A four and half acre (16,000 m2) site for the graves of 468 American military dead arranged in four plots. 563 warriors without a known grave are commemorated in the Chapel where their names are recorded on its walls. It is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Images: Known But To God~ Chapel ~ The Chapel Doors ~ Pillar At Ceremonial Drive Entrance
Four plots forming the only military cemetery in the UK for American Great War casualties are arranged about the central flag pole. The graves and inscriptions record names from the American Expeditionary Force (AEF).
Initially the AEF comprised one division fighting in France under General Pershing. By the end of the war three armies of 1,300,000 America combat troops were fighting in Europe. The American War and Military Operations Casualties CRS Report for Congress 2008 cites a combined Army, Navy and Marine WW1 force of 4.7million of whom 53,402 died in battle; 204,000 suffered non-fatal wounds and 63,114 died of other causes. A significant non-combat cause of death was the 1918 influenza pandemic.
Congress allocated funds in 1922 for purchase of land from the London Necropolis Company and to establish American rights in perpetuity over this and other European cemeteries of American WW1 casualties.
A design of white marble headstone, unlike grave markers used in the United States, was adopted emulating the cross and Star of David used on the battle fields and fashioned of wood. The newly formed American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) placed contracts with Italian suppliers for the headstones. The ABMC also determined the inscription marking the graves of unknown soldiers:
"Here rests in honored glory An American soldier Known but to God."
During World War Two several thousand American dead were temporarily interred at the Brookwood site before moving to their final resting places nearer home in the United States or at Coton, Cambridge where:
To You From Failing Hands We Throw The Torch Be Yours To Hold It High."
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