1919, London's East End. Robert Hunter is eagerly awaiting the return of his father from the war. Next door, Ruth Cooper's family are also preparing to welcome her dad, whose ship was lost at Jutland. After five years of separation and anxiety — and, for Bob, the worry of caring for his frail mother — emotions are running high for both young people. But Alf Hunter, who saw action in the trenches, returns a changed man, and when he takes to drink, Bob must put his own happiness on hold to support his family.