Lorraine American Cemetery - History and Facts | History Hit

Lorraine American Cemetery

Saint-Avold, Grand Est, France

The Lorraine American Cemetery is home to the largest number of US WWII graves in Europe.

Peta Stamper

07 Apr 2021

About Lorraine American Cemetery

The Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial is home to the largest number of US World War Two graves in Europe. Located in the St Avold region of France, the 9 plots of Lorraine American Cemetery are spread over 113.5 acres and hold 10,489 graves. Lorraine American Cemetery is the largest American World War Two cemetery in Europe.

Lorraine American Cemetery history

The Lorraine region was liberated from German Occupation by the 80th Infantry Division of the US Army in November 1944. By March 1945, a temporary cemetery had been established close to the modern site. As the Allies advanced from Paris to the Rhine, the Americans sought to expel the Germans from the fortress city of Metz, after which they advanced on the German defensive Siegfried Line. It was these soldiers, part of the US 3rd and 7th Armies who were interred at Lorraine.

During the late 1940s, many bodies of Americans who had died in the Saint Avold region were repatriated to the US or were interred at Lorraine. Free use of the area as a permanent burial ground was granted by the French government in perpetuity without charge or taxation, and the cemetery was dedicated in 1960.

Lorraine American Cemetery today

Today, visitors to the cemetery will be met by the sight of the large memorial, designed by Murphy and Locraft, from which a broad flight of steps descend into the grave area.

The limestone memorial, standing 67 feet high and to the west of the burial area, containing ceramic maps, narratives and service flags inside. High on its exterior front wall is the large figure of St. Nabor, the martyred Roman soldier overlooking the silent host. On each side of the memorial stretch the Tablets of the Missing on which are inscribed 444 names.

At the east side of the cemetery the ground rises to a point with an overlook. From it, you can view the entire cemetery and the Lorraine countryside for miles to the west. The entire area is framed in woodland, lending a sense of tranquility and reflection to the cemetery.

Getting to Lorraine American Cemetery

If driving, the Lorraine American Cemetery is located off the N33 – follow the avenue to the right where there is a parking area. From Metz, it is about a 30 minute drive and Strasbourg, an hour and a half. The nearest train station is Gare de Saint Avold, a 15 minute drive away.

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