Rederic manning

When the bone pain gets bad, my inner NCO keeps me in check

In Frederic Manning’s classic Great War novel, The Middle Parts of Fortune, the shattered battalion shambles out of the line after battle to parade briefly before being dismissed. Noting a general loss of soldierly comportment as the infantrymen limp into camp, a watching NCO urges: ‘Come on, get hold of it now.’ As my bone pain worsens, passing milestone after milestone with dismaying rapidity, Manning’s anonymous fictional NCO speaks that expressive army phrase into my mind. He gives the order sternly, with unmistakeable undertones of regimental pride and kindliness. Milestones passed so far: single site intermittent bone pain easily tolerated; single site continuous pain, easily managed by half a gram