By Christophe Morel, USAG Benelux Public AffairsSeptember 1, 2017
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- The U.S. Army Garrison Benelux Religious Services Office rang the bells in front of the chapel August 25 in honor of the 75th anniversary of Belgian Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph Daumerie's death.
Before the bell-ringing, Army Maj. Kevin Daul, deputy garrison chaplain, spoke about Daumerie's life. "He was a director of the Civil Air Traffic Command and Belgian Air Force Reserve. He was born in Brugelette in 1888," Daul explained.
Daumerie received his wings on September 26, 1913. At the early stages of World War I, his plane was shot down over enemy territory, and he was taken prisoner. Because of his injuries, he was transferred to Switzerland, where he stayed until the end of the war.
Daumerie's resistance movement was also a part of Daul's speech. When World War II started, Daumerie was again in the heat of the fight. In August 1940, being a member of one of the Belgian underground movements, he established a military intelligence network. He also organized escape routes for British and, later, Belgian servicemen.
On May 16, 1941, Daumerie was caught by the German Abwehr. In spite of the torture he endured at the hands of his aggressors, he remained resolute and did not reveal any additional information. Consequently, his capture did not result in any other arrests.
He was executed August 26, 1942, in Berlin, Germany. He was posthumously promoted to Captain in the Intelligence and Action Services. This title has been awarded to only 190 people, of whom a quarter earned the honor posthumously.
"Let's think about his bravery, let's think about what he has committed as we ring the bells," Daul said.
Army Staff Sgt. Reginald Ross, garrison chaplain NCOIC, was the first bell-ringer. Daul and three garrison employees also rang the bells together for one full minute.