A CIGARETTE case which saved a man's life at the Battle of Passchendaele was one of the treasures explored by schoolchildren aiming to preserve the stories of the First World War.

Cheney School pupils recorded the stories behind an array of war-related objects brought along by people in the community at the school's Rumble Museum earlier this month.

It was part of Oxford University's 'Lest We Forget' project aimed at collecting and digitizing artefacts relating to the First World War.

Medals, letters, diaries, photographs, guns, masks and helmets were just some of the items poured over by students and experts.

The cigarette case was brought in by Oxford man Chris Dorey, and it prevented a bullet from hitting his grandfather during the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

Dr Lorna Robinson, who helped organise the event, said: "Another person brought a music manuscript for a love song about a soldier in World War One.

"A number of families brought medals, letters and photographs.

"The range of objects and stories was really fascinating and in many cases, the experts were able to shed new light on items."

Sixth former Louis Attlee, from East Oxford, and his family brought their relatives grave marker with them.

The Cheney School pupil's relative Captain Charles Gorrell Barnes was killed in action in 1918 and the wooden grave marker will now be added a national bank of artefacts due to go live next year as part of the project.

The pupils, aged between 12 and 17, had all been trained by Oxford University's Dr Stuart Lee in how to record the items, interview visitors and digitize the objects by taking photographs.

Historians from the company Frontline Living History gave their expertise, as did Dr Stephen Barker – a heritage advisor for the county's museums and the universities.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Oxford historian Liz Woolley were also on hand to help as were some of the relatives of those featured in the '66 Men of Grandpont' project which collated information about South Oxford's war heroes.

Dr Robinson, director of educational charity the Iris Project, which runs the museum in partnership with the school, said: "We are very grateful indeed to everyone who took part in this event and especially proud of our student team who worked tirelessly to process the items and welcome our visitors."