Chiasson bought the helmet from an army surplus store in Moncton, N.B., last August, for only $30. He recently saw the name of GW Johnston, followed by a number scratched on the inside of the 70 years old helmet, so he decided to track down the owner of it and return it to him.
Chiasson decided he has to return the helmet, saying that the man was so fond of this object that he wrote his name and the ID number on the inside, therefore he felt responsible to take it back to him as soon as possible. The 21-year-old war memorabilia collector got in touch with the Royal Canadian Legion Command in Saint John and with the Canadian War Museum, from where he contacted Pte. George Johnston from the North Shore Regiment in World War Two.
It took Chiasson three days to take the helmet back to George Johnston and his wife Annie, in Norton, N.B., 70 years after the Second World War vet last saw it outside Berlin in 1945. When he arrived, they both came to the door to see him and the first thing Johnston said was his serial number: 22694. Chiasson looked inside the helmet and realized that was the exact number scratched inside it and that that was the guy he was looking for. He said he felt very happy doing something so nice for someone who risked it all for his country, the CBC News reports.
George Johnson and his lost helmet served for six years in Europe, fighting in England, France, Belgium and Germany during World War Two. He last wore his helmet after the war ended, somewhere outside Berlin, in 1945. Johnston, 93, said he felt like kissing his helmet when he saw it again after so long. “I can’t explain it the way I feel … what it’s done for me,” he said and kept looking at it. He couldn’t believe it was his, until Chiasson showed him the name and the number on it, which he remembers even today with no difficulty. He doesn’t remember when he wrote his name on it, how it disappeared or whether he brought it to Canada or not following the end of the war.
Chiasson said that returning the helmet made him so much happier that now he smiles every day and even his girlfriend said that she’s never seen his eyes shining so bright before.