Carte Cemeteries

Temporary cemeteries were located where high casualties were experienced.


Their number was based on the intensity of the combat in each area, the progress of the invasion, and the location of the military hospitals.


The U.S. Army Grave Registration Service’s plan fortemporary cemeteries in Normandy was determined as soon as they learned about the landing locations. Their initial burial plans included the establishment of two cemeteries close to Omaha Beach.


 One South/East of Ste. Honorine des Pertes; the other close to Cricqueville en Bessin.


However, the ultimate location and configuration of each were to be determined by the Army Corps of Engineers when they became available.


 After landing and the evolution of the front, here is the map of France with the establishment of Temporary American Cemeteries







This Command was assigned to the U.S. Army’s Graves Registration Service, created during the First World Warby General Pershing in August 1917 with the task of accounting for all American soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice.    This Command is responsible for the proper burial of all personnel killed while serving under the American Flag whether Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, Red Cross, War Correspondents, and International Observers, including Deserters and Prisoners   

They also take care of Allied Personnel and Germans found by their teams. Each U.S. Army and its individual Division’s maintained their own Burial& Registration


etoile In the army
etoile US Army Air Corps
etoile US Navy
etoile US Marines
etoile US Coast Guard
etoile The Red Cross
etoile Accredited correspondents
etoile The observer
etoile aand the deceased deserters and prisoners


Command each of which is an integral part of the U.S. Army’s Grave Registration Service. Each Burial & Registration Command is comprised of 5 Officers and 260 Soldiers. A Command features a Headquarters, each consisting of three Platoons.




Because of the excellent team work exhibited by both the U.S. Army’s Grave Registration Service and the Burial & Registration Command, only 3% of the 206 577 American soldiers killed in Europe remain unidentified.


Equipe d'enregistrement


The establishment of a permanent US Military Cemetery after June 6th became impossible.

However, losses were so great that it became imperative to find a site to construct a temporary one.




In the interim, a temporary “Potter’s” field was employed. However, on June 7, 1944 the 3rd Platoon of the 607th Engineering Company, attached to a special Brigade of Engineers, succeeds in constructing a cemetery directly on the beach between Vierville and Saint Laurent on the Normandy landing site called “White Dog”.

It is the first American cemetery developed by the U.S. Army’s 603rd Burial & Registration Command in France. On the date of its closing on June 10, 1944  457 Americans, a few Germans, English, Sailors, and Royal Air Force aviators will have been interned here.


The Provisional American Cemetery during a Mass Ruquet

villeneuve auvers

Temporary American cemetery at St Lawrence

Within 10 days, all are moved and reburied. It continues to receive a great number of bodies requiring burial, especially from the U.S. Army’s V Corps for which the cemetery is now named.

st laurent

By June 26, 1944, at the stroke of midnight, 1 510 Americans are removed from this cemetery and permanently laid to rest at Saint-Laurent sur Mer, along with 48 of their Allies, and 606 Germans, for a total of 2 164 tombs.


American Cemetery "Colleville sur mer" in 1944

colleville1944 1


American Cemetery "Colleville sur mer" in 1952

Today, the U.S. Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer is, in part, built on this temporary cemetery site.

Aerial view of the American Cemetery "Colleville sur mer"


The Blosville cemetery was initiated on June 7, 1944 by Elbert E. Legg, a Sergeant with the 603rd Burial & Registration Command.

blosville legg elbertElbert LEGG

He, alone, is sent to Normandy on June 6, 1944 with the mission to establish a temporary cemetery for the 82nd Airborne Division. The rest of his Unit will join him a few days later, after the Utah Beach landing has been secured.

His testimony recounts how men from the Registration & Burial Command organized and managed the establishment of temporary military cemeteries in Normandy.

When he arrives in Normandy, his first task is to select a site and develop a plan for a cemetery. He selects a field next to the Carrefour Supermarket at Les Forges and starts to receive bodies. He decides to organize the Cemetery in rows of twenty graves based on the limited supplies at his disposal.

82 airborne


Cemetery Temporary from Blosville

 On June 7th after having secured their personal belongings, here 50 Soldiers are laid to rest. By June 9th hundreds of Soldiers require burial: almost half of them are German.


Finally, on June 10th, the first group of the 603rd Burial & Registration Command arrives with both equipment and materials.

From this date on all cadavers belonging to the 82nd Airborne Division are sent directly to this cemetery.


Today, a monument in Les Forges indicates the site of the Blosville cemetery where over 5 700 Americans were initially buried.


