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Reddit restores 87-year-old grandpa's damaged Navy photo

A cherished family heirloom gets a new lease on life after Reddit users kick in to restore a heavily damaged photo belonging to an 87-year-old Royal Navy veteran.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Restored Navy photo before and after
Redditor unhi restored the original photo. Steven Withey/unhi

Reddit was recently taken to task for its role in misidentifying suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. While that incident resulted in an official apology, we also often get reminders that Reddit can be a force for very good things.

One of the those good things just happened. It involves an 87-year-old Royal Navy veteran, a damaged photo, and his Redditor grandson.

Steven Withey is rightfully proud of his grandfather, who was a submarine sonar and radar operator with the British Royal Navy during World War II. Withey was helping set up new PC when his grandfather showed him a photo of himself in uniform as a young man. It was seriously cracked and creased, and his grandfather wondered if it could be touched up a little.

Withey did what any self-respecting Redditor would do, and posted a picture help request on Reddit. Many Redditors pitched in with efforts to remove the creases and polish up the photo.

While seven Redditors all took a stab at it, Redditor unhi (real name Dave Humphreys) really impressed by spending over 3 hours cleaning up the photo, correcting distortion, evening out the contrast, and even restoring some hair had been cropped off. The result looks just about as good as new.

To top it off, Withey posted a video of himself showing all the retouched photos to his appreciative and impressed grandfather. It is pretty delightful to think about strangers on the Internet stepping up to save an important piece of family history. "Thanks to everyone involved, you truly made an old sailor very happy!" wrote Withey.