A CIGARETTE case that saved the life of a young First World War soldier from Keevil is being sold at auction on Saturday.

While fighting with the Army Service Corps in France and Belgium during the Great War, Private O.T House came under enemy fire.

Fortunately for him he was carrying a white metal cigarette case, given to him by his sister Beryl, in his top pocket - a decision that saved his life after one bullet struck the case on its hinge.

Now more than 90 years later, the case, complete with the scars of the miraculous escape, will go on sale at Devizes auction house Henry Aldridge and Son, at the Bath Road Business Centre in Devizes. Details of the incident and Private House's military career are scant, but Alan Aldridge said the case was all that spared his life on that fateful day.

"I believe the case was in his top pocket. If he hadn't been carrying it he would have been killed," he said.

"The hinge is the strongest point. If the bullet had hit the case at any other point it would have gone straight through. He was extremely lucky. If you saw the cigarette case in a box of bric-a-brac it's worth about 50p, but because of the story with the bullet hole, it gives it that quirky element."

The cigarette case is being sold from 10am in a lot along with a booklet containing views of Ypres, three First World War postcards, two service medals and a metal case containing ear pugs.

In a separate lot to be auctioned tomorrow, dozens of postcards depicting life in the trenches are expected to attract the interest of bidders.

The cards were sent by various servicemen serving in northern France and Flanders in Belgium during the First World War to the aunt of a now elderly woman from Trowbridge.

Whether the recipient of the postcards was married and then widowed it is not known, but the postcards are addressed to Miss Dolly Hazell, Rita Vaughan, Mary Hazell, Dolly Vaughan and Toodles Vaughan, all at the same address in Bolton Road, Windsor.

Mr Aldridge said: "Cards from this period are quite rare and with the mystery of who this lady was and her connection with these men, I'm sure there will be a lot of interest."