Cemetery Temporary from Blosville

blosville stele

Stele to the site of the temporaryCemetery Blosville


st mere eglise 1

Sainte Mère Eglise N°1

The cemetery at Vierville sur Mer was the first in Normandy. Soon after, on June 8, 1944, another was established on Utah beach, close to the Hospital de la Madeleine, to bury the dead from the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division.
  Around 190 bodies will be buried there before being transferred in a larger, temporary cemetery: at Sainte-Mère-Eglise N° 1.

4e Division d'Infanterie

4th Infantry Division

On June 9, 1944, other platoons of the 603d Burial & Registration Command arrive on the Utah Beach coast with the mission to arrange for temporary cemeteries in Europe.

The same day, they begin developing the one at Sainte Mere Eglise to bury the dead of the U.S. Army’s 90th Infantry Division.

90th Infantry Division

90th Infantry Division
st mere eglise 2

This cemetery will soon become too inadequate: 2 172 American soldiers and 13 allies were buried there in just a few weeks. The great loss of Airborne troops forces the Command to build a second cemetery on June 25thsouth of Sainte Mere Eglise.

The site will be known as cemetery Sainte Mere Eglise N°2 and will eventually contain 4 812 American, Allied, and German soldiers’ tombs.

Monument remembering the location of the temporary Cemetery Ste Mère Eglise N° 2

st mere eglise stele



la cambe cemetery

Cemetery temporary "La Cambe" before 1948

On June 11, 1944 the landed troops on Omaha Beach finally succeeded to break through the enemy lines and were on the march to the heart of Normandy.

During this offensive, American Army loses were substantial and the U.S. Army’s Grave Registration Service was obliged to set up a temporary cemetery around the village of La Cambe.

A total of 4,543 American soldiers from the First Army Division will be buried in the Cemetery of La Cambe.

A majority of them belong to the 29th Infantry Division; this is why the cemetery will be named after this unit.

1st Army - 29th Infantry Division

la cambe cemetery 1

Cemetery temporary "La Cambe" before 1948


Map cemetery of La Cambe with American side (4534 soldiers buried) and German side (8574 soldiers buried)

After the exhumation of American corpses in 1948, the area will be designated as a permanent Cemetery for German War Dead.

la cambe cemetery 3


In just over a week, three new temporary American cemeteries were built in Normandy:


Saint James

July 31, 1944 with 3 070 body


On August 5th with 4 367 body

st james

Le Chêne-Guérin

August 7 containing the bodies of 1 202 soldiers.

le chene guerin

A second cemetery at Chêne-Guerin is installed in 1 628 to bury bodies of German soldiers.

le chene guerin 1

The future permanent cemetery of St James is established less than a week after the release of Avranches by the 610th Company of the registration of burials

 Subsequently, he was entrusted to the company's 3 042 Graves Registration, attached to Patton's Third Army and supported by the 611th Company: 4 367 American soldiers, 45 British, 38 French, three Canadians, one Australian, one New Zealander, who for the most part, lost their lives during the liberation of St. Lo and the country of the Cotentin and Brittany during operations to control the east bank of the Seine.

With the advance of military operations, Americans continue to gradually establish new cemeteries:


Saint Corneille

Gorron 752 body August 15, 1944


The cemetery was officially established August 16, 1944 by the 3rd U.S. Army of General Patton. 521 U.S. soldiers were buried there.

Several English airmen, New Zealanders, Australians and Canadians will be buried there with some French Resistance fighters, killed while approaching Paris and Troyes.
 Fifteen men of the 2nd Armored Division will also be temporarily buried there.st corneille

Saint André de l’Eure

Villeneuve sur Auvers

The temporary cemetery of St André de l’Eure was established August 24, 1944 by the 1st U.S. Army.

It was situated between Evreux and Dreux. 2 066 Americans who gave their lives through France, on their way to liberate Paris were buried there.

st andre cemetery

303 corps le 25 aout 1944

villeneuve auvers


Around June 20, 1944, the Platoon 603rd company registration of burials of the 1st US Army heads Orglandes to establish a new cemetery.

Originally designated for American troops, it will also eventually include German soldiers: 6,074 Germans soldiers will be buried here in accordance with the same ceremonies afforded to American soldiers.

Today, the Orglandes Cemetery now includes the tombs of 10 152 German Soldiers.

Standing in the cemetery of Orglandes, there are now 10 152 German soldiers buried.




