Editor's note: Based on Leonard Mann's own wartime experiences (he was seriously injured at Passchendaele in October 1917), Flesh in Armour is widely regarded as the finest work of fiction about the First AIF. Mann originally published the novel himself, in which obscure edition it remained until the favourable climate of the Second World War, when it became an instant bestseller after being published by Robertson & Mullens. Trying to balance a celebratory nationalism with a realistic portrayal of the crushing impact of battle, Flesh in Armour begins in London, with scenes of Diggers on leave. The Western Front awaits.
From Chapter I: In London Town (5-6, 9-10)