1914. Great Britain is at war with Germany, but Scotland is yet untouched by it. Douglas McMorrow is an introverted sixteen-year-old boy who leads an unhappy and solitary life in the Highlands. He wishes to escape the village and make his mark on the world. A local farm boy, the patriotic Lachlan Gray, convinces him to join the army. They see it as a great adventure and have no idea what lies ahead.
For Douglas, the boy's dream comes to an end very quickly, but going back is not an option. He would rather die in an honourable way than live a monotonous and unfulfilling life, or worse: end up like his alcoholic father who lost himself in grief and self pity. However, to protect himself from trauma and the horrors of war, he has to hide his true self. Douglas fights his way through until there is nothing left of the sensitive, kind-hearted boy he once was.
When I'm Gone is about grief, insecurity, sexuality, abuse and addiction. It is a coming of age story with educational value that takes us back to a horrible period in human history.