Last burial in the Normandy Cemetery.


etoile 1923Creation of the ABMC (American Battle Monuments Commission)
etoile 29 August 1929Treaty signed with France regarding the granting in perpetuity of sites used as cemeteries on French soil.
etoile 7 December 1941The United States of America enter the war.
etoile 6 June 1944Allied land in Normandy
etoile 7 June 1944Opening of the first temporary cemeteries at Omaha Beach and Blosville.
etoile 8 June 1944Opening of a temporary cemetery at Utah Beach.
etoile 9 June 1944Opening of Sainte Mère Église n°1 cemetery.
etoile 10 June 1944opening of a new temporary cemetery near the present cemetery at Colleville sur Mer, temporary closure of Omaha Beach cemetery. Opening of a temporary cemetery at La Cambe.
etoile 20 June 1944Opening of the temporary cemetery of Orglandes, originally for American soldiers and eventually for German soldiers.
etoile 25 June 1944Opening of the temporary cemetery n°2 at Sainte Mère Eglise.
etoile 1 July 1944Opening of Blosville temporary cemetery.
etoile 31 July 1944Opening of Marigny temporary cemetery.
etoile 5 August 1944Opening of St James temporary cemetery.
etoile 7 August 1944Opening of Chêne Guérin temporary cemetery.
etoile 15 August 1944Opening of Gorron temporary cemetery.
etoile 16 August 1944Opening of Saint Corneille temporary cemetery.
etoile 24 August 1944Opening of Saint André de l’Eure temporary cemetery.
etoile 25 August 1944Opening of Villeneuve sur Auvers temporary cemetery.
etoile April 194576 360 Americans are buried in the twenty-four temporary cemeteries in France.
etoile 30 May 1945First official ceremony of Remembrance Day after World War II (Mémorial Day).
etoile 6 April 1946The Office of the Quartermaster General identifies a total of 359 temporary cemeteries U.S..
etoile 22 November 1946The temporary cemetery of Saint Laurent sur Mer is included in the inventory of the Historic Sites of Calvados, as well as the seaside area.
etoile Early 1947The first letters for a possible repatriation are sent to families.
etoile 15 April 1947Conference in Washington: agreement for eight cemeteries abroad including at Colleville sur Mer
etoile 22 April 1947The Secretary of War officially confirms the choice of fourteen new cemeteries but a few potential sites are preserved.
etoile 27 July 1947Start of the repatriation program in Europe.
etoile 14 September 1947Ceremony at the temporary cemetery of St. Laurent sur Mer which becomes the second closed cemetery in Europe.
etoile 16 September 1947The first bodies buried in the cemetery of St. Laurent sur Mer are exhumed to be repatriated.
etoile 20 October 1947Officials in Washington confirm that there will only be two cemeteries in Normandy: Colleville sur Mer and St James.
etoile 26 October 1947A great ceremony is held in Central Park in honor of the first body brought back to the United States.
etoile 27 October 1947Start of exhumation in La Cambe American cemetery.
etoile October 1947Franco-American agreement about permanent cemeteries.
etoile 30 October 1947End of the exhumations in St Laurent sur Mer cemetery.
etoile 4 November 1947The “Robert F Burns” ship leaves Cherbourg with the first load of coffins.
etoile 23 November 1947Exhumation operations start at Blosville.
etoileFall 1947The first repatriation ship leaves Anvers.
etoile 8 January 1948The “Joseph V. Connolly” ship sinks in the middle of the Atlantic with a cargo of thousands of empty coffins.
etoile Spring 1948Exhumation in the N2 cemetery of St. Mere Eglise and at St. James.
etoile 9 July 194834 874 bodies have been repatriated to the United States.
etoile4 November 1948First final burial in the permanent cemetery at Colleville / Mer
etoile 28 December 1949After a ceremony, the ABMC takes responsibility of Colleville / Mer cemetery
etoile 1954“The Memorial” in the Normandy cemetery is finished.
etoile 1955The family of Quentin Roosevelt asked for his body to be transferred to Colleville / Mer cemetery.
etoile 18 July 1956Inauguration of the Normandy American Cemetery.
etoile 19 July 1956Inauguration of the Brittany Cemetery.
etoile 1971Remembrance Day (Memorial Day) celebrated the last Monday of May is declared a day of national holiday.
etoile 24 May 1995Last funeral dated at the cemetery of Normandy.

This page was created thanks to the support of Constant Lebastard(Guide to ABMC) and author



Ouvrage sur le Cimetière Américain de Colleville sur mer


( Click the photo for more piece of information)

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