|Madingley Road A1303|
South Cambridgeshire District
Postal Code: CB3 7PH
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Cambridge American Cemetery is one of fourteen permanent military cemetery memorials established on foreign soil by the American Battle Monuments Commission to honor the dead and missing in action of World War II. It covers 30.5 acres and was established as a temporary military cemetery in 1943 on land donated by the University of Cambridge. The site was later selected as the only permanent American World War II military cemetery in the British Isles and was dedicated on July 16, 1956. There are 3812 interments of American servicemen and women, a great number of whom were crew members of British-based American aircraft. Most of the remainder died in the invasions of North Africa and France, in the training areas of the United Kingdom -including nearly 500 soldiers and sailors who died in Operation Tiger off Slapton Sands, Devon, April 28, 1944-and in the waters of the Atlantic.
The dead commemorated in the cemetery came from every State in the Union, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Some also entered the services from the Canal Zone, Canada, Chile, Denmark, England, Greece, Holland, Malta, Norway, Panama, Portugal and Scotland. There are also 32 civilians from WWII interred here, such as American Red Cross, War Correspondent, etc.
The 3812 headstones comprise 3782 Latin Crosses, [including 24 unidentified - inscribed "Here lies in Honored Glory a Comrade in Arms known but to God",] and 80 Stars of David.The markers are of the finest Italian marble and remain in pristine condition after more than 60 years and none have needed any re-alignment in that time. Each headstone is hand-washed three times each week.
The Portland stone Memorial Wall containing the Tablets of the Missing is 427 feet long and just under 12 feet tall. On this wall, running from the entrance to the Memorial chapel, are inscribed the names of 5127 Americans who were either Missing in Action or Buried at Sea.The grave markers show the date of death, but the Tablets of the Missing do not, because without confirmed information to the contrary, the date of death of those who are listed as missing in action, lost or buried at sea in WWII is a presumed date of death established by a military review board, usually as a year and a day from that which the individual was placed in missing status.The incident date and the presumed date of death are then not the same.
The listing of the names is not entirely alphabetical because there are separate sections as follows:
United States Army and Army Air Forces [in WWII, the Air Forces were part of the Army]
United States Navy
United States Coast Guard
United States Marine Corps
Most of these died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of Northwest Europe during World War II. As at March 2011, one can find 17 "rosettes" beside certain names on the memorial wall-these mark the fact that since the names of those missing were inscribed, their remains were subsequently found and identified and given a proper burial with military honours in the United States of America. On the following pages, these names are now shown as 'memorial site' as they now have a place elsewhere on Find A Grave. For further information, consult the American Battle Monuments Commission. Cambridge American Cemetery contains 18 "Commonwealth" burials of the Second World War, almost all of them American citizens who died while serving with the RAF Ferry Command or Air Transport Auxiliary, but three were Canadian nationals.The staff at the cemetery are very obliging as far as photographs are concerned; they will use moist sand in the inscription on grave markers and the memorial wall to highlight the casualty details. The sand comes from the Omaha Beach where so many American casualties fell on D-Day 1944. [Text by Geoffrey Gillon]