This Nova Scotia heirloom was made from the windshield of German warplane

As the night grew darker and the lights extinguished for yet another air raid, Isaac Bezanson turned his eyes to the blackness of the sky.

Overhead, he spotted a German warplane and minutes later, the great machine fell from the air, the mass of sparking metal illuminating the night.

It was the Battle of Britain and Bezanson, a member of the Home Guard and a spotter, went to find the remnants of the plane.

And what the soldier from Greenwood, N.S., found has been passed down in his family for nearly 80 years.

Submitted by James McLeod

"He took a piece of the windshield and made a heart-shaped necklace out of it," his grandson James McLeod says. "We also have a piece of the parachute [he found from that crash] and a piece of aluminum foil, because the Germans would drop these bundles of pieces of aluminum foil to scramble the radar."

The first person to receive the necklace was Daisy Henderson, the Scotswoman Bezanson met during his service, who he would marry and bring back with him to Nova Scotia as a war bride.

It's unclear exactly how the serviceman fashioned the necklace during wartime, but his grandson understands why it made sense to repurpose the windshield.

"If you're going to make jewelry, then the windshield would be a good thing to use … because it's clear and it was gemstone-grade," he said. "The stuff that they used in the windshield glass would have been pretty high quality; it might have quartz, because it had to take extreme heat."

Submitted by James McLeod

McLeod, who lives in the Halifax area, never met his grandfather, which gives the heart-shaped necklace and the other heirlooms and decorations from his military career an almost mythic quality, he says.

Bezanson was born in 1898.

He lied about his age so he could sign up to serve with the 85th Highlanders, a Cape Breton battalion, during the First World War.

He wore a kilt in the trenches, survived a bullet wound and the battles of Ypres, Arras, Amiens and Vimy Ridge. When he returned home, he joined the Canadian Forestry Corps, which provided timber to be used during wartime.

He wouldn't meet his wife until he served in the Second World War.

Submitted by James McLeod

A sense of duty is what compelled him to return overseas, something that's evident in what he left behind for his family, McLeod says.

McLeod says he may one day mount the heart-shaped necklace, which is stored alongside his grandfather's medals and a certificate of thanks for service from King George V and the sporran from his uniform with the Highlanders.

"I don't have a lot from my grandfather and I never knew him," he says. "So it's nice to have these things and this part of him."

Do you have any family heirlooms that come with a great story? We'd love to hear about them. Send photos and details to laura.fraser@cbc.ca