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Most people expect to find treasure buried underground in some kind of a wooden chest, but a Nova Scotia man found his in a more unlikely place: a secondhand bag of art supplies.

Howard Mannett had purchased the bag at a yard sale expecting nothing out of the ordinary, but when he got home he realized it contained a lot more than just paint and brushes. Inside were envelopes detailing the story of James Gordon Austin, a regimental sergeant major with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles who served during WWII. The articles inside the envelopes cover almost all of his service, from his landing in Normandy on D-Day to his efforts to liberate the rest of Europe.

Needless to say, this guy had some serious grit.

“He was quite a person. Very brave for what he accomplished,” Mannett said. “I think it’s something he should be recognized for.”

The envelopes included various citations for awards the soldier received. Once of which was the Military Cross, a medal reserved for only the bravest of the brave.

“By reason of his outstanding qualities of leadership, energy, disregards for personal safety and cool courage, Regimental Sergeant Major Austin has at all times been an inspiring example to both the officers and men of his battalion,” the citation reads.

Some of Austin’s accomplishments include taking command of a company whose officer had been killed, and rushing into a battle area repeatedly to pull out injured soldiers.

Knowing how significant these documents are, Mannett is now looking to reunite them with Austin’s family. There are some clues contained in the envelopes that help identify him (you can check them out for yourself in the video above), but so far, he still hasn’t found them.

If you think you know the relatives of James Gordon Austin, you’re asked to contact Atlanticnews@bellmedia.ca.