Madingley American Cemetery - The Memorial Building Interior

The interior of Madingley American Cemetery's Memorial Building is divided into two parts. The largest section of the Memorial Building is occupied by the museum area which features a large map "The Mastery Of The Atlantic - The Great Air Assault" and illustrates the principal sea routes across the Atlantic as well as ariel bombing targets and flight path of World War 2 United States aircraft based within the United Kingdom. The far end of the Memorial Building is occupied by a small chapel of remembrance.

The Memorial Building Chapel

The Memorial Building (Interior)

The memorial building is divided into a large museum area which is entered into through he main doors and a small chapel to the rear of the memorial building. The seals of the War & Navy departments as well as the principal decorations awarded to the armed services are depicted to the sides of and above the main doors.

The main feature of the museum room is the large three dimensional map thirty feet long and eighteen feet high displayed upon the interior of the south facing wall. The map depicts wartime Europe and illustrates principal shipping lanes between the United States and the UK as well as showing many of the principal bombing targets that were attacked by British and United States aircraft from bases in the United Kingdom and Italy. This magnificent work of art was executed by David Kindersley's Workshop.

Below the map are seven inclined waist height maps six of which illustrate key phases in the war against Nazi Germany, the seventh bears the words:

THRUST INTO A GLOBAL WAR WITH THE AXIS POWERS, THE UNITED STATES, AT THE CLOSE OF 1941, MOVED TO STRENGTHEN ITS DEFENSE POSITIONS IN THE ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC OCEANS. THE PROTECTION AND CONTROL OF SEA AND AIR ROUTES ACROSS THE ATLANTIC, SO VITAL TO THE ALLIES’ HOPES OF VICTORY, WERE CONCERNS OF UNCEASING URGENCY. THE UNITED STATES NAVY JOINED WITH THE ROYAL NAVY INTHIS BITTERLY CONTESTED BATTLE; U.S. ARMY AND MARINE CORPS UNITS WERE DISPATCHED TO STRENGTHEN KEY OUTPOSTS IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC AND TO REINFORCE THE DEFENSE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM. WHILE THE ENEMY MADE EVERY EFFORT TO SEVER THE LIFELINES TO THE BRITISH ISLES, THE ALLIED NAVIES FOUGHT TO KEEP THE SEA LANES OPEN, TO CONVOY TROOPS AND MILITARY AND CIVILIAN SUPPLIES ACROSS THE ATLANTIC AND TO MAINTAIN THE LONG RUN TO NORTH RUSSIA TO SUSTAIN THE SOVIET FORCES. CONTINUOUSLY THE ALLIES STROVE TO DEVELOP AND IMPROVE THEIR ANTISUBMARINE TACTICS, TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE ESCORT AND AIR COVERAGE TO THEIR CONVOYS. THE COORDINATED EMPLOYMENT OF LAND-BASED AIRPOWER AND OF ESCORT CARRIER AND DESTROYER GROUPS, TOGETHER WITH DEVELOPMENTS IN DETECTION DEVICES, GRADUALLY DROVE THE ENEMY’S SUBMARINES FROM THE PRINCIPAL SEA ROUTES. THIS WAR OF ATTRITION ON, ABOVE, AND BELOW THE WATERS OF THE ATLANTIC STEADILY TURNED IN FAVOR OF THE ALLIES. IN NOVEMBER 1942, ALLIED FORCES LANDED ON THE SHORES OF NORTH AFRICA. THIS SUCCESSFUL OPERATION INVOLVED THE SIMULTANEOUS DEBARKMENT OF ATTACK TEAMS TRANSPORTED FROM THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED KINGDOM. THROUGHOUT THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC THE UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCES OVERSEAS CONTINUED TO GROW IN THE URGENT EFFORT TO BUILD OVERWHELMING AIR STRENGTH. THE FIRST AMERICAN STRATEGIC BOMBING MISSION WAS UNDERTAKEN IN AUGUST 1942. BY THE SUMMER OF 1943 THE U.S. EIGHTH AIR FORCE WAS CONDUCTING LARGE-SCALE DAYLIGHT BOMBING ATTACKS; THE ROYAL AIR FORCE CONTINUED TO FLY MISSIONS AT NIGHT. THE OBJECTIVE WAS THE PROGRESSIVE DISLOCATION AND DESTRUCTION OF THE ENEMY’S MILITARY, INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC SYSTEM. EVER PRESENT WAS THE NECESSITY OF BEATING DOWN THE GERMAN FIGHTERS WHICH ATTACKED OUR HEAVY BOMBERS FIERCELY AND PERSISTENTLY. WITH THE ALLIED LANDINGS IN ITALY IN SEPTEMBER 1943 CAME OPPORTUNITY FOR ATTACK FROM ANOTHER DIRECTION. THE U.S. FIFTEENTH AIR FORCE JOINED WITH THE EIGHTH TO FORM THE U.S. STRATEGIC AIR FORCES IN EUROPE. MASSIVE ATTACKS ON CRITICAL INDUSTRIAL TARGETS FORCED THE GERMAN AIR FORCE TO FIGHT FOR THEIR PROTECTION. IN A SERIES OF VIOLENT BATTLES THE ENEMY AIR ARM WAS BROKEN, NEVER AGAIN TO BE A SERIOUS MENACE IN MARCH 1944 THE U.S. NINTH AIR FORCE AND THE BRITISH SECOND TACTICAL AIR FORCE INITIATED CONCENTRATED ATTACKS ON THE ENEMY’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS AND COASTAL DEFENSES IN BELGIUM AND NORTHERN FRANCE. THE U.S. EIGHTH AIR FORCE, WHILE CONTINUING ITS STRATEGIC ATTACK, AUGMENTED THIS ASSAULT. ON 6 JUNE 1944, ALLIED FORCES CROSSED THE ENGLISH CHANNEL TO STORM THE BEACHES OF NORMANDY IN THE GREATEST AMPHIBIOUS OPERATION RECORDED IN HISTORY. THE ABSENCE OF SERIOUS NAVAL AND AIR OPPOSITION ATTESTED TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ALLIED OPERATIONS DURING THE LONG MONTHS OF PREPARATION THAT HAD PRECEDED THE LANDINGS. FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS OF THIS ASSAULT, THOUSANDS OF MEN AND MILLIONS OF TONS OF SUPPLIES WERE MOVED OVER THESE BEACHES THROUGH ARTIFICIALLY CREATED HARBORS. WITH NAVAL GUNFIRE AND AIR SUPPORT, BEACHEADS WERE CONSOLIDATED AND THE ALLIED ARMIES MOVED FORWARD. THROUGH THE REMAINING MONTHS OF THE WAR THE ALLIED MILITARY STRENGTH CREW STEADILY AS TROOPS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES FLOWED ACROSS THE ATLANTIC. THE COMBINED BOMBER OFFENSIVE CONTINUED TO STRIKE AT STRATEGIC MILITARY AND INDUSTRIAL TARGETS WITH EVERMOUNTING INTENSITY AS THE GROUND FORCES PUSHED ONWARD INTO GERMANY. ON 8 MAY 1945, 337 DAYS AFTER THE LANDINGS IN NORMANDY,CAME VICTORY IN EUROPE.

