'Funny, no-one talked about him.
Not much anyway,' his nephew says,
'They say he shot down a Zeppelin
but we don't know if this is true.'

He shows me a sepia photograph
of a soldier, young, a little stern,
none too sure of himself, but clutching
his newly acquired officer's baton.

Three years in France, years of shells
and mud and fear, until the message,
'Regret to inform you, Lt. H Leater
died of wounds on 22nd March 1918.'

Six months before the guns fell silent,
only 25 years old. The King signed
the letter of condolence - not by hand,
of course. So may deaths, too many

to sign his name in ink time after time.