Augusta Chiwy

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Augusta Chiwy
Augusta Chiwy.png
Born (1921-06-06)6 June 1921[a]
Belgian Congo
Died 23 August 2015(2015-08-23) (aged 94)
Belgium
Nationality Belgian
Occupation Nurse
Known for Serving as a volunteer nurse during the siege of Bastogne
Awards

Augusta Marie Chiwy (6 June 1921[a] – 23 August 2015) was a Belgian nurse who served as a volunteer during the siege of Bastogne. She worked with U.S. Army physician Dr. John Prior and with fellow Belgian nurse Renee Lemaire, treating injured soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge.[3]

Biography[edit]

Chiwy, the daughter of a Belgian veterinarian from Bastogne and his Congolese wife, was born in 1921 in the Belgian Congo. She returned to Belgium at the age of nine. In 1940, aged 19, she went to Leuven to be trained as a nurse.[1][4]

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.[4][5]

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.[4]

After the war Chiwy worked at a hospital treating spinal injuries, married a Belgian soldier and had two children.[6]

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.[4]

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,[7] portrayed by Rebecca Okot.[8]

In July 2015 a documentary film about Chiwy entitled Searching for Augusta: The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne, produced by Martin King and directed by Mike Edwards, won the Emmy Award for Historical Documentary.[9][10]

Death[edit]

Chiwy died on 23 August 2015 near Brussels, Belgium.[2][11]

Awards[edit]

On 24 June 2011, Chiwy was made a Knight in the Order of the Crown. The medal was presented in the name of King Albert II of Belgium by Belgium's Minister of Defence Pieter De Crem.[12] On 12 December 2011, Chiwy was awarded the Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service by the United States Department of the Army. It was presented to her by the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman.[6][13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Some sources state Chiwy's date of birth to be 3 June 1921.[1] Others cite 6 June 1921.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Augusta Chiwy, 'forgotten' African nurse of Battle of the Bulge, dies at 94". The Washington Post. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Augusta Chiwy, Forgotten wartime nurse dies at 94". The New York Times. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Schrijvers, Peter (2005). The Unknown Dead: Civilians in the Battle of the Bulge. University of Kentucky Press. p. 212. ISBN 9780813123523. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d Boyd, Clark (16 December 2011). "Belgian Nurse Honored For WWII Bravery". Public Radio International. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  5. ^ King, Martin (2011). "African Nurse Saved GIs at Battle of Bulge". U.S. Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 2 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Nurse, 93, who saved WWII GIs gets valor award". Marine Corps Times. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "Band of Brothers (TV Mini-Series 2001) – Full Cast & Crew". IMDb.com. 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Crew, Sarah (29 July 2015). "Film The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne wins Emmy Documentary – Historical Award". The Bulletin. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Searching for Augusta: The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne". augustachiwy.com. 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "Augusta Chiwy, 'l'Ange oublié de Bastogne' est décédée" [Augusta Chiwy, 'the forgotten Angel of Bastogne' is dead]. Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (in French). 24 August 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  12. ^ De Crem, Pieter (24 June 2011). "Augusta Chiwy Geriddered" [Augusta Chiwy Knighted]. pieterdecrem.be (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Augusta Chiwy presentation photos". Meet Howard Gutman. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 

External links[edit]