Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The American Cemetery, Cambridge

Opened in 1956, on land donated by Cambridge University, this cemetery is the only American Memorial site in England. Lying on a gentle slope, framed by woodland, it looks out across the arable Cambridgshire fens. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 military and a further 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing during WWll. Most died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe.
Peaceful surroundings overlooking ripe cereal fields
The Memorial Chapel has a mosaic ceiling, and windows commemorating every US State. A large map detailing the Battle of the Atlantic and the air campaign fought over the skies of occupied Europe
Four of the state windows 
Four representative statues of servicemen beside the inscribed Wall of the Missing, sculptured by American artist Wheeler Williams
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
at the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Robert Laurence Binyon

visited 17th August 2014

45 comments:

  1. It looks to be a very peaceful place to contemplate and beautifully maintained. xx

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    1. Dear Amy - the cemetery is maintained to a very high standard making it somewhere special for relatives and friends to visit.

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  2. Very interesting photos, and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment Orvokki

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  3. A beautiful place indeed....I just don't understand war....It looks like something that will be with us forever!

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    1. Neither do I - so much needless heart ache and tragedy - for what?

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  4. That is a beautifully kept cemetery, not a thing out of place. It's a credit to it's keepers.

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    1. It is an oasis of peace, calm and tranquility which is very evident to all who visit.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this reminder of the time our two nations' people made ultimate sacrifices for a common endeavor. We should require our current leaders to walk through such places before making weighty decisions. Beautiful photos. -Beth

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    1. Dear Beth - we seem to move no nearer to a peaceful world - the lessons it seems are soon forgot, but it is important that we should remember.

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  6. Dear Rosemary,

    Thank you for this lovely posting. On one hand, it seems sad for these soldiers to be buried so far from home, but on the other hand, I cannot imagine a more beautiful and serene spot. Your photographs convey a space that is utterly silent save perhaps the chirping of a few birds.

    I would second Beth's comment.

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    1. I remember feeling like you Rosemary, shock in the realization. As you say it is a most peaceful and beautiful spot kept to perfection. The art, the doors, the layout, all so impressive. Loved seeing the photos and the memory of it. Thankyou.

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    2. I am pleased to know that you have also visited the cemetery - it is a quiet and tranquil spot.

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    3. DEAR MARK - it was a shocking discovery for me to realise how many young men from the States lie in this cemetery along with the many who are named on the Wall of the Missing.
      The sense of peace and quiet is just as you suggest - a beautiful and very tranquil spot.
      I tried to take a photo of the Florida State window for you, but it was right at the very top of the window, and impossible for me to capture properly.

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  7. I never knew about this beautiful cemetery.
    It is so well kept.
    Such a pity.. the nearest gravestone he died in 1945 near the end of the war.
    One wonders if their parents or family ever come to visit. I would presume who could afford it , have done.
    A poignant post Rosemary.
    Happy Wednesday
    val x

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    1. It is a sad realisation that many of these young men were still in their late teens and early twenties - they should have had their whole lives ahead of them
      It is my understanding that a lot of Americans do visit the cemetery every year.

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  8. Beautiful post Rosemary.I didn't know about this cemetery.
    Jean x

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    1. If you are ever passing it is worth stopping and paying a visit - a quiet oasis in a busy world.

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  9. This is a beautiful location and like all the other war graves it looks so well looked after. Is it looked after by the War commission too? The chapel has some wonderful features too.
    Thank you for your words of sorrow, they meant so much. Sarah x

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    1. Dear Sarah - it is actually looked after by the American Battle Monuments Commission, and they have several staff there looking after the grounds and visitors every day.

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  10. Hello Rosemary, So many acres of these graves, row upon row, and yet we know that this is the merest fraction of the total casualties of that war. Moreover, there is something extra sad about dying away from your home country, soldier or not.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - it is a poignant reminder of how futile and awful war is.
      Many of those buried in this cemetery were the crews of British based United States Air Force heavy bombers, some died in combat in the North African campaign, others in the Mediterranean areas of Europe, and the North Atlantic.
      I understand that relatives take comfort in the fact that their loved ones are buried in such a place of great beauty and tranquility safe in the knowledge that the graves will be tended for both today and in the future.