The windows of the north side wall, facing the graves contain stained glass replicas of the Seals of the States of the Union arranged from left to right in the order that they entered the union.

The walls of the chapel and the ceiling of the memorial building are covered with a large mosaic depicting ghostly aircraft as they fly on one final mission towards the resurrection summoned by the archangel's trumpet. The mosaic is the work of American artist Francis Scott Bradford.

The following inscription can be seen around the edge of the ceiling:

IN PROUD AND GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THOSE MEN OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCE WHO FROM THESE FRIENDLY ISLES FLEW THEIR FINAL FLIGHT AND MET THEIR GOD. THEY KNEW NOT THE HOUR THE DAY NOR THE MANNER OF THEIR PASSING. WHEN FAR FROM HOME THEY WERE CALLED TO JOIN THAT HERIOIC BAND OF AIRMEN WHO HAD GONE BEFORE. MAY THEY REST IN PEACE.

Above the alter are depictions of a ship and aircraft that symbolise the naval and air force service members that are buried at Madingley American Cemetery and remembered on the Tablets of the Missing.

Also inscribed is a section of the 23rd Psalm:

HE RESTORETH MY SOUL -
HE MAKETH ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES

Above the teakwood frame separating the chapel from the museum section in large bronze letters are the words:

INTO THY HANDS OH LORD

The words "FAITH" and "HOPE" also cast in large bronze letters are set into the chancel rail.

The chapel provides a private quiet area where visitors who wish to pray may enter and do so behind a roped off area. The memorial building and chapel are perhaps a focal point of tranquility and serenity.

The Seal Of Minnesota
A United States flag in the chapel at Madingley American Cemetery Cambridge
The Memorial Building Map
The Memorial Building Ceiling
Mosaic wall of Memorial Building Chapel
The seal of the State of California.