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Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
American Battle Monuments Commission
Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial.jpg
Cambridge American Cemetery headstones, with the memorial building behind.
Used for those deceased 1941–1945
Established 1943
Location 52°12′58″N 0°03′14″E / 52.2161°N 0.0538°E / 52.2161; 0.0538
Cambridge, England
Designed by Perry, Shaw, Hepburn and Dean (architects)
Olmsted Brothers (landscaping)
Total burials 3,812
Burials by war
Statistics source: American Battle Monuments Commission

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War II American military war grave cemetery, located between the villages of Coton and Madingley, 7 km (4.3 mi) north-west of Cambridge, England. The cemetery, dedicated in 1956, contains 3,811 American war dead and covers 30.5 acres (12.3 ha). Cambridge American Cemetery is one of 26 overseas military cemeteries administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).

The cemetery

The University of Cambridge donated 30.5 acres of land on the north slope of Madingley Hill to the American military forces for use as a temporary cemetery during World War II in 1943. Following the war, the American Battle Monuments Commission selected Cambridge as the site for America's permanent World War II cemetery and war memorial in the United Kingdom. America's war dead from three temporary cemeteries in the British Isles were consolidated into the Cambridge cemetery during an extensive cemetery construction project, and simultaneously the US Government repatriated approximately 58% of the existing war dead at the request of the surviving family members. Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial was dedicated on 16 July 1956.

The cemetery contains 3,809 headstones, with the remains of 3,812 servicemen, including airmen who died over Europe and sailors from North Atlantic convoys. The inscribed Wall of the Missing includes four representative statues of servicemen, sculpted by American artist Wheeler Williams. The wall records the names of 5,127 missing servicemen, most of whom died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe.

Cambridge American Cemetery 2012-11-25 07
Reflecting pool leading to chapel, and memorial wall on the right.

Besides personnel of the United States armed forces there are also buried 18 members of the British Commonwealth armed services, who were American citizens serving chiefly in the Royal Air Force and Air Transport Auxiliary, besides an officer of the Royal Canadian Air Force and another of the British Royal Armoured Corps, whose graves are registered and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

In May 2014 a new visitor centre opened, containing exhibits about some of those individuals interred or remembered at the cemetery, and the wider World War II campaigns in which they were involved.

Notable burials and memorials

Flag draped coffins of American soldiers at a military funeral ceremony at the Madingley, England, (date unknown, but probably after 1943) - NARA - 6003746 (cropped)
Flag-draped coffins of American soldiers at a military funeral ceremony at cemetery
  • Vincent F. Harrington (1903–1943), US Representative and US Army Air Forces officer
  • John Martin Howard (1917-1942), US Navy officer - (memorial - buried at sea)
  • Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. (1915–1944), eldest son of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald (memorial – lost at sea)
  • Glenn Miller (1904–1944), jazz bandleader and trombonist (memorial – lost at sea)
  • Leon Vance (1916–1944), US Army Air Forces pilot and Medal of Honor recipient (memorial – lost at sea)
  • Three of the crew of USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress Mi Amigo, which crashed in Sheffield, killing all 10 crew (seven later repatriated to the US)

The memorial (including chapel)

The memorial building is 85 ft (26 m) long, 30 ft (9.1 m) wide and 28 ft (8.5 m) high; it is made of Portland stone; the doors of teak are embellished with relief models of World War II military equipment. The memorial is separated into a large museum room with a small chapel at the far end from the doors. A great map on the wall shows schematically the air sorties flown from East Anglia, together with convoys across the North Atlantic and other actions in the war. The wall and roof has a mosaic of angels and ghostly aircraft.


The architects of the site plan were Perry, Shaw, Hepburn and Dean, while the landscape architecture was arranged by the Olmsted Brothers company.

Chapel gallery

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