Only war could produce a story as bizarre as this

The two very different characters of Sergeant Alan Saffron, an ex-aircrew NCO whose one wish is to get back into action, and Corporal Ken Bickers, a self-styled Communist but in fact simply a scrounger, have been drawn together by war. It soon becomes apparent that the hilarious relationship this produces is as turbulent as the war itself.

Following a wait in Sri Lanka while their ship is being repaired, the draft of misfits and criminals are shipped to a transit camp in Bombay where the postings begin. The men with criminal records are sent to particularly unpleasant sectors of the Far Eastern war and Bickers, a perpetual pessimist, is certain that he and Saffron will share the same fate.

When they are sent up to the North West Frontier to open a gas warfare school, Bickers is relieved — until he discovers that the two worst members of the draft, who have a particular reason for disliking himself and Saffron, are posted with them...