May is a hardworking, independent woman who has by default become the epicentre of the town. Close by are Annie, Sarah and Bertha. May's young lodger, Tom, has signed up to the Army with his best friend Ralph and Annie's pigeon-fancying husband, Arthur. They have their reasons, reasons that May struggles to understand and rails against. In the boys' absence, Ralph's girlfriend, Eva, replaces Tom in May's life. The men are dissapearing from Accrington as the women close ranks to defend what remains. All the while Reggie ducks and dives about town, trying to make some sense of a disintegrating family. While the town grapples with the idea of war, an odd figure emerges as the voice of reason... War is a necessity. Accrington is a town that throbs with life, even as death advances.