In the Cumbrian village of Keswick in late summer 1914, young postman George Farrell waits for the village hall clock to strike one. This is his cue to cycle to the Manor House and deliver the family’s letters, so he may encounter their daughter, Violet, on her afternoon walk. Any earlier and the girl he dreams of marrying would still be lunching and he would miss his chance again. But on the day that he finally plucks up the courage to give Violet a gift, as a token of his esteem, George’s hopes of reciprocated love are dashed completely when he learns she is betrothed to another.
Humiliated, heartbroken and dejected, George takes the impulsive decision to enlist. Weeks later he is on a train bound for the Front. Life in the trenches is loud and surreal. The stench of acrid smoke and human bodies hangs heavy. The branches in the nearby woods droop unnaturally, like broken limbs, as the wailing shriek of shells rolls on. George has fled home but how can he return after living through this horror? And how can he possibly forget his beloved Violet when her fiancé is his commanding officer?