Cambridge American Cemetery

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial

War cemeteries never fail to be sobering places. Built on a slopingm 30-acre site, framed by ancient woodland, on land donated by the University of Cambridge, the cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 US personnel. A further 5,127 names are recorded on the Wall of the Missing. Most died in the Battle of the Atlantic, in the air campaigns over north-west Europe and in the build-up to D-Day. In an inter-faith Memorial Building stained glass windows bear state seals and military decorations. The ‘Visitor Center’s interpretive exhibits incorporate personal stories, photographs, films and interactive displays. This is the only Second World War American war cemetery in Britain.

Cambridge American Cemetery

SCALE OF SACRIFICE

The scale of the sacrifice demanded by the Second World War hits home when you see the concentric rows of gravestones. From 1942 to 1945 more than three million American servicemen and women passed through Britain. So many never made it home. The Strategic Bombing Campaign, which helped sap the will of the AxiS Powers, came at a terrible cost. Up to 110,000 airmen from the USA, Britain and other Allies died.

Cambridge streets, rich in culture and heritage

STEEPED IN HISTORY

This whole area is steeped in history. The university city of Cambridge lies three miles to the west. During the Second World War thousands of Americans made their own history as they were based at airfields on these flatlands and beyond.

Cambridge was a mecca for these Yanks abroad, many of whom packed out the city’s pubs and left a lasting legacy there.

Cambridge American Cemetery

EFFECTS OF MODERN WARFARE

The 3,812 burials here come from every state in the Union and every arm of the military. Airmen who took part in the anti-submarine campaigns of the vital Battle of the Atlantic are here as are those who died in the strategic bombing campaign. Many deaths were the result of tragic accidents, as well as in combat. in combat.
One of the horrifying effects of modern warfare is that many of the dead have no known grave. That is reflected by the 5,127 names on The Wall of the Missing, the longest in Europe.

Cambridge American Cemetery

ABOUT THE MEMORIAL

At the Visitor Center, opened in 2014, local staff are on hand to answer your questions. There is an interactive display here, telling individual stories of some of those commemorated here.

The Memorial Building is 85ft long, 30ft wide and 28ft high. It bears the inscription: “Grant unto them O Lord eternal rest”. Inside, an impressive map entitled The Mastery of the Atlantic – The Great Air Assault  depicts sea routes and airlanes to targets in Europe.

The Mall stretches east from the flagpole platform to the main building at the opposite end. Grave plots – from A to G – extend out in concentric arcs towards The Wall of The Missing. The layout is called ‘theatre style’. The effect has been likened to the propellers of a plane or the layout of a baseball field.

CAMBRIDGE AMERICAN CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL

Madingley Road, Coton, Cambridge CB23 7PH

Tel: +44 (0)1954 210350

Email: cambridge@abmc.gov

Open 9am-5pm daily, except December 25 and January 1. Entry free: fully wheelchair accessible; children’s activities available.

www.abmc.gov