Raised in Glasgow in the early months of 1915, the 'Wee Fellas' is the nickname given to a bantam battalion made up of volunteers below the army minimum regulation height of 5ft 3in. However, their deficiency in size and weight is compensated for by an inbred toughness and native cunning which works to their advantage in the trenches of the Western Front. One of the volunteers is Billy Stirling, a billiard hall manager in civilian life but more surreptitiously a protection racketeer and expert with the open razor, as enemies discover to their cost. A reluctant recruit, Billy joins the colours for reasons that have nothing to do with patriotism. But despite a fearsome reputation, this son of the tenements unexpectedly goes on to find true love in the alien environment of a rural English village - and moral redemption on the bloody battlefields of northern France.