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