His old batman is replaced with a new one called Coulter and he is placed in a room with a new Officer called David Barton in a rest camp while they wait to be called up to the front.During this time he becomes great friends with Barton, who is as yet untouched by the war.
Harris is a new recruit who has broken down in terror; Barton manages to talk him round and lead him from the cellar.
While Barton goes to fetch some rum ration for the still unstable Harris, a shell falls on the billets, killing Harris.
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.
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.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.During the military advance, Barton and Hilliard lose track of each other's positions.Hilliard is injured by a shell and is forced to hide in a hole by several dead bodies. His leg is amputated in France and at first he is too ill to return to England.Once he gets back to England, he goes and visits Barton's family and friends, and feels he knows the place already from Barton's descriptions.(1818), a poem by the British Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.In another letter home, Barton states that the constant death erodes his courage. After this news, a Private called Parkin is worried about the news that they will soon be going over the top.Barton and Hilliard begin to talk about how they will meet after the war before they realise they are assuming that they both will survive.In the front line he witnesses a shelling and the deaths of several men; he also sees a Private killed by a German sniper.After returning from the front line Barton admits that he feels that the war is changing him because he is unable to feel emotion for every soldier killed due to the sheer numbers killed each day.