Soldier's money returns home 75 years after his death

May 27, 2019 07:15 PM

Private John "Jack" Hemstreet grew up in Scotia, but was killed in action while serving in World War II. Hemstreet survived D-Day but died in Germany four months later.

"His mother, from what I'm told, never believed he was killed. She left the backdoor of her house open which is down in Scotia for her entire life, hoping that he would come in," said Brendan Gibbons.


Gibbons' grandfather was Jack's first cousin. Gibbons first became interested in his family's military history after finding letters and memorabilia in a drawer in the attic when he was a child.

"My grandfather and I spent, I mean, 15 years basically searching, scouring all over the globe to find anything of Jack's," said Gibbons.

The two always came up empty-handed. However, on Monday, at a Memorial Day Ceremony in Schenectady County, that changed.

Robert Miller, an Army veteran who now lives in Clifton Park, found a WWII U.S. Allies Liberation 10 francs DIX Liberation Currency on eBay last year. The currency was signed by Private John Hemstreet and dated June 6, 1944. D-Day.

"I had no idea when I purchased this that the veteran Jack Hemstreet was from Scotia, New York. I realized that, I was like wow, this is, this is fate," said Miller.

Miller says he bought the currency from someone who found it inside a purse at a thrift store. Just how it made its way from Germany back to the U.S. is a mystery, but for Jack's family, it is a little bit of peace 75 years after his death.

"This is going to go on the wall and never come down and just be wherever I'm at. This is going with me," said Gibbons.


Jacquie Slater

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