A SALE First World War casualty whose correspondence with his wartime sweetheart inspired a BBC radio drama was remembered on Monday at a church service commemorating the ‘war to end all wars’.

On May 25, 1915, Claude Arthur Gordon Rutter was killed during the Gallipoli Landings aged just 23.

The Rutter family also lost sons Frederick and Geoffrey in the war.

Michael Riley, parish archivist at St Paul’s Church, Sale said: “The pain and heartbreak of the Rutter family, and so many families, is beyond our imagining and the devastation to that generation beyond compare."

In 1913, Claude had begun writing to 19-year-old Dorothy Marie Nixon, a Worcestershire student teacher he met on holiday in North Wales.

Dorothy later married and became Mrs McDonald.

When she died, her son inherited an antique bureau containing a bundle of Claude’s letters in a secret compartment tied with black silk ribbon.

Passing Bells, based on Dorothy’s diary and Claude’s letters, was then produced through Dorothy’s daughter-in-law, Jan McDonald, Professor of Drama at the University of Glasgow.