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History buff finds pilot's stolen helmet

HANLEY, Sask. - A history buff who recently bought a Second World War Canadian pilots' helmet from Ebay has learned the artifact was stolen from the home of a Saskatchewan veteran.

Over the last 25 years, Rod Dignean has been buying Canadian war artifacts from the First World War to the Canadian Forces' recent mission in Afghanistan.

He takes the pieces on tour to places like schools and Legion halls in an effort to help people learn about the country's proud military history.

But when he bought the pilots helmet, he found the name L. Duddridge inscribed inside.

A search of the name led Dignean to Lew Duddridge, author of "The Flying Duddridges of Hanley," which recounts the adventures of brothers Lew and Len Duddridge of Hanley, Sask., after they signed on as pilots in the war.

Dignean tracked him down and offered to return the stolen helmet, but once he found out it was to be part of an education display, Duddridge generously let him keep it.

"It's such a privilege to have a piece from a ... war hero," said Dignean.


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