The Beecheys were a close-knit family, eight brothers and five sisters under the loving eye of their widowed mother, Amy. As the First World War raged across Europe and beyond, the brothers were one-by-one swept up into its devastating path. Some of them were keen to enlist from the start, others were conscripted, and some dead against. Even Chris and Harold, who thought they had left the Old World behind them for ever for a new life down under, felt honour-bound to enlist in the Australian army and journey back to do their duty. Eventually, all the brothers would serve King and country on the battlefields of France, Flanders and East Africa.
Tragedy followed tragedy, as one after another the Beechey boys fell, leaving their mother, sisters and wives to mourn their loss. It was a family sacrifice almost without parallel, and one that has remained forgotten and unmarked for nearly 90 years, until now...Kept in a small brown case handed down by the brothers’ youngest sister, Edie, were hundreds of letters sent home from the front by the Beechey boys: scraps of paper scribbled on in the firing line, heartfelt letters written from a deathbed, exasperated correspondence detailing the absurdities of life in the trenches. Having crossed the globe to piece the Beechey story together, Michael Walsh interweaves the letters with a moving account of brutal warfare and the anxieties of everyday life, revealing first-hand the catastrophe that was the Great War. From it all emerges the remarkable tale of the lost brothers - a wartime epic of courage, loyalty, love and sacrifice.
©2006 Michael Walsh (P)2009 Random House Audio