Renee Bernadette Emilie Lemaire|
April 10, 1914
December 24, 1944 (aged 30)|
Renee Lemaire was a Belgian nurse who volunteered her service at an American military aid station during the Siege of Bastogne in December 1944. She was killed during a German air raid on Christmas Eve in 1944.
Renee Bernadette Emilie Lemaire was born on 10 April 1914 in Bastogne to Gustave Lemaire and Bertha Gallee. Her parents owned a hardware store in Bastogne. She had two sisters, Gisèle and Marguerite. Lemaire had been a nurse in Brussels during the war.
World War II
In December 1944, Renee Lemaire returned to Bastogne to visit her parents, and was trapped when the Germans launched its Ardennes offensive on December 16, 1944. Along with her friend & nurse Augusta Chiwy, she volunteered at an aid station for the American 20th Armored Infantry Battalion on December 21, 1944. In a commendation request from Battalion Surgeon Dr. Jack T. Prior, Lemaire was described as "cheerfully accepted the Herculean task and worked without adequate rest or food...", that she "changed dressings, fed patients unable to feed themselves, gave out medications, bathed and made the patients more comfortable...", and "her very presence among those wounded men seem to be an inspiration to those whose morale had declined from prolonged suffering."
On December 24, 1944, around 8:30PM, Germans bombed the building where the aid station was located. According to a column in a Belgian newspaper, the aid station in the basement of the Sarma Store on rue de Neufchate was demolished. Lemaire managed to evacuate six soldiers from the burning building, and died while she attempted to save a seventh wounded. Dr. Prior recovered her remains, and brought it back to her parents wrapped in a white parachute.
Band of Brothers
In "Bastogne'", a Belgian nurse named Renee (portrayed by Lucie Jeanne) and a Congolese nurse named Anna (portrayed by Rebecca Okot) were shown to work tirelessly with American medics, including Eugene Roe, to help wounded soldiers. Historical accounts of Lemaire do not mention Roe.
- Jans, Reg. "'The Angel of Bastogne'". Reg Jans. http://www.regjans.com/?page_id=639. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- Addor, Don (2004). Noville Outpost of Bastogne - My Last Battle. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-1-4120-3400-5.
- AP (2011). "U.S. Honors Belgian Nurse for Valor in World War II". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/world/europe/us-honors-belgian-nurse-for-heroism-in-world-war-ii.html. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- The Angel of Bastogne Reg Jans Battle of the Bulge Battlefield Guide
- "U.S. Honors Belgian Nurse for Valor in World War II" Associated Press Article in New York Times about Augusta Chiwy, Renee Lamaire's nursing colleague who survived the war.
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