New Brunswick

WWII soldier wills helmet to collector who returned it to him

A military antiques collector who turned over a Second World War helmet to the soldier who wore it in battle now has that helmet once again.

George Johnston died one year after being reunited with the helmet he wore on Europe's battlefields

The family of George Johnston, above, returned the Second World War veteran's helmet to collector Jordan Chiasson after Johnston died last month. (Jessica Doria-Brown / CBC)

A military antiques collector who turned over a Second World War helmet to the soldier who wore it in battle now has that helmet once again.

The family of veteran George Johnston returned the helmet to collector Jordan Chiasson after Johnson died last month.

"I was like, well, no, you can keep in the family," said Chiasson.

"But apparently it was one of his wishes that I would get the helmet back, because he knew I would take care of it and treasure it and honour it."

The story linking Chiasson and Johnston began in August 2013, when Chiasson bought an old military helmet in an army surplus store in Moncton for $30.

War memorabilia collector Jordan Chiasson reunited George Johnston with his helmet last year. (CBC)
Some months later, Chiasson discovered the name GW Johnston and a number scratched into the inside of the helmet.

"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," Chiasson said at the the time.

So he set out to find the helmet's owner through the Royal Canadian Legion Command in Saint John and the Canadian War Museum.

His search led him to Pte. George Johnston, a member of the North Shore Regiment who spent six years wearing the helmet on the battlefields of Europe, serving in England, France, Belgium and Germany during the Second World War.

When Chiasson went to Johnston's home in Norton, N.B., to return the helmet, the first words out of the 93-year-old veteran's mouth were "22694" — the serial number that was written inside the helmet.

Chiasson and Johnston kept in touch after meeting for the first time, and Chiasson went to Johnston's funeral last month.

"I have a picture of him in the war and a picture of him and myself holding the helmet," says Chiasson.

"So I'm going to have that in a nice display box and I'm going to display that as part of my collection forever."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now