American Soldiers Buried Overseas: WWI

Flanders Field in BelgiumU.S. military men and women who died overseas during battle or through disease or accidents that occurred during wartime often were buried overseas. Soldiers who died overseas during World War I often were buried several times – a quick burial and then a more formal burial in a local cemetery and then a final burial in an American military cemetery in Europe or a cemetery in the states.

After WWI, the Graves Registration Service (GRS) sent a questionnaire to each deceased soldier’s next of kin, asking whether this person wanted to have the soldier’s remains returned to the U.S. for burial. While some individuals wanted the bodies returned, many opted to leave their loved ones in Europe. Now, more than thirty thousand rest in one of eight overseas American military cemeteries.

During World War II, families had four choices of how they wanted their soldier’s remains handled: 1) leave the remains where they were buried initially; 2) Bury the remains in a cemetery other than an American military cemetery overseas; 3) Bury the remains in an overseas American military cemetery, or; 4) return the remains to the U.S. During the Korean War, all remains initially were shipped to a central mortuary in Japan, and all remains then were shipped back to the U.S.

The following American military cemeteries are those designated for burial of military men and women who served during WWI. The links lead to the American Battle Monuments Commission online, which offers vast information about these cemeteries and more.

France

  • Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial: The 42.5-acre Aisne-Marne Cemetery and Memorial in France sits at the foot of the hill where Belleau Wood stands. The cemetery contains the graves of 2,289 war dead, most of whom fought in the vicinity and in the Marne valley in the summer of 1918. Inscribed on the interior wall of the memorial are 1,060 names of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. During World War II, the chapel was damaged slightly by an enemy shell.
  • Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial: This cemetery covers 130.5 acres and the largest number of U.S. military dead in Europe, a total of 14,246. Most of those buried here lost their lives during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I. Inscribed on the remaining panels of two loggias are Tablets of the Missing with 954 names, including those from the U.S. expedition to northern Russia in 1918-1919. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.
  • Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial: The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in France contains the remains of 6,012 American war dead, most of whom lost their lives while fighting in this vicinity in 1918 during the First World War. The chapel contains an altar of carved stone. Engraved upon its Walls of the Missing are 241 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.
  • Somme American Cemetery and Memorial: The World War I Somme American Cemetery and Memorial in France contains 14.3-acres and the graves of 1,844 U.S. military dead. Most lost their lives while serving in American units attached to British armies, or in operations near Cantigny. The chapel walls bear the names of 333 of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.
  • St. Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial (both World Wars): The World War I St. Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial in France, 40.5 acres in extent, contains the graves of 4,153 U.S. military dead. The majority of these individuals died in the offensive that resulted in the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient that threatened Paris. On two walls of the museum are recorded the names of 284 of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.
  • Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial (both World Wars): Originally a World War I cemetery, the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial just outside Paris, France now shelters the remains of U.S. dead of both wars. The 7.5-acre cemetery contains the remains of 1,541 Americans who died in World War I and 24 Unknown dead of World War II. Bronze tablets on the walls of the chapel record the names of 974 World War I missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

Belgium

  • Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial: The Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium occupies a 6.2-acre site, where 368 U.S. military dead rest, most of whom gave their lives in liberating the soil of Belgium in World War I. 43 names are inscribed on Walls of the Missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

Great Britain

  • Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial: The 4.5 acre Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial in England lies to the west of the large civilian cemetery built by the London Necropolis Co. and contains the graves of 468 U.S. military dead. On the walls within the chapel are inscribed the names of 563 of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

One Response to “American Soldiers Buried Overseas: WWI”

  1. [...] Death Care Industry Blog and Directory « The Most Important Document After Death American Soldiers Buried Overseas: WWI [...]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.