'Pick up your parrots and monkeys, and fall in facing the boat' was the traditional last order given to a detachment of British soldiers heading home from India. William Pennington heard it from the 'old salts' he met on the docks as he arrived in India at the age of 15. Enlisted as a 'boy soldier', a bugler in the horse artillery, he served in the 1930s when the British Army in India was little changed from that described by Kipling. Pennington's compelling description of army life in the last days of the Raj is followed by an equally moving account of his experiences in the Burma campaign. Promoted from the ranks, he fought the Japanese as an artillery officer, specialising in forward observation: the most dangerous job in the jungle.