Augusta Chiwy

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Augusta Chiwy
Born 1921 (age 92–93)
Belgian Congo
Nationality Belgian
Occupation Nurse
Known for Serving as a volunteer nurse during the siege of Bastogne
Awards Order of the Crown (Belgium)
Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service (USA)

Augusta Chiwy (born 1921) is a retired Belgian nurse who served as a volunteer during the siege of Bastogne. She worked with US Army doctor John "Jack" Prior and fellow Belgian nurse Renee Lemaire, treating injured soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge.[1]

Biography[edit]

Chiwy was the daughter of a Belgian veterinarian from Bastogne and his Congolese wife, and was born in the Belgian Congo. She returned to Belgium at the age of nine. In 1940, when she was 19, she went to Leuven to be trained as a nurse.[2]

On 16 December 1944, the day the Germans launched their offensive, Chiwy returned to her family in Bastogne for Christmas. At that time the town seemed safely in American hands, but within days was surrounded by German troops advancing into Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. Chiwy attended to civilian and military casualties with her uncle, a doctor, until 21 December, when she volunteered to serve as a nurse at the first-aid station of the 20th Armored Infantry Battalion, 10th Armored Division, commanded by Dr. John Prior. Chiwy worked at the aid station in the Rue Neufchateau, and even donned an Army uniform in order to go out into the field to collect the wounded while under fire.[2][3]

On 24 December 1944, the first aid station was hit by a German bomb, killing over 30 wounded men and another volunteer nurse Renee Lemaire. Chiwy was with Prior in an adjoining building and was blown through a wall, but survived unhurt. She continued to assist the American forces until the siege was finally lifted two days later.[2]

After the war Chiwy worked at a hospital treating spinal injuries, married a Belgian soldier and had two children.[4]

She rarely spoke of her experiences after the war, and it was assumed in some historical accounts of the battle that she had died there. British historian Martin King, while researching his book Voices of the Bulge, finally tracked her down in a retirement home near Brussels, hearing her story, and bringing her to public attention.[2]

Stephen Ambrose makes a passing reference to her in his book Band of Brothers, under the name "Anna", and she also briefly appears in the television series based on the book,[5] portrayed by Rebecca Okot.[6]

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schrijvers, Peter (2005). The Unknown Dead: Civilians in the Battle of the Bulge. University of Kentucky Press. p. 212. ISBN 9780813123523. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Boyd, Clark (16 December 2011). "Belgian Nurse Honored For WWII Bravery". Public Radio International. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ King, Martin (2011). "African Nurse Saved GIs at Battle of Bulge". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Nurse, 93, who saved WWII GIs gets valor award". Marine Corps Times. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Beardsley, Steven (12 December 2011). "Army honors WWII nurse for aiding U.S. troops during Battle of the Bulge". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Band of Brothers (TV Mini-Series 2001) - Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  7. ^ De Crem, Pieter (24 June 2011). "Augusta Chiwy Geriddered". pieterdecrem.be (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Augusta Chiwy presentation photos". Meet Howard Gutman. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 

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