‘Put that bloody cigarette out!’ are the last recorded words of H H Munro (known to the world as Saki) as he admonished a man under his command.

The Saki Shrouds of the Somme figurine.The Saki Shrouds of the Somme figurine.

The famous short story writer who grew up in Pilton was in the trenches when he spoke these fateful words.

The cigarette alerted the attention of an enemy sniper - but it wasn't the smoker who died, Saki himself was killed, on November 14, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.

This month, Pilton's Friends of Manning's Pit group presented a special figurine - purchased from the Shrouds of the Somme Exhibition - to the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

Manning's Pit is the last part left of the countryside that the young Saki looked out on from his nursery window when he was a child, and the group are leading the campaign to buy it for the local community.

Toby and Theo Lawrence with the Shrouds of the Somme figurine under the blue plaque commemorating Saki, on the front of their house in Pilton.Toby and Theo Lawrence with the Shrouds of the Somme figurine under the blue plaque commemorating Saki, on the front of their house in Pilton.

The shrouded figurine from the exhibition represents the body of Saki himself. The Shrouds of the Somme Touring Exhibition commemorated 72,396 servicemen with no known grave, whose names are recorded at the Thiepval Memorial as missing presumed dead.

Tim Saunders, group treasurer, said: "It is especially fitting to present the Munro figurine to the museum at the same time as the museum is also holding an exhibition about the artist FR Lee, RA.

"Lee was living across the road from the Munro family, at the same time as Saki was growing up as a child with his two eccentric aunts."

Christine Lovelock, chairman of the group, added: "Our researches have led us to believe that both Lee and his son-in-law, Crimean War hero Hugh Hibbert were far more influential figures in Saki's development than is generally recognised."

Presenting the Saki Shrouds of the Somme figurine (inset) at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.Presenting the Saki Shrouds of the Somme figurine (inset) at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

It was also fitting that Toby and Theo Lawrence were there at the presentation, as the boys live in the house where Saki grew up.

They also won first prize for the Under 12 Category in the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry Competition.

They can be seen on the Manning's Pit You Tube Channel, reciting their poem, on the staircase that young Saki may well have played on, when his bossy aunts weren't keeping an eye on him.