Vera Brittain, irrepressible, intelligent and free-minded, overcomes the prejudices of her family and hometown to win a scholarship to Oxford. With everything to live for, she falls in love with her brother's close friend Roland Leighton as they go to University to pursue their literary dreams. But the First World War is looming and as the boys leave for the front Vera realises she cannot sit idly by as her peers fight for their country, so volunteers as a nurse. She works tirelessly, experiencing all the grief of war. But, an indefatigable spirit, Vera endures and returns to Oxford, irrevocably changed, yet determined to create a world in which such a war can never take place again.