A LUCKY escape immortalised in the shape of a dented cigarette case has been discovered by a Dorset auctioneers.

Lieutenant Frank Lewis Thornhill Barlow’s silver cigarette case was in the right place at the right time when it caught a bullet in the First World War.

Now the battered life-saver is sitting pretty next to the Military Cross Lt Barlow was awarded in 1919 and a host of other WWI medals at Duke's Auctioneers in Dorchester.

Duke’s coin and medal specialist, Tim Medhurst, said: “This rare collection of medals along with the cigarette case provokes your imagination into what it was really like to be serving on the front line during the Great War.

“This lucky cigarette case is an example of something being in the right place at the right time.

“Dukes Auctions always attract the rare and unusual, and this is no exception to that rule.

“In 2015, Duke’s sold a similar life-saving tobacco box for £1,830, and I am confident that this group and cigarette box will create similar interest.”

The case comes with a metal ball that fits loosely into the crater in the case. It comes from a shrapnel shell – the likes of which killed thousands of troops on both sides.

It is assumed the ball is the same that struck the lucky soldier a century ago.

The case and the medals, which include the war and victory medals awarded to all soldiers at the end of the conflict, were in the hands of a private collector – a relative of Lt Barlow – when they were brought to Dukes.

The Military Cross was established mid conflict in 1915 and awarded to over 40,000 soldiers over the First World War alone.

It was established to recognise bravery in the face of the enemy.

Lt Barlow’s regiment, the Welsh Guards, have been awarded numerous medals, including two Victoria Crosses.

He served with them from their inception in 1915 until 1922.

The rare collection of medals will be sold at Duke's in Dorchester on March 10 as part of a Coin and Medals, Militaria and Ephemera Auction.