"In the late 1980s Don Charlwood was addressing students in a Year 9 class, who were studying his novel All the green year. At question time a boy of fourteen or fifteen kept reverting the discussion to Charlwood's first book, No moon tonight, in which the author describes World War II Bomber Command in England. Why was it, he asked, that the author had been based in England, bombing Germany, when Australia itself was in peril? This question led Don Charlwood to search through his own upbringing in the twenty years between the two World Wars, a period when Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians were brought up with a sense of dual loyalties: to their own country and to the British Empire. It was an era marked by obedience, loyalty and a sense of duty. In multicultrual Australia of the 1980s this loyalty to the Empire had already mostly vanished. In Marching as to war Charlwood tells of his own early childhood and youth, seeking to answer the young man's question by describing those earlier times.