The opening pages of the novel concern his brief period of sick leave back in England where his sister Beth, mother Constance and father are blind to the horror of the trenches.
John finds it hard to adapt to life back in England and is happy to return to the war; especially after the new distance between him and his sister, to whom he was previously close.
He also states that John thinks that one of the most difficult experiences is getting used to the new faces as so many soldiers die.
The chapter ends with Barton being chosen to go to the front lines to draw a map of the surrounding area with a runner called Grosse.
He writes a letter home describing what a terrible place Feuvry is; the town has few buildings left intact after being shelled and occupied by the Germans in 1914.
When they arrive at their billets the Officers are informed that a soldier called Harris won't come out of the cellar.The inconclusive end of the novel is Hilliard being informed by a letter from Barton's parents that Barton is missing and presumed dead.Hilliard writes to inform Barton's parents that it is extremely unlikely that Barton is alive.When Hilliard returns he finds that his batman and many other faces he knew have been killed.The group's Commanding Officer, Colonel Garrett, appears to have aged greatly in the short time Hilliard has been away, due to the stresses of war, and has taken to drinking quantities of whisky.Strange Meeting is a novel by Susan Hill about the First World War.The title of the book is taken from a poem by the First World War poet Wilfred Owen.In Part Two, the group that Hilliard and Barton are in, B Company, is travelling to the front line at Feuvry.There are not enough horses so David walks alongside for the duration of the journey.The novel was first published by Hamish Hamilton in 1971 and then by Penguin Books in 1974.The novel begins with the protagonist of the novel 'John Hilliard' in a military hospital, recovering from a wound he received; he briefly speaks to Crawford, a doctor, whom he knows from childhood and greatly dislikes.