Britain 1960: as the age of respectability gives way to the era of rock and roll, we follow the stories of eight privates who are part of the last intake of National Service. Stationed at a basic training depot in North Yorkshire, they are part of Two Section and their two years of National Service has just begun.
Lance Corporal Jimmy Hobbs proposes to his girlfriend Norah, who works in the army canteen (NAAFI), and then goes AWOL after being chased by Private Keenan. Sergeant Butcher sees a man by his motorbike on the pier, dressed in a homemade general's uniform and speaking only in the dialogue of David Niven; he is Private Lomax. Corporal Barrowman, having taken a dislike to Private Wratten, initiates a search for a 'stolen' watch and pronounces Wratten the thief.
After lights out, the men deal with dislocation in their own way: Keenan writes in his journal, Hoy cries and Lomax is nowhere to be seen...