AN incredible piece of maritime history has returned to Harwich thanks to an eagle eyed expert.

Lifeboat museum curator Ken Brand spotted the order of service used at the formal inauguration of Harwich’s original lifeboat station whilst browsing online auction website eBay.

The listing made no mention to Harwich, but Mr Brand recognised the date of Thursday September 7 1876.

He was the highest bidder with the princely sum of £1.99, and a copy will now be displayed in the Harwich Society’s Lifeboat Museum on Wellington Road, which used to be the station.

“It is fantastic and I never thought I would see the day something like this was back in Harwich,” said Mr Brand, who has been museum curator for four years and spent 25 years serving on the lifeboat.

“It did not say anything about Harwich on the lot, but I saw the date which is ingrained in my mind and thought surely there could not have been two ceremonies on the exact same day."