Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Personal Diary of Major Edward “Mick” Mannock

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 25 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3157
  1. Robert Heys, retired consultant gynaecologist
  1. cloughsidewhites{at}

The recent belated pardoning of servicemen executed for “cowardice” during the first world war makes this expertly researched diary of an undisputed hero of that bloodiest of conflicts—with its reproduced handwritten account of his personal experience of the condition now known as post-traumatic stress disorder and now recognised as the blameless cause of such breakdowns—of particular interest in the current era of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After service as a sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Mannock, although blind in one eye, requested transfer to the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force) in 1916, aged 29. Knowing that if detected his defective vision would preclude allocation to flying duties, he avoided its discovery by …

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