Charlie is like most other soldiers, bemused, feckless, and bored. Then came Suez, and all that changed. Terror, exhilaration, and mystery entered his soul.
Brought up on the fringes of squalor in an ugly North Country town and sickened by the monotony of working life, Charlie is determined to fight his way up into the bright world of money and influence. Only one thing holds him back: Class division: Born into poverty he soon begins to experience the social divide between those that have and those that don't. His lack of a decent education, a decent living wage, and equal opportunities for self-betterment are all turned against him.
He is an attractive and energetic sort of young man, and it is not long before his childhood sweetheart falls in love with him, her father is rich, but he's not at all keen on his daughter's relationship with a man from the working-classes.
At the point of declaring their undying love for each other, despite her Father's opposition, National Service intervenes, and Charlie leaves the dirty, old, town, and sets off on an adventure with the British Army, little realising his relationship with Julie Duckworth, will never be the same again.