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  11. That memorial chapel is just stunning. A fitting tribute to those lost.

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    1. I wish I had been able to capture more of the lovely State windows but some of them were just to high up for me to photograph properly - the whole environment is serene and as you say a fitting tribute.

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  12. Hello Rosemary,

    Places such as this do touch the emotions and make one realise the total futility and obscene waste of life that accompanies wars. And yet, we do not learn from history and the same crass decisions keep on being made.

    In its simplicity and beauty, this is a very fitting tribute. But.....so many young lives.....so many....

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - I really do not understand what wars are all about - these days it seems to be mainly about religious and sectarian differences, but the outcome is always devastating for so many.

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  13. Living surrounded by WWI commonwealth cemeteries and therefore constantly reminded of WWI, you can imagine I can very much appreciate this post about the American cemetery in Cambridge. There is an American cemetery here in Belgium with American victims of WWI and WWII in Waregem where president Obama visited recently. I've never been there though. However on Lyssenthoek cemetery where we live there are still three American victims who died here during WWI and weren't brought to Waregem as their family wanted them to stay at the cemetery here where they died.

    It's a good thing that all war cemeteries are kept so beautifully but they're nevertheless reminders of awful periods in history with so many lives lost. It always makes me sad and it makes me even more sad to see there's still so much war in the world. That is just awful.

    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - Man does not seem to learn the lessons of history there are so many people today living under the most awful conditions in war zones. I think of those terrible scenes seen daily of women and children struggling to escape and survive.

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  14. These places are always thought-provoking and, I find, absorbing. They move me a great deal. Each nation's war cemeteries are unique to their respective countries too. I think, as a race, we are making progress - but it sure seems slow sometimes and I do agree that lessons are not taken on board. Or, maybe, people just don't care.

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  15. I also meant to say that your photos are wonderful.

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    1. Thank you very much I appreciate your comment re: photos.
      As Beth at Garden Fancy blog comments - We should require our current leaders to walk through such places before making weighty decisions.

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  16. All cemeteries evoke a sense of peace, tranquility and sadness, this one particularly since so many lie here or are commemorated here by their absence.

    Old men make wars; young ones are sacrificed. I suppose the world will never be free from war, so long as thte greed for power exists. Both the world wars were so tragic, but the world was saved, if only for a time; let us hope for a long time.

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    1. Old men make wars; young ones are sacrificed - very true. Most of the men that lie in this cemetery were in their late teens or early twenties. Peace has now reigned in our part of the world for many years, but sadly our men still keep being sent to other unsettled areas of the world.

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  17. Great post dear Rosemary!.I didn't know about this cemetery,the memorial chapel is so beautiful!
    Wonderful pictures!I really enjoyed your post!Wishing you a lovely weekend!
    (Thank you for your kind comment on my post!I really appreciate it!)
    Dimi...

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    1. It is a place of sadness but also a place of beauty and tranquility.

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  18. Beautiful images of a beautiful place.

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    1. It was an oasis of peace and serenity.

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  19. I love the absolute perfection of these cemeteries - someone, somewhere must take a great deal of pride in keeping it immaculate. A very fitting place to honour the fallen.

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    1. They have a permanent staff to help relatives looking for a family member and also to maintain the grounds

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  20. This post made me cry, Rosemary. All those young lives lost. But thank God for places like these where the names of the dead and missing are revered and listed for posterity. If we should ever forget the price they paid then we will have lost the right to call ourselves human beings. These brave souls and millions like them saved our world.

    Thank you for posting this tribute and the wonderful photos. It must be a very moving place to visit.

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    1. It was a shock for me to discover just how many young men were remembered in this cemetery - it has a peaceful quiet atmosphere.

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  21. At the same time impressive and peaceful in the lovely english country ...but really so sad . xx

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    1. We should remember and learn the lessons of the past

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  22. I'm very used to seeing war cemeteries in Normandy of course, Rosemary, but honestly didn't even know of the existence of this American one in the UK. Thank you for a beautifully-illustrated and poignant post.

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