This story is in recognition of Dutch citizens who helped the Allies in WWII.
The United States (US) Army 24th Evacuation Hospital landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, on June 12, 1944, six days after D-Day. The unit followed Allied military operations through France, Belgium, and then to Holland in support of Operation Market Garden in September of 1944.
From October 28 to December 2, 1944, the 24th Evacuation Hospital occupied the Saint Maarten Kliniek (Clinic) in Nijmegen, Holland. This was their first hospital set up in an already existing building. Prior to that the unit worked in a tent hospital setting. The Kliniek had been used by the Germans when they occupied Holland.
The Saint Maarten Kliniek is where this story takes place.
In a 2011 oral history interview 24th Evacuation Hospital nurse Lieutenant Josephine Pescatore Reaves tells of meeting Sister Emeldine and other nuns who cared for patients at the Kliniek.
Josephine shared a story in her interview about a US Army 101st Airborne Division soldier who was dying. His name was John Kublinski. She, Sister Emeldine, and a Catholic priest endangered their lives to grant John’s last request.
If the families of those lost in WWII had known that their loved ones did not die alone but were in the hands of caring people, it may have offered them some solace in their grief.
John Kublinski and Nick Patino were buried in US Temporary Cemetery 4655 at Molenhoek, Holland. Their bodies were repatriated to the US after WWII ended.
Unfortunately I could not find further information about Sister Emeldine. She did survive WWII as is attested by the 1946 photograph of her above.
Efforts have been unsuccessful in trying to locate the three sons of John Kublinski to share this remembrance of their father.
On November 19, 1944, a German shell hit the hospital. US Army physician Guy A. Myers and nurse First Lieutenant Katherine L. Foster were seriously wounded.
The photographs in this story are used with the permission of Josephine Pescatore Reaves. The oral history video is used with the permission of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.
A valuable website with extensive information on many of the US medical support units in WWII is WW2 US Medical Research Centre.
There are three other stories on this website about the US Army 24th Evacuation Hospital. The stories are WWII Camp Shanks, New York: And a Visit by Archbishop Spellman, An Afternoon in Paris after Liberation: And a Letter from a Parisian Lady, and The Medics: Those Who Took Care of the Wounded and the Dying in WWII .