The entire population of this town (800 people) every three and a quarter hours, day and night, for more than four years.
I've a talk with one of the High School classes this afternoon, leading up to Remembrance Day tomorrow. And that statement is probably one that I'll throw at them. The Great War saw the deaths of 9.5 million combatants. Nine and a half young men (mostly) killed over the course of four years and three months. Almost 6,000 a day. To put that staggering number into perspective I relate it to where they live, something that they can wrap their heads around.
Imagine everyone in this town killed over the course of three and a quarter hours, and then another town this size three hours later, and then another and another day and night for four years. And then imagine another group of killings at almost that same rate going on at the same time over the same period. Those are the civilian deaths.
Those are the numbers I want them to leave with, to help understand why Remembrance Day is important. But more than that I want them to know some of the stories of those people, and the ones that returned, in many cases broken. To understand that it is not just numbers, and that the Great War was just one of our wars.
Remembrance Day is one of the most significant days of my years, because of my connection to some of those men. But perhaps tomorrow is a better time to re tell some of those stories.