Telling the stories at Cambridge American Cemetery

When Cambridge was chosen to be the permanent site of the only World War II American Cemetery in Britain the location played an important role. Set on a hillside, partially framed by the ancient Madingley Wood, it looks north across the flat Fenlands of East Anglia, toward Ely Cathedral on the horizon.

Chubb, Mary and Donald, flanked by two friends

Nurse Mary Chubb and her brother Donald, a B-17 co-pilot (centre), saw each other only once while they were stationed in England, just weeks before their deaths (click for larger image).

Cambridge American Cemetery is a place to come to escape the hurly-burly of modern life – a beautiful retreat in which to spend a few minutes or a few hours. The planting plan is specific to American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery sites throughout the world with specimen tulip trees, catalpa, beech, oak and sweet gum. Wild flowers, including orchids, and birdlife abound in the less walked areas.

As you walk among the headstones you can read the brief epitaphs written there. Those buried came from all walks of life, from all parts of the USA and had many different roles while they were based in Britain. They lived and worked here, often making strong and enduring friendships with the local people. Whatever the stories behind their remaining here at Cambridge, the Cemetery honours their competence, courage and sacrifice.

All along the Wall of the Missing are etched the names of the American servicemen and women, and merchant mariners who were lost or buried at sea in the Battle of the Atlantic. Some succumbed to their injuries in the Strategic Bombing Campaign, others in the comprehensive training exercises during the build up to D-Day. Both Joseph Kennedy and Alton ‘Glenn’ Miller are memorialized here.

The recently opened Visitor Center provides a dual role. Not only does it give historical background on the US involvement in World War II, but also brings to life the stories of some of those young people who were part of the ‘friendly invasion’, but who never returned home. It contains extensive interpretive displays accompanied by photographs, film and interactive kiosks. Staff are available to answer questions or to support next of kin visits. During the summer season flagpole introductions are available throughout the day. More in depth Group Tours can be arranged in advance by contacting the cemetery.

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 01954 210 350

Website: https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/cambridge-american-cemetery

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