Vets honoured at American cemetery in Cambridgeshire
Annual service to honour US military personnel at Madingley
Cambridge American Cemetery hosted its annual Veterans Day ceremony, during which 56 wreaths were laid in front of guests from around Cambridgeshire along with American military personnel.
In a moving ceremony, those assembled heard how the search to identify the remains of unknown service personnel is continuing.
Afterwards, master of ceremonies Suzie Harrison said: “Veterans Day is not the same as Remembrance Day. The American equivalent of Remembrance Day is on memorial day in May. Veterans Day honours those who have fought in previous wars or are fighting, so it has a slightly different slant.
“Everybody who is buried here at the cemetery or is commemorated on our wall of the missing, are veterans. The theme this year, of course, was the centenary for the end of the First World War, which the Americans fought in from 1917 -18. “We have a number buried here who were veterans of the First World War and served again in the Second World War and then died.
“I talked about people like Tommy Hitchcock, who was a playboy, polo player and larger than life character. He was written about by Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night.”
Among those speaking was Major General John Wood, commander of the 3rd Air Force, and Kelly McKeague, director of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), which accounts for the missing and the unknown.
Bronze rosettes on the wall at Madingley indicate those who have subsequently been recovered.
“He based his story on the fact that one of our 24 unknowns has been disinterred and they are trying to find out who he is,” said Suzie. “But he also said they identified the remains of a Lt William Shank, who went off on a mission and didn’t come back.
“His crash site was found some years ago but there was not enough to make an identification using the forensic methods of the time but now with modern methods, they have identified him and he is back with his family.”
The wreaths included those from the RAF and Royal British Legion.