Credit: Shutterstock/Robert Graves

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.

Robert Graves found his narrative voice amongst the mud and destruction of the First World War. One of countless young men who joined up to fight and die for King and country, he was amongst the first to write of the harrowing experiences of trench warfare. He would later become a successful author of historical fiction, writing the bestselling I, Claudius and the autobiographical Goodbye to all that.

Born Robert von Ranke Graves, he grew up in Wimbledon to a middle-class family, and had a comfortable childhood until the age of seven, when he caught measles followed by double pneumonia - his doctor told his parents that he would not survive, but he somehow fought through the disease and recovered. This would be the first of three times that he would be proclaimed dead preemptively in his life!

His first poems were released in 1916 and he gained a reputation for writing about war in a realistic and harrowing manner, reflecting the true feelings of soldiers at the time, rather than pandering to vainglorious notions of honour and nationalism. He was badly wounded at the Somme, taking a piece of shrapnel to his lung. For the second time in his life he was pronounced dead - his parents even received a letter confirming he had had been killed in action.