Published Friday, February 21, 2014 10:51AM EST
A long-lost helmet from the Second World War is now back in the hands of the war veteran who said it saved his life during battle.
George Johnston was reunited with the helmet he wore in battle as a soldier, after a history buff spotted it at an army surplus store.
The history of the helmet dates back to D-Day.
Johnston, who fought with the North Shore Regiment’s B Company from 1940 to 1946, was one of thousands of Canadians who stormed Juno Beach in Normandy on June 6, 1944.
The helmet he wore that day bent during battle, so he was given a replacement.
Some time after the war was over, he lost the D-Day helmet, which the war veteran said protected him during battles in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
Johnston, who lives in New Brunswick with wife Annie, said he “never dreamt” he’d see the helmet again, until Tuesday when he received a call saying someone had found it.
“I didn’t know what to say or what to do,” he said.
It turns out, war memorabilia collector Jordan Chaisson had bought the helmet at an army surplus store.
When he noticed an army ID on the inside of the helmet, he decided to do a little digging.
“At the beginning, I just wanted to … see who it belonged to,” he told CTV Atlantic. “As soon as I found out he was alive, this got more personal.
“I was like, I’m going to have to give this to him. It’s not mine to keep.”
Chaisson made arrangements to bring the long-lost helmet to the Johnstons.
“To experience that with them, and the joy that was on his face and hers as well, was really remarkable,” Chaisson said.
Johnston said now that he has it back, the helmet will remain in his family.
“I can’t explain what it feels like to have the hat back,” he said. “I never dreamt that I’d ever see it.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Plowman