The Echoes that Remain tells the story of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and in particular the New Zealand Engineers, young men from a far-flung Dominion, catapulted into that European war because New Zealand was part of the British Empire. It is a time that has generally been forgotten or is hazily recalled on Anzac Day. The original history of the New Zealand Engineers, published in 1927, used selected contributions from officers and men. Experiences of soldiers whom the war had claimed such as Bert Tuck and Tom Farrer were not mentioned. Others, such as Frederick Skelsey, never spoke of their horrendous war time experiences. There is an unspoken assumption that these men from the other side of the world simply arrived in France and went into the trenches of the Western Front. Nothing could be further from the truth.
While training in England, the Field Engineers' reinforcements integrated into the communities of Christchurch, Boscombe and Bournemouth. They arranged various social activities with the townspeople, shared the privations of war with them, married local girls and left widows. This is as much a history of those townspeople as it is of the soldiers.
After years of research the author, Clement Wareham, attempts to relate a fuller account of these men and the harsh conditions they endured at Anzac Cove on Gallipoli that ended their innocence about warfare, and then from 1916 on the Western Front through to the hard-fought final victory.