West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen) Belgium
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
The Flanders Field American Cemetery is the only American World War I cemetery in Belgium. It is also the smallest of the permanent American military cemeteries in Europe, occupying a site of only 6 acres southeast edge of the town of Waregem.
The Cemetery is situated on a battlefield where the U.S. 91st Division suffered many casualties in securing the wooded area called "Spitaals Bosschen" a few hundreds yards to the east. Before advancing into Belgium, the U.S. 91st and U.S. 37th Divisions had been engaged in heavy fighting during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in the Lorraine region of France, some 200 miles to the south. Both divisions received orders in October 1918 to join the French Army in Belgium and assist in the operations launched there on 28 September 1918 by the Group of Armies of Flanders under the command of Albert I, King of the Belgians.
The two divisions joined the Ypres-Lys offensive on 30 October: the 37th along the railroad at Olsene, and the 91st just south of Waregem. A French division separated them in the lines when the general attack eastward toward the Escaut River (also known as the Schelde River) began at 5:30 a.m. on 31 October. The following day both divisions advanced rapidly to the Escaut following a general German retreat. On 4 November, a German counterattack against the bridgehead was repulsed. Both divisions were relieved during the night of 4 November to prepare for another general offensive and returned to the front lines on 10 November. The following day, November 11, both divisions were able to advance with little opposition until the Armistice officially took effect at 11:00 a.m.
There 411 memorials here, including 21 unknowns and 43 names inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing. Dr. Paul P. Cret of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was the architect of the cemetery and the memorial. The landscape architect was J. Greber of Paris, France.