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WWII AMERICAN CEMETERY, MADINGLEY - Cemetery

Compiled and copyright © 2003 Martin Edwards

The World War II Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial is located three miles west of Cambridge on the A1303 and sixty miles north of London. The site, thirty and a half acres in extent, was donated by the University of Cambridge. It lies on a north slope with wide prospect. Established on 7th December 1943, the American Cemetery at Madingley is the only American WWII burial ground in England. The 3,800 white crosses, and the Portland stone wall inscribed with 5,000 names, pay tribute to American servicemen and women who died in the war. The cemetery is now designated a site of special historic interest. The west and south sides of the cemetery are framed by woodland. There are 3,812 American military dead buried there. On the wall running from the entrance to the chapel are inscribed the names of 5,126 Americans who gave their lives in the service of their country, but whose remains were never recovered or identified. Most of these died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of Northwest Europe during World War II. Above the names is an extract from President Eisenhower's dedication enshrined in St. Paul's Cathedral, London. Along the Wall are four statues representing a Soldier, a Sailor, an Airman and a Coast Guard in their typical uniforms and weapons. The paving is of English York sandstone.

From the flag platform near the main entrance the great mall with its reflecting pool stretches eastward. From this mall the headstones in the burial area form a sweeping curve across the green lawn. Along the south side of the mall is the Wall of the Missing. At its far end is the chapel containing two huge military maps, stained glass windows bearing the State Seals and military decorations, and its mosaic ceiling with a memorial to our Air Forces Dead. The base of the 72-foot flagpole in front of the Visitors' Building carries an inscription taken from John McCrae's poem - In Flanders Fields, '...To You From Failing Hands We Throw The Torch - Be Yours To Hold It High." The graves are laid out from the flag platform like a ribbed fan.

The Memorial, like the great Wall, is built of Portland stone. On the north face of the Memorial are five pylons each inscribed with a date recalling the five years from 1941 through 1945 in which the United States participated in the war. The main doors are of teakwood, and bear the bronze models of military equipment and naval vessels. The interior of the Memorial is divided into the large museum chamber, and the smaller devotional chapel. There is a map indicating the principal Atlantic sea routes, the types of naval and commercial craft that guaranteed a supply of men and materiel to the European front, the aircraft which operated in the antisubmarine campaign, and the continuous air assault by the U.S. Army Air Force and the Royal Air Force.

The cemetery is open to visitors daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Follow this link for more pictures of the American Cemetery

Amercian Battle Monuments Commission - click here

For those searching for Amercian Service Personnel then the American Battle Monuments Commission has searchable databases for the following; Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War. For restrictions and content see the ABMC web site.

Lasy updated 15 January, 2011

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