Australian Phil Clarke says the death of his great uncle Harold Wilthew in World War I left a promising life unlived and a big hole in his family.
Mr Clarke, 64, is visiting Belgium and France for the Centenary of Armistice commemorations and to pay respects at the grave of Second Lieutenant Wilthew, a member of the 31st Australian Battalion.
Wilthew, a champion cyclist from Balmain in Sydney, enlisted in 1915 before fighting in the Battle of Fromelles in France one year later.
The young soldier was part of the third Australian charge in Fromelles, after the previous two waves were largely wiped out, Mr Clarke said.
Wilthew, whose letters and postcards were often published in newspapers due to his status as a cyclist, wrote about Fromelles at the time.
"I think he described it as some minor skirmish or something, rather than a major battle," Mr Clarke told AAP, chuckling.
After Fromelles Wilthew was sent to the front at the Somme in November 1916, by that time having been promoted to Second Lieutenant.
One day a shell hit the dug-out he was sitting in with fellow officers.
When the group accounted for themselves, they found 2nd Lt Wilthew dead.
"In the lottery of war he wasn't killed in any brave charge over the top or anything, or charge across no-man's land, he was hit by artillery," Mr Clarke said.
"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's like tossing a coin, if I die or you. There's no rhyme or reason."
The soldier's commanding officer described 2nd Lt Wilthew as one of the bravest and most capable officers he had known.
Combined with his cycling prowess and rapid rise through the ranks, his great uncle's death, Mr Clarke feels, was a great loss.
"He probably would have made something of his life if he had have lived," Mr Clarke said.
"He was capable with some ability and he died at age 23, so there was a life left unlived. What could he have been, what could have he become but never got the chance?
"It's very sad, that's the lottery of war. It's just crazy."
Mr Clarke said after the war Harold's brother Reginald, who fought in both wars, and his wife Alice never had any children, so the Wilthew surname effectively died out as well.
But Mr Clarke's grandmother Ida Clarke named her son, born in 1919, after Harold, his lost uncle.
"He was often talked about at family gatherings and stuff so there was definitely a hole in the family because he wasn't there anymore," Mr Clarke recalls.
He believes he and his wife were the first members of their family to visit Harold's grave in France in 2001, and since then his brother has visited as well.
Mr Clarke said it was important his great uncle and the other thousands of Australians killed in the Great War were not forgotten.
"It means a lot to remember them and what happened. Visiting the cemeteries like Tyne Cot and looking at the graves just brings home the futility and senselessness of war," he said.