Chris Hunter was sipping a cup of tea, celebrating the feast of Eid with a group of people he had just met.
It sounds like a rather jolly get-together – and probably would have been, were it not for the fact that this was August 2011, and he was sitting with rebel soldiers surrounded by the bullet-ridden walls of Gaddhafi’s compound in Tripoli.
Mr Hunter, a bomb-disposal expert, had left his distinguished military career in 2007, writing a book, Eight Lives Down, about his four-months in Iraq and advising – and inspiring part of – the Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker.
He became a hostile environment security adviser, helping aid organisations and news teams do their work in some of the most inhospitable environments in the world.
In Tripoli, he was accompanying a news team which had been filming snipers shooting from the compound, and the rebel soldiers gave them a guided tour, explaining how the battle was evolving.
It would eventually lead to Gaddafi’s killing just two months later.
As they all sat down together, Mr Hunter noticed a pile of furniture and clothing in the corner of the courtyard – and was told it had been salvaged from the compound. As a token of gratitude for getting their story across, one of the soldiers pulled a silk robe from the pile and gave it to him.
It was only later, when he researched it and saw the former dictator wearing it in photos with various world leaders that he realised its uniqueness.
But what do you do with the robe of a deposed tyrant?
It sat in his wardrobe for six years, until he decided to see whether it could be sold, with part of the proceeds going to one of the many charities he has helped over the years: Help for Heroes, Veterans in Action, Tickets for Troops, Walking With The Wounded, Combat Stress, The British Forces Foundation, Global Enduro and BLESMA, for which he trained to run the 2009 London Marathon wearing a complete bomb-disposal suit.
Choosing the right auction house was not intuitive, but he learned that Obelisk in Malta a few years ago sold the saddle Gaddafi gave to former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff and clearly knew who this item might interest.
The former soldier approached the owner, Pierre Grech Pillow, and the auction will be held on October 28.
Mr Hunter, who still works as a security adviser, has no idea what it is worth but hopes it will find the right home.