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The Flanders Field American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Cemetery is situated at Waregem, Belgium. It is the smallest ABMC Cemetery from World War 1 and contains 368 burials, 21 of them unknown. Inscribed on the wall of the chapel are the names of 43 missing American soldiers.

Two US Army divisions, the 27th and the 30th, served in quiet sections of the line in Flanders for a short period in the summer of 1918, before these units joined the British Fourth Army to spearhead the successful assault on the Hindenburg Line at the St. Quentin Canal in September. More about this when we talk about the Somme American Cemetery in a future post. Two other US divisions, the 37th and the 91st, were pulled out of the Meuse Argonne Offensive to lead the Belgian attack to recapture Brussels.

 

146th Infantry crossing the Scheldt, Nov. 2nd, 1918

146th Infantry crossing the Scheldt, Nov. 2nd, 1918

These divisions moved onto the Ypres-Lys line on October 30th, 1918, the 37th along the railroad at Olsene and the 91st just south of Waregem. On October 31st a general advance began toward the Scheldt River. The 91st captured a position known as Spitaals Boschen and the 37th advanced to Kruishoutem, but both were stopped because the French units on their flanks had lagged behind. On November 2nd, the 37th forced a crossing of the Scheldt, held off a counter attack on the 4th and the Germans began a general retreat.

The site of the cemetery is part of the battlefield crossed by the 91st. On Memorial Day 1927 (before the cemetery was finished) Charles Lindbergh flew over the site in The Spirit of St. Louis and scattered poppies; this was 9 days after he had completed his trans-Atlantic flight. On Memorial Day 2016 President Obama visited the Flanders Field ABMC Cemetery:

https://www.abmc.gov/multimedia/videos/president-obama-visits-flanders-field-american-cemetery?width=430px&height=415px&inline=true#colorbox-inline-1364399571

James (“Jim”) Patton BS BA MPA is a retired state official from Shawnee, Kansas and a frequent contributor to several WW1 e-publications, including "Roads to the Great War," "St. Mihiel Tripwire," "Over the Top" and "Medicine in the First World War." He has spent many hours walking the WW1 battlefields, and is also an authority on British regiments and a collector of their badges. An Army Engineer during the Vietnam War, he does work for the US World War 1 Centennial Commission and has memberships in the WW1 Historical Association, the Western Front Association, the Indian Military Historical Society and the Salonika Campaign Society.