Jim L’Esperance’s mementoes from Germany

Jim L’Esperance became a prisoner of war when HMCS Athabaskan was sunk on April 29, 1944. His son Jim has contributed many times to this blog that pays homage to the sailors who served on that ship.

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Jim sent me these mementoes yesterday with this comment after he read the post about Günther Kramer.

Pierre, I also have some mementoes my dad brought home from the prison camp he was in. I have a German arm band and several German uniform pins as well as his identity tag he wore while he was a prisoner. I also have some German money he brought home. After he escaped they found money laying in ditches which were of no value so he picked some up and brought it back with him.



Jim added this information later.

Pierre some of the medals are from WWI.  I heard some of the guards in the prison camp were soldiers from WWI. I am not sure how he got those but he brought them home with him.

The nazi arm band [it looks like a flag in the pictures] was worn by the Germans. I am not certain how he got that  but there were many dead German soldiers along the roads when they escaped.

He did tell me the money was just lying in ditches and on roads. It was of no value so he picked some up to bring home.

I believe the metal tag was his identification when he was a prisoner of war and interned in the camp.

I do not know much about the pins or crests he had in the little metal box he brought home from the war.

Perhaps some of your readers may know more about these things.

I have all his medals including a medal he was awarded by the Russian government shortly before he passed away in 1988.

I know one of his WWII medals was stolen from him when he was at a reunion in France. He was vey upset over that. He said his name was stamped on the rim of that medal so it could be identified  if it was ever located.


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2 thoughts on “Jim L’Esperance’s mementoes from Germany

  1. I believe the Iron Cross for 1914 is an Iron Cross 2nd Class. The second Iron Cross with the date of 1813 has FW for Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia who issued it. The “W” on the one dated 1914 is for Kaiser Wilhelm. The photo of the two ribbons …. the black and white ribbon is for the Iron Cross. The red and white on I haven’t been able to identify. The medal dated 1918 – 1918 is the German Honour Cross issued to front line veterans – it was established on 13 July 1934 – the “Honour Cross for Participants in the World War 1914/1918”

    The stick pin of a Swastika in a gear cog – is a pin of the DAF – a National Socialist trade union which replaced many work unions after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

    The Eagle with the Swastika stick pin …. I haven’t been able to find a match as of yet

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