He didn’t enjoy his time with the HLI and after two years he ran away to Holywood and the rest as they say is history. In 1939 he returned to the UK to sign up. He didn’t even try the HLI. At first he tried the RAF but they wouldn’t have him but a friend got him a commission in the Rifle Brigade. He later served in the Commandos and Phantom Force.
When he was in Malta I’m sure Niven rued writing “Anything but the Highland Light Infantry” but would he have found the fame he did if he had been posted to the Argylls? Perhaps if fate had placed him in a welcoming regiment he would have settled into the life of a regular army officer and never gone near acting. What if, eh?