Near the village of Chouain, in the tiny hamlet of Jerusalem, about 9 km outside Bayeux, lie the remains of 46 Commonwealth war dead plus one.
Back in June of 1944, the tranquillity of this area was shattered as a German armoured column tried to retake Bayeux. They started burying the dead on 10 June. Later, P.D. Hepworth would design what we see today; he included the Cross of Sacrifice, as the magic number of 40 was exceeded.
Jerusalem War Cemetery contains 47 burials, 46 of them named. One of them is unidentified. Among the Commonwealth soldiers is a lone Czech grave.
In what reminds me of a Tabernacle is the Book of the Dead containing the names and current locations of those buried here. We saw the same at the Bayeux War Cemetery. I checked, as I always do, for someone with my dad’s name. I’ve no clue why.
As we walk the rows, reading the names, and saying a quiet prayer in recognition of the sacrifice these boys have made, I wonder for the umpteenth time when we, as a race of sentient beings, will learn.
Perhaps because of its size, it feels so personal. I feel privileged to be there. Knowing that some of the dead have not been forgotten helps.
Not all who died were soldiers. Irish Army Chaplain Revd. Fr. Pascal Hanrahan explains:
It’s a lovely spot, one to search out and detour to if necessary. Thanks to M for the tip.