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Second World War soldier reunited with helmet after 70 years

57Chevy

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Great stories like this one are very rare and is shared with provisions of The Copyright Act
Wow !  :nod:


CBC News 20 Feb

Collector tracked down N.B. owner of helmet with soldier's name, rank number scratched in it

Jordan Chiasson bought an old military helmet in an army surplus store in Moncton, N.B., for $30 last August, but only recently discovered the name GW Johnston and a number scratched into the inside of it, so he set out to find the owner.

"The fact that he cared enough about it to write his stuff inside — his name and the ID number — it wasn't mine to keep," said Chiasson. "If he cared so much he wrote his own info inside, it was up to a matter of time."

Chiasson, 21, contacted Royal Canadian Legion Command in Saint John and the Canadian War Museum. He was led to Pte. George Johnston, a member of the North Shore Regiment in the Second World War.

This week, after a three-day search, the soldier and his helmet were reunited for the first time in 70 years when Chiasson took it to Johnston and his wife, Annie, at their home in Norton, N.B.

"They came to the door," recalled Chiasson. "He rolled right into the entrance area, just looked at me and said, `22694.' That's the first thing he said.

"I looked inside and that's the exact number it had written on it, so I knew I had the guy," said Chiasson. "It was just really nice to give something back."

Veteran overjoyed

Johnston and that helmet spent six years together on the battlefields of Europe, serving in England, France, Belgium and Germany during the Second World War.

The last time he wore the helmet was on the outskirts of Berlin in 1945. The war was over.

"I could have kissed it," said Johnston, 93, who struggles with speech due to a stroke a few years ago. "That's what it felt like.

"I can't explain it the way I feel … what it's done for me," he said with a smile.

"He just kept looking at it," said Johnston's wife, Annie. "I don't think he could hardly believe he did have it until Jordan showed him the name.

"But he told Jordan his rank number right away. He always remembered that. He's quite pleased to have it."

Johnston doesn't remember writing his name in the helmet and can't remember how it disappeared. He doesn't remember bringing it back to Canada after the war.

Chiasson says it "feels great" to have reunited Johnson with his helmet.

"I've been smiling ever since," he said. "My girlfriend says she's never seen my eyes light up so much.

"And it's nice to see an old fella with his eyes bright, looking at the thing he held 70 years ago and hasn't seen since."

Photos at link
 

Vanguard48

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What a great story to read! Even through all those years this veteran remembered his number, just goes to show the kindness of others.

Not to mention an awesome conversation starter now proudly hoisted on his wall. :)
 

Tibbson

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"The fact that he cared enough about it to write his stuff inside — his name and the ID number — it wasn't mine to keep," said Chiasson."

Little did Chiasson know that the original "owner" most likely had to write his name and service number in the helmet during his recruit training.  I sure hope someone finds and returns those sock twinkies I lost while at Cornwallis oh those many years ago.  I cared so much about them I spent a lot of time sewing my name in them.

But seriously, a "feel good story" for sure.
 
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