The only Polish Cemetery in France, near Grainville–Langannerie & Urville


Posted: , Last update: January 6 2016, in Cemeteries. No Comments

Cemetery of the Polish 1st Armoured Division

Cemetery of the Polish 1st Armoured Division

The only Polish cemetery in France lies on the crossroad from Grainville–Langannerie to Urville, kilometres south of Caen.
These fallen soldiers belong to Major–General Stanislaw Maczek and the Polish 1st Armoured Division and fought during the Battle of Normandy in August 1944.

The Polish 1st Division was stationed in Scotland and first saw action during Operation Totalize on 8 to 13 August 1944.
Operation Totalize was an Allied offensive to break through the defensive lines south of Caen. The operation was part of Operation Tractable.
The Division achieved victories against the Wehrmacht on Hill 262 in the Battle for Mont Ormel on 19 to 21 August 1944 and the town of Chambrois.
Chambrois  was the scene of some of the bitterest fighting of the Normandy campaign. Here the Polish 1st Division fought to close the Falaise Gap, and met up with the American 90th Infantry Division on the 19th of September in 1944, playing a crucial part in sealing of the gap and cutting off the escape of the German forces.

Entrance to the Polish Cemetery

Entrance to the Polish Cemetery

Memorial on the Cemetery

Memorial on the Cemetery

Died for the Fatherland with a rosaries

Died for the Fatherland with a rosaries

These soldiers fought side by side with the Allied forces during the European campaign.
They fought alongside the Canadian, British and Americans troops in Europe and with a flanking manoeuvre liberated the city of Breda in the Netherlands without any civilian casualties.
The Division liberated numerous cities from France to Belgium, the Netherlands and ended their campaign in the northern part of Germany.
At its peak the 1st Armoured Division numbered 16.000 soldiers

Jewish Polish Soldiers on the field of honour

Jewish Polish Soldiers on the field of honour

Huge "V" shaped monument

Huge “V” shaped monument

Huge "V" shaped monument from the back

Huge “V” shaped monument from the back

Free Polish forces who fell in other parts of France are all buried here.
There are 696 graves on this Cemetery. They are arranged around a huge “V” shaped monument, with a sculpture on top. It resembles the Polish eagle.
The field of honour is taken care of by the French Anciens Combattant, a veterans association. Unlike other cemeteries you see many religious mementoes as rosaries and such placed on the graves.

The cemetery lies 17 kilometres south of Caen nest to the N158.

Badge of the 1st Armoured Division inspired by armour of Polish winged hussars

Badge of the 1st Armoured Division inspired by armour of Polish winged hussars





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