George Sherston, who is transformed from “a fox-hunting man” to an officer in World War I. He is ordered to plan a raid for his soldiers without taking part in the fighting. Later, an attack of enteritis removes him from dangerous duty. Finally, however, he gets into the Battle of Arras and is wounded. Back in England, he writes a critical letter to his superiors. He expects to be court-martialed, but they refuse to take the letter seriously. When he resignedly recants, he is sent back to the battlefield.
Aunt Evelyn, who reared the orphan George and now thinks him safe in the transport service. She upsets him with her worry about his safety.
Colonel Kinjack, who believes Sherston is cracking up following the Battle of the Somme and has him assigned to an army school.
Tyrrell, a pacifist philosopher who helps Sherston compose his defiant letter to Colonel Kinjack.
Major O’Brien, a friend of Sherston and a casualty in a minor raid that is exaggerated in the London papers.
Kendle, who is killed at Sherston’s side by a sniper.
David Cromlech, an iconoclast and fellow fighter at the Somme. He persuades Sherston to retract his critical statements by pointing out that otherwise he will be put into an insane asylum for the duration.