Augusta Chiwy (Credits: U.S. Embassy of Belgium)

Angel of Bastogne, Augusta Chiwy, has passed away

Lady Augusta Chiwy, known as the ‘Angel of Bastogne’, has sadly passed away this Sunday August 23, 2015 at the age of 94. Chiwy was a Belgian nurse who saved hundreds of Soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge, as she treated them at the 10th Armored Division’s aid station and even out on the battlefield.

On 16 December 1944, she set to work as a nurse by assisting both civilian and military wounded wherever she found them. These efforts didn’t go unnoticed. GIs from the 10th Armored Division were on the lookout for medical supplies and personnel to assist with their Aid Station on the Rue Neufchateau.

When on December 24 – after a day earlier the skies above Bastogne had cleared and C-47s had dropped desperately needed supplies -, Christmas Eve, those clear skies gave the German Luftwaffe a chance to send out a few of their remaining bomber squadrons over the city to cause even further death and destruction. A 500-pound bomb fell directly on the 20th AIB Aid Station, instantly killing 30 wounded U.S. Soldiers along with nurse Renee Lemaire. Chiwy was in the adjacent house with Dr. Prior and a lieutenant when the bomb hit. She was blown clean through a wall, but miraculously survived unscathed.

On the following day, the remaining wounded were taken to the 101st headquarters at the Heintz Barracks where Chiwy worked until they were all evacuated when Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army arrived Dec. 26.

She was awarded the Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service from the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman and in June 2011, she received Belgium’s highest honor, the “Knights Order of the Crown,” the reason why she is addressed as Lady Augusta Chiwy.

Stephen Ambrose made a reference to her in his book Band of Brothers, under the name “Anna”, and she also briefly appears in the television series “Band of Brothers“.

The documentary film about Chiwy, produced by Martin King – the man who tracked her down and made it possible for her to be finally recognized – and directed by Mike Edwards, entitled Searching for Augusta: The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne won the Emmy Award for Historical Documentary in July 2015.