Jim L’Esperance’s mementoes from Germany

Editor’s notes

There is a wonderful story unfolding on the French version of this blog.

The niece of another sailor has contacted me once again after she last posted comments in 2013 on that blog about her uncle Gérard Tourangeau.

I am now sharing Jim L’Esperance story with her on that blog. She has her uncle’s few mementoes. She wanted to give some away to a museum. I told her to keep them in the family as precious mementoes to her uncle’s sacrifice for his country.

Museums have enough artefacts in boxes stored in warehouses…

This being off my chest, here a reposting of something I wrote about Jim L’Esperance’s artefacts his son Jim had shared with me…

Lest We Forget


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

    1. As a matter of fact, all this was given by guards to Jim L’Esperance when he was a prisoner…including the medals.
      That’s what his son Jim told me his father had told him.
      Since Jim L’Esperance was an honest and respected man, if he told that to his son then we must believe he told the truth.

      1. It’s surprising they just gave them away unless they wanted to get rid of ‘evidence’. Could they have been used by the Germans as a bargaining tool perhaps? He sounds like a really good man.

      2. As I said I am not sure anymore if Jim had told me that story. I am sure about the old WWI guards who were nicer to prisoners.

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