After the war, when the temporary cemeteries were being disestablished by the American Graves Registration Service, the remains of American military Dead whose next-of-kin had elected interment on foreign soil were moved from temporary cemeteries to this, one of fourteen permanent sites. The use of the land was granted to the United States government in perpetuity by the people of France in recognition for the sacrifices in liberating Europe. Most of the interred died in the Breakout of Avranches, the fierce fighting in Saint-Lô and Mortain, and the liberation of Brittany.
The graves area contains the remains of 4,410 American military Dead. They represented 43 percent of the burials originally made in the region. Their headstones are set in 16 fan-shaped plots, curving from the central mall. These Dead, who gave their lives in our country’s service, came from every State in the Union, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Alaska as well as Canada.
Ninety-five of the headstones mark the graves of “Unknowns” whose remains could not be positively identified. Two of these graves contain the remains of two Unknowns who could not be separated. Here also, in twenty instances, two brothers rest side by side, while two other brothers lie in adjoining plots.
The memorial chapel, of La Pyrie granite, from Le Hinglé in Brittany, consists of an antechamber and tower, museum room and chapel. At the east end is a sculpture group, in Chauvigny limestone, “Youth Triumphing Over Evil”.
On the tablets of the missing, emanating from the gently curved walls of the terrace are inscribed the name, rank, organization, and State of 498 of our Missing. They gave their lives in the service of their country but their remains were either never recovered or if recovered not positively identified. Four, later recovered, are denoted by bronze rosettes.
The architect for the cemetery and its memorial was William T. Aldrich of Boston, Massachusetts. The landscape architects were Shurcliff and Shurcliff, also of Boston. The sculpture group “Youth Triumphing over Evil” as well as the group over the memorial entrance door were designed by Lee Lawrie of Easton, Maryland. Construction of the cemetery completed, it was dedicated during a ceremony on 20 July 1956.
Open everyday (excl. Christmas and New Year) from 9:00 to 5:00. The admission is free, and you can ask for a guided tour at the visitor center.
To get there:
A84 from Avranches. 1.5 miles from village of Saint James.
Brittany American Cemetery
50240 Saint-James - France
Tel.: 02 33 89 24 90
Fax: 02 33 89 24 91
American Battle Monuments Commission
68 rue du 19 janvier BP 50
Tel : 01 47 01 37
Website : http://www.abmc.gov
|American Battle Monuments Commission
|The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), established by law in 1923, is an independent agency of the Executive Branch of the US Government. The Commission is responsible for commemorating the services and achievements of United States Armed Forces where they have served since April 6, 1917 (the date of US entry into World War I).