That’s how Newcastle writer Greg Ray described the horror of 60,000 dead Australians in World War I, a figure he said was unfathomable in today’s times.
“It was a nation of five million people at that time with 60,000 dead,” Mr Ray said at the launch of The Hunter Region in The Great War at Newcastle Diggers on Wednesday night.
“It’s almost incomprehensible the catastrophe that caused for Australia.
“Imagine something today that killed 60,000 Australians – you can’t, you can’t imagine it.”
The Hunter Region in the Great War, the eighth book of husband and wife writers Greg and Sylvia Ray, tells the story of the region’s servicemen and women, and their families, in their own voices.
The book is in narrative form and is compiled from diary entries, letters and books authored after the war.
Mr Ray said the narrative form gave the book immediacy and added value to familiar stories.
“It talks about the home front just as much as it talks about the battlefronts,” he said. “And I don’t think there’s been anything like that attempted before.”
Mr Ray paid tribute to military historian and Newcastle Herald contributor David Dial for his hardy effort in compiling the list of names of the Hunter’s servicemen and women who died in war.
The Hunter Region in The Great War can be purchased from the Herald’s online store, or over the counter at 28 Honeysuckle Drive, for $49.95.