Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Cambes en Plaine
Just down the road from where we are staying is a war cemetery, in the village of Cambes en Plaine. This afternoon, as we had an hour or so to fill, we took a stroll down the unmade road to pay a visit.
On 9 June 1944, the village was liberated by the 2nd Bn The Royal Ulster Rifles, and those who fell in the operation were buried here - just over 200 young men, by my count. There are many of these small and unassuming cemeteries throughout the villages of Normandy, and visiting them is a humbling and moving experience. The silence and feeling of peace is overwhelming.
Next door to the war cemetery is the cemetery for the village. The gates were locked owing, as the notice from the Mairie said, to vandalism. But it was possible to look over the hedge and into the cemetery, and see many graves, carefully-tended, laid out almost haphazardly beneath a grove of trees. On a quiet and still afternoon, with the sun beating down and only the distant noise of traffic to disturb the silence, I reflected that there are surely worse fates than to be laid to rest in such a peaceful and well-tended place.