Two young North Island farm workers, Billy Bowman and Jack Thompson, one day hear exciting news: Britain is at war with Germany, which means New Zealand is too.
At 17, Billy is too young to enlist, but bluffs his way into the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment with Jack, the pair's life on the backblocks farm having fitted them well for working with and riding horses.
Months of training follow, during which Billy excels at target shooting. Finally the order is given to break camp, the regiment is off to war.
After a train trip (a first for Billy and Jack) there is the small matter of getting hundreds of horses and thousands of men on to the troopship.
Enthusiasm prevails: it's just as well they don't know what awaits them.
- by Rene Nol