In 1938, Major Hugh Peel (defendant) was granted ownership of a house. There is no indication that Peel ever lived in the house. In 1940, Lance-Corporal Hannah (plaintiff) lived in the house while it was requisitioned for the quartering of soldiers. While there, Hannah found a brooch embedded in a windowsill. Hannah reported his find to the police, who held the brooch for two years. When no owner was found, the police gave the brooch to Peel, who sold it for 66£ in 1942. (The brooch was subsequently resold by the jeweler for 88£). In 1943, Hannah sued for return of the brooch or for its value.