Leignon - the fight of Milo Huempfner

Leignon Travel Blog

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Plaque to Pfc Milo Huempfner awarded of the Distinguished Service Cross for action at Leignon (Belgium) on December 23, 1944.

On the wall outside the village church there was a metal plaque telling the story of Milo Huempfner, a soldier who served as a private in the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion of the WWII who had endured a tremendous effort to fight back the Germans in this city. On 23-24 January 1944, Private Milo Huempfner found himself separated from his unit and all alone near the village of Leignon, and facing a major thrust of the German Army in the Ardenne region.

Milos C. Huempfner earned the reputation of ‘One Man Army’ for his attacks against an armoured Nazi column during the Battle of the Bulge. Separated from his unit, Huempfner hid in the village and waged a one-man guerrilla war behind enemy lines, destroying armoured vehicles, Nazi machine gun and artillery emplacements and warning Allied units of impending ambushes.

Milo Huempfner, a soldier who served as a private in the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion of the WWII who earned the reputation of ‘One Man Army’ for his attacks against an armoured Nazi column during the Battle of the Bulge.
Private Huempfner lived to tell the tale for his extraordinary heroism that day; he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. If you are as intrigued of this story as was you can read about on http://usampa.org/Our_Heroes/551st/Huempfner/Huempfner.htm

The reason to why I stopped in this village was that I was driving next to Leignon when I saw this beautiful castle and I just had to take a closer look at it. The plans of this castle, popularly known as the “Le Château des milles fenêtres (castle with thousend windows)” were done by Auguste Van Assche . It was built between 1895 and 1900 as country house for the notary Isidore Eggermont (1844 - 1923) who was from Ghent.

Today the castle is private property of the Brotherhood Albert Karaziwan : a dairy factory with a riding school and stables : recreation (ateliers, stages) of the ATB Topvakanties.

Le Château des milles fenêtres (castle with thousend windows)
When the work started to build this castle at the end of the 19th century, the castle had still its look from the 17th and 18th century with chalked bricks and bluestone. The main part of the habitation part, with two and half stores, had at the west side a square tower of three and half stores. The complete building used to be the base for the new castle, that has a L- form at this moment.

Fascinated by the Flemish-gothic influences of the time, Eggermont Van Assche had ordered to cover the castle completely with rubbles (limestone). He ordered to heighten up the old tower, so that at a height of thirty meters you can go to a terrace, with a splendid view. The adjacent octagonal tower ends at 45 meters height.

The castle possesses 52 rooms.

What a wonderful gate
The side-aisle that looks upon the village contains the service entrances, the kitchens and several side buildings. The principal wanted to obtain so with the castle a beautiful and full of fantasy eye-catcher with Crenellation, gables, turrets... and a wall walk that goes round the building. The ground floor of the castle has 850 m², and the castle is located on a domain of around 60 ha. The castle is build with reference to che calendar. It has 365 windows ( 365 days), 4 towers ( 4 seizons), 52 rooms (52 weeks) and 12 stairs (12 months).

At one side of the lower part of the domain there are  a farm and dairy factory, and at the other side where there used to be a splendid gentry farm, there is now a manage with stables and riding fields. The manage building and the concierge building are in the hands of AEP (aide des enfants prisioner).

Le Château des milles fenêtres (castle with thousend windows)
The NMBS has given those buildings to the AEP, who are still organizing youth camps there via their Flemish branch Top vakantie. During school holidays, horse riding camps are organized there for children between 6 and 18 years old.

After the death of Mrs Eggermont in 1953, the NMBS bought a part of the domain and put the castle and annexes at the disposition of the pensioners. The 9th June 1977 the annexes of the castle were sold to the society of the children of deported. The castle itself was still in hand for some time of the Brabant Mutuality’s for Albert Karaziwan, a Georgian businessman who bought the castle with 11 ha land in 1989. Since 14 October 1992 parts of the castle, with name the facade, de ground floor, the stair case, the chapel and the square tower stood under protection of monuments.

Sunflower300 says:
Great story about Milo Huempfner, thank you for sharing.
Posted on: Apr 19, 2008
jennjeff1 says:
Excellent write-up! ~Jeff
Posted on: Apr 19, 2008
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Plaque to Pfc Milo Huempfner award…
Plaque to Pfc Milo Huempfner awar…
Milo Huempfner, a soldier who serv…
Milo Huempfner, a soldier who ser…
Le Château des milles fenêtres (…
Le Château des milles fenêtres …
What a wonderful gate
What a wonderful gate
Le Château des milles fenêtres (…
Le Château des milles fenêtres …
Yet another beautiful stone house …
Yet another beautiful stone house…
Spring is somewhere just around th…
Spring is somewhere just around t…
Beautiful stone work on this house
Beautiful stone work on this house
The village church of Leignon
The village church of Leignon
The amazing fight of Mile Huempfne…
The amazing fight of Mile Huempfn…
Town square - or Grand Place of Le…
Town square - or Grand Place of L…
Milo Huempfner
Milo Huempfner
Leignon
photo by: Chokk