Madingley American Cemetery - History Of Cambridge Military Cemetery

Cambridge American Military Cemetery was established as a temporary cemetery in 1943. The land it stands on was donated by Cambridge University. The cemetery was formally dedicated as a permanent military cemetery on 16 July 1956. The architects were Perry, Shaw, Hepburn and Dean of Boston MA. Landscape design was performed by the Olmsted Brothers of Brookline MA. Madingley American Cemetery is the only permanent World War 2 American Military Cemetery in The United Kingdom.

The position of the United Kingdom within Europe and in particular it's proximity to Nazi occupied areas of France, the Netherlands and Belgium made it an ideal staging post and logistical hub for the American armed forces that were assigned to combat Nazi Germany during the second world war and the allied invasion of mainland Europe that was to follow. More than two million servicemen and women and 17 million tonnes of cargo passed through the United Kingdom during world war two.

Britain's success as a logistical centre for the allied operations in Europe was in no small part achieved by the heroic actions of British and United States Merchant and Naval Sailors who fought daily battles against the German U Boats between 1939 and 1945.

As the war in Europe progressed, airfields in Britain were both expanded and constructed to facilitate additional United States air force bombers and fighters that were to support the RAF in their bombing campaigns against enemy positions throughout Europe. The first American bombing raid staged from Great Britain took place in 1942 and by the end of the war over five hundred thousand bombing missions had taken place.

By the end of 1942 American troops were involved in fighting in North Africa and within six months, the enemy their had surrendered. Operations against enemy targets in the Mediterranean resulted in allied landings in Sicily and Italy. In June 1944 allied troops entered Rome and the events of the D-Day landings in Normandy commenced which combined with Russian offensive against Germany eventually resulted in the overwhelming defeat of Nazi Germany and it's eventual surrender.

The American contribution to the war effort came at a great price. Total American Military World War II casualties exceeded 290,000 and over 600,000 wounded. Many of those buried at Madingley American Cemetery are the crews of British based United States Air Force heavy bomber crews, some died in combat in the North Africa campaign, other in the Mediterranean areas of Europe, the North Atlantic and the training grounds in and around the United Kingdom.

Cambridge American Military Cemetery was established as a temporary cemetery in 1943, using land donated to the United States by Cambridge University. Construction of the formal cemetery as a permanent American World War Two Military Cemetery began was formally dedicated in July 1956.

Madingley American Cemetery provides a fitting memorial and final resting place for those American servicemen and women buried there. Relatives will 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. There are two American Military Cemeteries to be found in the UK. Brookwood Military Cemetery is a World War One American military cemetery. Madingley American Cemetery is the only World War Two American Cemetery in the United Kingdom.

(c) 2008 Damian Lappin