The Karl (Charles) Lemaire Story (see Danny S. Parker site)
Remarque: Le récit est très bien documenté et très intéressant cependant certains propos, ou certaines explications, sont à fortement nuancer.
Meanwhile the local priest from Ondenval took off pedaling like mad towards St. Vith. "I always remember his cassock flapping in the wind." She stood there while the tank roared amazed at the darkened faces of the soldiers in the German tank. They were blacked with camouflage paint. Tank after tank and after tank passed. One stopped outside and one got out in a black tanker's uniform.
Karl asked Yvonne if she knew anything about his girlfriend, Otti Riegel.
On the morning of December 17th, Nurse Lt. Mabel Jessop knew that trouble was brewing at the front. Although, their our commanding officer was in the dark, they had the news from shaken first hand witnesses—battle casualties. "We eagerly questioned the men from the 2nd Division and 99th Division that were brought in and they were in a state of acute jitters."9
Ruth Nance Elbrader was a nurse with the 3rd Platoon which was located in a two story building in Dom Butgenbach.
On the 17th, "When I awakened I could hear small arms fire and it seemed close by." She was dismayed to see a lot of American troops moving away to the west. And worst of all, it seemed disorderly.10
At one PM the 47th was ordered to evacuate to Malmedy. "I never saw such a quick job of loading," Jessop remembered. Soon the ambulance convoy of doctors, nurses and equipment was motoring along the Belgian countryside.
They pointed their rifles at Mabel. "Your hospital is under arrest!" barked the soldier in the American uniform, "Everybody line up in the yard!" The nurses and assistants walked out into the yard while the Lemaire moving down the line telling everybody to surrender arms and personal equipment. Jessop was amused to see Lemaire end up with a dandy collection of scissors, scalpels and fountain pens.
Vuadeninnas-Waimes, 888-1988, ASBL 1100e anniversaire de Waimes, pp157.
A number of Divisions were covering an overstretched main line of resistance in forest-covered hills and valleys…
On Saturday, 16 December 1944, the 44th Evac’s greatest adventure began with the shelling of Malmedy by a heavy German railway gun, as early as 0545 a.m. The obvious purpose was to disrupt communications and traffic but the engineers soon had the roads open again.
One shell however exploded at the door of a Belgian Catholic church, perhaps 50 yards from the Hospital, where a number of civilians were killed or wounded as they emerged from morning Mass. Altogether 11 civilians were killed and 3 Americans (1 Captain and 1 Enlisted Man from a nearby medical unit, and another GI from the Replacement Depot).
The wounded civilians were immediately admitted to the Hospital where, despite every possible attention, a considerable number later died from wounds.
The 44th was unaware that anything unusual was happening until the next day – during the night of 16 – 17 December, the XO was informed that German parachutists were being dropped in the area between Eupen and Malmédy.
Tension then mounted steadily until the Motor Pool was ordered around noon of Sunday, 17 December, to evacuate a Platoon of a Field Hospital some distance in advance of us at Waimes, which was right in the path of the advancing enemy.
Then a small German unit suddenly appeared, captured the drivers, along with the remaining 47th Field Hospital personnel, and were about to drive them off when an American half-track put in its appearance and quickly drove the Germans from the scene.
The men had been prisoners for perhaps 45 minutes and were grateful for a timely rescue! Not until much later was the fate of Don Pickard discovered and for a period of perhaps a month he was reported as “missing in action”. Some distance out of Malmedy and enroute to Waimes, he evidently came under enemy artillery fire, perhaps he got wounded or perhaps he turned off the main road to avoid it, just off a small forest road southeast of Malmedy his body was found, shot through the chest. Pfc Joe Chavez was also reported missing for several weeks but later turned up.
The unit then reassembled at Spa that same night. Other medical units, such as the 67th Evacuation Hospital, the 618th Medical Clearing Company, and the 2d Advance Section, 1st Medical Depot Company hastily retreated to Spa.
The night of 18 December, under cover of darkness, another rear movement was made, largely in the unit’s recaptured motor vehicles to Huy. Bedding rolls and sleeping bags were spread on benches and floors of the Couvent Ste-Marie and the unit rested.