend that would never make it. When Edwards returned with new spark plugs, he gets caught by a German soldier who attacks with a bayonet charge but was saved by McManus who had changed his mind saying he had lost his way back.
He appears to be a lot more enthusiastic when Edwards swears at "Big Bess" and restarts the engine, McManus laughs saying "she likes it when you swear!" Later on after the battle against the horde of enemy armor he along with Edwards are non-fatally wounded following an assault by infantry. After Townsend blows up the tank and himself, Edwards finds that McManus is alive. Edwards picks up McManus and they walk off toward the rendezvous.