A cabin chest that carried the belongings of a World War II sailor all over the world has come into the hands of his granddaughter after she spotted it on an online auction.
More than 70 years after Stanley Jervis left on a Royal New Zealand Navy ship bound for Singapore, the Distinguished Service Cross recipient's trunk is now with Wellingtonian Brigid Borlase.
Lieutenant Jervis, who died 10 years ago, "absolutely loved the sea" and it was special to have a memento from his navy days back in the family, she said.
"My mother was really thrilled to see it again, and to see it was coming home."
Ms Borlase had vague memories of the chest from her grandparents' house, but the family believed it was somehow sold off with their other possessions when they both died.
It was by chance she stumbled on it in the antique section on Trade Me.
"The name on the top caught my eye. It was a total surprise. It's had a bit of an amazing trip."
She bought it for $850.
Antique restorer Nic Young found the battered chest at Trash Palace, in Porirua.
He said he "grabbed it" for $15, then began to clean it. "It was a real mess when I got it."
When crudely applied green paint scraped off, he found Lieutenant Jervis' initials and navy details inscribed.
A search on the internet revealed the man's illustrious naval career, including being part of the Normandy landings and rescuing troops from Crete.
"I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what have I come across?' "
Four years later and after trying unsuccessfully to sell it on Trade Me twice, he was happy to see the chest bought for $850.
When Ms Borlase called to say she was the sailor's granddaughter, he almost fainted. "It will probably go down in the top 10 experiences I've ever had in my life."
After, of course, his marriage and seeing his baby born, he said.