Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

At Sotheby's London on July 8, a 1917 first of Fairies and Fusiliers, lacking the jacket, very worn and with a detached first gathering repaired at the gutter with tape, sold for £2200.

This was a copy that Graves inscribed to a fellow officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers with the words "If it hadn't been for you, old butty, this book would be unwritten, see page 63", where, preceding the poem 'Escape', he has added "Dedicated to O.M. Roberts... in grateful memory of July 20, 1916".

When Graves was seriously wounded, it was the recipient, Owen Roberts, who pulled him from the mud and onto a stretcher. The two did not meet again until 1966, when Roberts visited Graves in hospital, but they then corresponded regularly.

In Goodbye to All That, Graves tells of a gravely injured Roberts shooting dead a German officer who was killing off wounded at High Wood, and sold at £1500 was a rather scruffy 1966 edition of the book inscribed in that same year "To Owen Roberts but for whom I should not have written this book".