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  • Jonathan Walford

Message in a Sweater


Jim Alexander from Hespeler, Ontario was a Corporal with the Li­ncoln and Wel­land Re­gi­ment. In March 1945 he was in Veen, Ger­many when he was or­dered back to En­gland to be decorated for bravery.


Upon ar­riv­ing in cold, rainy Al­dershot, Alexander went to a Red Cross Centre where he picked out a khaki, hand cable-knit wool sweat­er with a zipper closure. After re­ceiv­ing his medal, Alexander packed the sweat­er away in his kit and rejoined his regiment.


After he returned home in Janua­ry, 1946, his mother was sorting through his clot­hes for laundry when she discovered the sweater. She immediately recognized it as one she had knitted herself. She proved it by snipping the seam between the double collar to reveal a two dollar bill with a note in her hand writing requesting the recipient to write her to let her know how he was doing.


It was common practice for women who knitted sweaters for troops overseas to include money and notes in the collars, but it was pure coincidence that Alexander had picked that particular sweater and never checked to see what was inside the collar.


And yes, I checked... I tracked down Jim Alexander's daughter, Becky. She responded to my email: "Yes, I am the daughter of Jim Alexander MM who served 1943-46. The story is true... I can tell you that it was a beige colour, cable knit, with a rolled collar and zipper. Unfortunately there is no sweater. No one knows what happened to it." (I was angling to get it for the museum...)


Image at right: Jim Alexander c. 1946

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