US Navy veteran recovers wallet lost 53 years ago in Antarctica

Paul Grisham had been stationed as a weather forecaster in Antarctica from October 1967 to November 1968.
Paul Grisham had been stationed as a weather forecaster in Antarctica from October 1967 to November 1968.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A meteorologist in the US Navy was pleasantly surprised to recover a wallet he had lost - 53 years ago in Antarctica.

Paul Grisham, 91, did not even remember losing the billfold when friendly strangers contacted him to return it via mail, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this week.

The lucky discovery was made during the 2014 demolition of the scientific base on Ross Island, where Grisham had been stationed as a weather forecaster from October 1967 to November 1968.

The sailor's wallet was hidden behind a locker and contained, among other things: his Navy identity card, his driver's licence, a reference card for what to do in case of a biological or chemical weapons attack... and a ration card for beer.

Grisham said he was "blown away" that so many people had gone to great lengths to reunite the wallet with its owner.

It took a long line of Good Samaritans to return the wallet to him.

The head of a research group in Antarctica contacted one of his former employees, who previously had successfully reunited a Navy ID bracelet - spotted for sale in a store - with its rightful owner.

Along with his daughter, they appealed to a foundation for veterans, who in turn contacted the Naval Weather Service Association, of which Grisham had been a member.

The wallet finally arrived last Saturday in good condition at Grisham's home in San Carlos, northern California.