On Wednesday, the Royal 22nd Regiment Museum in Quebec City added an unassuming new item to its permanent collection: a Canadian soldier’s WW II backpack that was lost during the Italian campaign.
What makes the backpack so special is the story behind its resurfacing.
It was found by a collector in Italy who reached out to CBC Montreal for help finding its true owner.
CBC got to work, contacting half a dozen government agencies and military historians. Library and Archives Canada identified the backpack as belonging to Paul-Étienne Saint-Laurent, who was a member of the Royal 22nd Regiment.
His daughter Francine Saint-Laurent, who lives in Montreal, was thrilled by the discovery and decided to donate it to the museum.
“My only regret is that my father isn’t here,” said Saint-Laurent at the event to mark the occasion in Quebec City, Wednesday.
“I knew it was something very precious to my father.”
Saint-Laurent said she wanted to donate the backpack to the museum so that it would be preserved as a part of history.
Dany Hamel, director and curator at the museum, said they were equally excited to follow the story of the backpack’s journey home.
“It was a really meaningful object that we’re adding to the Italy section,” he said.
The permanent exhibit at the museum is on the 100-year history of the Royal 22nd Regiment.
The Royal 22nd Regiment Museum at the Citadelle of Quebec is open to the public daily all year round from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission for adults is $16, for those 11-17 is $6, and children under 10 enter free.