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Cigarette case that 'stopped WW1 bullet' to be auctioned

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image copyrightHansons Auctioneers
image captionThe case was found by family members looking for a photo

A silver cigarette case believed to have saved a soldier's life by blocking a bullet during World War One is to be auctioned.

The case had been gifted to 2nd Lt William Alexander Lytle by his wife during the conflict.

A note inside it, written by his son, said he had been wearing it in his breast pocket when the bullet hit him.

The dented case will go under the hammer later this month along with several medals awarded to Mr Lytle.

image copyrightHansons Auctioneers
image captionThe case's history was detailed in a note

Hansons Auctioneers said the Derbyshire-born Sherwood Forester had accumulated an "impressive" set of medals for his efforts during both world wars.

The battered cigarette case was discovered when his family was asked to find a photo of Mr Lytle to put alongside them at auction.

Adrian Stevenson, militaria expert at Hansons, said: "Many soldiers kept hard objects in the breast pockets of their Army uniforms in a bid to protect themselves from enemy fire. Cigarette cases, shaving mirrors and pocket Bibles were popular.

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"A bullet potentially heading for the heart could be stopped in its tracks by objects such as this, particularly if it was reaching the end of its trajectory.

"Consequently, these objects have gained historical significance. They provide us with an insight into how young men who lived a century ago dealt with the grave dangers faced in the trenches in the war to end all wars."

image copyrightHansons Auctioneers
image captionThe case will be auctioned with war medals

The medals include a Military Cross awarded in 1915 and several from World War Two.

The collection is due to be auctioned in Etwall, Derbyshire, on 22 November with a guide price of £1,000 to £2,000.

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