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Saint James Cemetery Normandy

Discussion in 'Saint James Cemetery' started by Jim, Aug 21, 2010.

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  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Another site chosen by the United States as a permanent cemetery in France was Saint James. The choice made, symbolised General Patton's famous Avranches Break-out. The liberation took place on 2nd August and a provisional cemetery was established there three days later. The choice as a permanent site was made on 16th September 1949 and the French Government granted the United States the free use of thirty acres of ground. After the war when the provisional cemeteries were cleared, the American Army regrouped the bodies of 4,410 soldiers to Saint James's. Most of these lost their lives either in the liberation of Saint-Lo or in the Cotentin. The others came from the tip of Brittany to the Seine's east bank. Given the name of Brittany American Cemetery it was inaugurated on 20th July 1956.

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    A conventional park in the middle of the woods

    Dominating the woodland valley between Normandy and Brittany the cemetery of Saint James takes up a sizeable area in rural country. More modest in size than Colleville and without the advantage of such an imposing site, it comprises none the less, all the elements of the "mise en scene" to be found there. On the drive-in the necropolis is hidden from sight right up to the Memorial where the white crosses impeccably aligned rise up from the greensward. Taken at a glance is an expanse westward, the countryside stretching to the sea ... the United States. t, Without doubt, this is the ground of victors : a formal park that a great nation has laid out to honour its sons who fell in battle for a noble

    A Norman Church, a place of remembrance

    The cemetery of Saint James is laid out on an east-west axis. To the east on the axis of the prospect, a chapel built of granite from Hinglé near Dinan comprises both chapel and museum and forms the Memorial. Architecturally it was designed "with reference to Norman chapels in the region" consisting of a nave and bell-tower thirty metres high from which can be seen Mont-Saint-Michel. As at Colleville, all the aspects of remembrance are found there.

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    Approaching the Memorial the visitor comes upon a statue of a warrior on horseback slaying a dragon: the triumph of youth over evil. At the other end of the building the entrance is surmounted by two sculptures in granite blocks that symbolise mourning and triumph. Between them, the shield of the United States is surmounted by the American Eagle whilst the thirteen stars of the first States of the Union form an arch. Within are to he found, all that is symbolical of the United States Army and its operations. The stained-glass window at the entrance depicts the emblem of the GHQ of the Allied Expeditionary Forces whilst of those in the Memorial, one portrays the Great Seal of the United States and the others the Arms and features of the eight French towns liberated by the American Army:

    Carentan, Cherbourg, Saint-Lo, Mont-Saint-Michel, Mortain, Chartres, Paris and Brest. Done in the style of 13th Century stained-glass windows are the work of F. Lorin of Chartres.
     

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