Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War II American military war grave cemetery, lying 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). It is one of 26 overseas military cemeteries administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).[1]

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
American Battle Monuments Commission
Cambridge American Cemetery headstones, with the memorial building behind.
Used for those deceased 1941–1945
Location52°12′58″N 0°03′14″E / 52.2161°N 0.0538°E / 52.2161; 0.0538
Cambridge, England
Designed byPerry, Shaw, Hepburn and Dean (architects)
Olmsted Brothers (landscaping)
Total burials3,812
Burials by war
Statistics source: American Battle Monuments Commission

The memorial is listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England.[2]

The cemetery


In 1943, the University of Cambridge[3][4] gave 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. After the war, the American Battle Monuments Commission chose 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 in the Cambridge cemetery during an extensive cemetery construction project, and simultaneously the United States government repatriated about 58% of the existing war dead at the request of their surviving family members. Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial was dedicated on 16 July 1956.[3]

The cemetery contains 3,809 headstones, with the remains of 3,812 servicemen,[5] 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 and in the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe.[6]

Reflecting pool leading to the chapel, with the 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.[7]

In May 2014, a new visitor centre opened, containing exhibits about some of the people buried or commemorated at the cemetery, and the wider World War II campaigns in which they were involved.[4]

Notable burials and memorials

Flag-draped coffins of American soldiers at a military funeral ceremony at the cemetery

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 comprises a large museum room and a small chapel. 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 have a mosaic of angels and ghostly aircraft.[8] The south wall is inset with stained glass windows displaying the seals of the States of the Union arranged in ceremonial order.

The chapel was designed and built between 1952 and 1954 by the Boston-based architects Perry, Shaw, Hepburn, Kehoe and Dean. Hughes and Bicknell of Cambridge were the executant architects.[2]



The architects of the site plan were Perry, Shaw, Hepburn and Dean; the landscape architecture was arranged by the Olmsted Brothers company.[8]



  1. ^ American Battle Monuments Commission. "Cambridge American Cemetery". Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b Historic England. "Memorial chapel and attached walls, steps and pool surrounds at American Military Cemetery, St Neots Road (1376611)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial" (PDF). American Battle Monuments Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 August 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  4. ^ a b "American Battle Monuments Commission, Cambridge Cemetery". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  5. ^ The numbers differ because one headstone is over a grave with two servicemen, who could not be separately identified, and another is over a grave with three servicemen, for the same reason.
  6. ^ "American Battle Monuments Commission, Cambridge Cemetery". Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  7. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report.
  8. ^ a b "Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial" (PDF). American Battle Monuments Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010.

Further reading

  • Sledge, Michael (2005). Soldier Dead: How We Recover, Identify, Bury, and Honor Our Military Fallen. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 207, 210. ISBN 978-0231509374. OCLC 60527603.