He was one of only four players who represented Wales before and after World War 2. Of those, full back Howard Davies and hooker 'Bunner' Travers have died, leaving only scrum half Haydn Tanner alive.
Tanner made his debut against New Zealand in 1935, but though Manfield was not capped until 1939, he was nearly two years older than Tanner.
Manfield never recovered from a fall and died in Aberdare Hospital. Born in Mountain Ash on November 10, 1915, Les was to travel to England studying, working and playing, taking in Africa and Europe with the RAF in war-time, before returning home to live in his beloved Mountain Ash again.
He went to Mountain Ash County Intermediate School and on March 1, 1930, he made his Wales debut, albeit with the U15 against England at Cardiff in a 9-6 win in which he scored a try, going forward to pull on many varied Wales jerseys until his last one 18 years later.
Unfortunately, his father, a Railway signalman, had already died and his mother received ten shillings widows pension per week. Both parents were born in England. The game in Cardiff saw his teacher take him by car to play second row. His boots had been his elder brother's and were a mess. The family could not afford a new pair, so the school staff had clubbed together to buy them.
He was such a good player that he had made a senior appearance for Mountain Ash against Aberavon at the age of 15, yet four years earlier he had just recovered from scarlet fever, which had left him with a weak heart. Though considered a 'rough lad', Les was sent flying by Ned Jenkins, the Aberavon forward, who was amidst a 21-cap run for his country.
There being no England side at Secondary Schools level, caps were awarded against Yorkshire Schools and Les, at Mountain Ash County School, played in the 1932 games at Pontypridd and Leeds and the 1934 matches at Pontypridd and Skipton - no games were played in 1933.
His elder brother Arthur began with soccer before playing rugby for Aberdare and younger brother Ron was a full back with Newbridge, Pontypool and Llanelli. One four-point drop goal by Ron handed Pontypool a 17-16 win over Cardiff, for whom Les was playing, in 1947 - one of only two losses by the Blue and Blacks that season.
Les went to University College, Cardiff, graduating in Chemistry and taking a MSc course, skippering the rugby side and guesting for Neath, Bridgend and Penarth.
But he then moved to Carnegie College, Leeds, for a PE course, and as a boxer he reached the UAU semi-finals and won the light-heavyweight Welsh Univerities College title in 1937. His weight rose from 12 to 14 stones, but rugby beckoned again in the shape of former Mountain Ash player Haydn Coopey, who was secretary of Otley RFC.
Manfield played just one second-team game before playing first-team rugby at Otley and also appeared for the UAU and Yorkshire County. England invited him to a trial and in 1939 he was at Twickenham to see Wales lose 3-0, but he chose Wales instead.
Les said, at that time: "My sympathies lie with Wales, where I learned my football. I had cheered every Wales match for some years."
On February 4, 1939 he gained a Wales senior cap in the middle of the back row (then called lock, but now named No.8) in a 11-3 win over Scotland on Cardiff Arms Park. The Manfield hair was already receding fast, even at 23! He was classed as Otley and Mountain Ash in the programme.
The Ireland game, a 7-0 win in Belfast, was to be the last full international for eight years. Les had met his wife-to-be Mary, but volunteered for the Royal Air Force in 1940, being posted to Uxbridge then Cosford on a PTI course, along with soccer caps Les Jones and George Male.
He was then posted to St Athan, near Cardiff, where Rugby League star Alan Edwards and Union cap Arthur Rees were and all three played in a charity game at Richmond organised by Air Commodore Eira Jones, the Welsh World War 1 flying ace.
Next came training as an Air Observer at St Andrews in Scotland, followed by Harwell. At rugby he played in 1940 for Wales versus England as Cpl Manfield in Red-Cross Internationals at Cardiff and Gloucester. By 1942 he was a flying-officer and and played in Services internationals against England at Swansea and Gloucester, also appearing in the latter year in a British Red Cross game at Swansea for the Wales Services.
That year Les went via Gibraltar and Malta to Cairo and was to spend three years in the Middle East flying Wellingtons with 104 Squadron. He was twice hit by flak over Tobruk and on the second occasion in 1942, he was a navigator and Squadron Leader when his plane was shot down in the Mediterranean Sea off Crete.
Les went back into the plane attempting to bring the rear-gunner out and spent two days afloat in a dinghy with three other crewmen before a Motor Torpedo Boat picked them up. Despite no food and little water in the heat, they had survived and while Rommel was defeated at El Alamein, so were England.
On April 4, 1943 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his work in a Special Operations Unit, though his 104 Squadron had 126 men killed or missing in action in a six-week period.
Somehow, jerseys was made by servicemen, dying them red to meet England at El Alamain and Les skippered a side that had Wales forward Viv Law, British Rugby League cap Billy Watkins and Newport full back Gerry Gibbon to help provide experience. Idris Tanner (Pencoed) and Jack Treharne (Pontypridd area) were others who turned out, as did England fly half Tommy Kemp in the opposition.
The match kicked off in the heat at 1500 hours on St David's Day 1945. Wales won 22-5! Some 15,000 servicemen watched the game with leeks planted on the goalposts, a Welsh flag waving and over 100 Welshmen forming a choir. Seven days later he led a Wales XV to a 6-3 win over a Rest of the Empire XV at Alexandria.
Les left 282 Wing Cairo late in 1945 and returned to Britain as Course Commander at the Empire Air Navigation School in Shawbury. Just before Christmas he turned out for Wales against France in a Victory International at Swansea and two weeks later played against the 'Kiwis' (2nd NZEF), the famous New Zealand Army side in Cardiff.
In further Victory internationals he played against England at Cardiff; Scotland at Swansea; England at Twickenham; Ireland at Cardiff; Scotland at Murrayfield and France in Paris during 1946.
Later that year later, Les was demobbed and having taught briefly at Huddersfield and Cowbridge before the War, he returned to that profession when former Wales wing John Idwal Rees, headmaster at Cowbridge Grammar School, invited him to return to join the staff.
Though he had appeared for London Welsh, he had then joined the Cardiff club and after breaking ribs in the final trial of the 1946-47 season he played in Cardiff and Wales victories over the touring Australians in late 1947.
He appeared against England, Scotland, Ireland and France in 1948, but he now returned to his home village of Mountain Ash to take up a post at the local Grammar School and the wheel had turned full circle.
He suffered a groin injury in 1949 and decided his career was over at 34, though he appeared several times for his local club and the Welsh Academicals, finishing completely in 1952 after appearing for Cardiff Past against Cardiff Present.
Les never ever appeared to lose his smile. It was present in every match he played; probably in the two days in a dinghy and as late as 200 when he presented Mountain Ash RFC awards. On telling Les at a 1990s reunion with the Kiwis, that the Cardiff forwards were so wonderfully clean in their play, providing Bleddyn Williams and co with the ball to run with, he grinned and said: "Which pack were you watching? Sometimes, we had to use illegal tactics to get them the ball!"
In his 80s he appeared to have slightly more hair than in his playing days, though it had virtually disappeared in the late 1930s. In 2003 he was elected to the Cynon Valley Hall of Fame, being already a life member of his beloved Mountain Ash RFC and their oldest-living member. He was the last player to win a senior cap whilst being a club member.
He finally retired as deputy headmaster due to ill-health, but has a daughter Janet and a son John, the latter living in England and who was capped four times for Wales Secondary Schools in 1970 from the local school where his father was teaching.
Les was never sent off from a rugby field. He epitomised all that was good in the game and also played the higher game and survived that also, always with that boyish grin that never seemed to leave the face of this outstanding Welsh hero.