Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery


Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery

The Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery is a cemetery containing predominantly Canadian soldiers killed during the early stages of the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War. The Cemetery is located in and named after Bény-sur-Mer in the Calvados commune, near Caen in lower Normandy. As is typical of war cemeteries in France, the grounds are beautifully landscaped and immaculately kept. Contained within the cemetery is a Cross of Sacrifice, a piece of architecture typical of memorials designed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

History

Bény-sur-Mer was created as a permanent resting place for Canadian soldiers who had been temporairly interred in smaller plots close to where they fell. As is usual for war cemeteries or monuments, France granted Canada a perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery. The graves contain soldiers from the Canadian 3rd Division and 15 Airmen killed in the Battle of Normandy. The cemetery also includes four British graves and one French grave, for a total of 2049 markers. The French grave belongs to a French resistance soldier named R. Guenard who fought and died alongside the Canadians and who had no known relatives. His marker is the grey cross visible in the lower left of the above picture and is inscribed "Mort pour la France- 19-7-1944". A close up of Mr. Guenard's marker is shown to the right.

Because of confusion during the movement of remains from temporary cemeteries, the remains of one Canadian soldier were misplaced; his tombstone is set apart from the others, and bears an inscription stating that it is known that his remains are in the Bény-sur-Mer cemetery. Bény-sur-Mer contains the remains of 9 sets of brothers, a record for a Second World War cemetery.

A large number of dead in the cemetery were killed in early July 1944, when the Canadians were participating in the Battle for Caen, a particularly hard-fought battle which led to large numbers of casualties. The cemetery also contains soldiers who fell during the initial D-Day storming of Juno Beach. The Canadian Prisoners of War executed at the Ardenne Abbey are interred here. Canadians killed later in the campaign were interred in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery.

Location

The cemetery is about 1 kilometre east of the village of Reviers, in the Calvados commune, on the Creully-Tailleville-Ouistreham road (D.35). It is located 15 kilometres north-west of Caen, 18 kilometres east of Bayeux, and 3.5 kilometres south of Courseulles-sur-Mer. The village of Bény-sur-Mer is some 2 kilometres south-east of the cemetery. The bus service between Caen and Arromanches (via Reviers and Ver-sur-Mer) passes the cemetery. The cemetery can be accessed any time, and tours of the cemetery are available through companies offering tours of historic D-Day locations in the area. The cemetery is easy to find, and plenty of parking is available.

ee also

*List of Cemeteries

References

* [http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub.cfm?source=feature/Normandy/memorials/beny Veterans Affairs Canada]
* [http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub.cfm?source=collections/virtualmem/cem&cemetery=2004600 Veterans Affairs Canada]


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