Many servicemen and women are reluctant to share stories from war, Rotorua RSA president Bryce Morrison says, but that's exactly what has happened and been celebrated at a book launch today.

The book Touched by War - Wartime Memories contains 40 stories from World War I, World War II, right through to the present day.

It was launched today, the day before Armistice Day, at the Rotorua Library.

Rotorua Returned and Services' Association president Bryce Morrison spoke at the launch and said it was important to keep stories alive.

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"We need to push this to our young people and let them know exactly what the sacrifices were for all those young men from World War I right through.

Touched by War - Wartime Memories co-editors Alison Brown and Matthew Martin. Photo / Ben Fraser
Touched by War - Wartime Memories co-editors Alison Brown and Matthew Martin. Photo / Ben Fraser

"Remembering those who served is a reminder that peace and protecting our country's values comes with personal sacrifice from our very own men and women."

Morrison said he hoped the book would create an "avalanche" of people sharing and remembering.

Touched by War - Wartime Memories is the brainchild of former Rotorua RSA president William McDonald and was co-edited by Matthew Martin and Alison Brown.

Armistice Day tomorrow marks the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I and the book is a way to commemorate that. It is a book of memories of Rotorua people regarding their and their family members' experiences during wartime.

Among those stories is a series of 150 letters between a couple. The man was a member of the Māori Battalion B Company, and the woman was in Rotorua.

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Rotorua Returned and Services' Association president Bryce Morrison speaks at the book launch. Photo / Ben Fraser
Rotorua Returned and Services' Association president Bryce Morrison speaks at the book launch. Photo / Ben Fraser

One of the couple's daughters, Marua Chadwick, read passages from the letters at the book launch.

Her father wrote of a bombing attempt he witnessed.

"It's a sight one will never forget and hope one will never ever witness again ... The noise of the bomb was terrific, coupled with the roar of planes overhead was enough to make even the stout-hearted shake in the old knees."

Returned serviceman David Daniel also contributed to the book.

He and his brother both joined the air force at the same time. Daniel served in Japan and in the Pacific and said he had written several personal memoirs as well as stories about his father who also served.

Daniel said there was a risk stories would be lost if not shared.

"I wish I'd talked to [my father] more about it. As generations go I wish I'd said this or that.

"It's very important each generation passes something on to the next."

Not all stories in the book tell of the horrors of war. Luke Martin's contribution was simply about commemorating Anzac Day at the local RSA.

At the launch mayor Steve Chadwick said the book was a "treasure".

She said the eve of Armistice Day was the perfect time to launch the book, which had been blessed by Reverend Tom Poata.

All proceeds from the book will go the Rotorua RSA Poppy Fund which is for the welfare of veterans and their families.

The book will be sold exclusively at McLeod's Booksellers for $29.99.