Garden of memory, the Ranville military cemetery is a place of silence that speaks of war and inspires peace. Both allies and enemies, many soldiers rest there, forever linked by an event that marked our history and that of Normandy.

A cemetery completed in 1952

This is at Ranville, a town bordering the Orne, that this military cemetery is located, one of sixteen british cemeteries from Normandy. Completed in 1952, it brings together soldiers from the first airborne units and players from the last battles north and east of Caen.

8 nations present

Ranked second by the number of its graves (2), 564 nations of soldiers are represented there: 8 British, 2 Germans, 152 Canadians, 322 New Zealanders, 76 Australians, 3 French, 2 Pole, 5 Belgian and 1 soldiers not identified. The youngest was 1 years old.


Landscaped garden

Piere tombale cimetière de Ranville

Designed by architect and landscaper Philip Hepworth, the place is laid out in compliance with prescriptions which themselves comply with a royal charter of 1917. An essential principle is respected, that of individual commemoration. Indeed, each soldier is honored by a rectangular stele in white stone on which appears: 

  • the emblem of his regiment;
  • his number ;
  • his number:
  • his rank:
  • his name (or the mention “known unto God”);
  • his unit.

At the bottom is engraved an inscription chosen by relatives. A large white cross, the cross of sacrifice, stands in the cemetery.

It should give the impression of a garden rather than an ordinary cemetery.

Porche du cimetière de Ranville

Once through the stone porch, there is a landscaped garden built under the recommendations of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which presents itself: 

  • a beech hedge;
  • oak trees;
  • lawn;
  • lavender and rosebushes whose bright colors bloom against the white of the stelae in the flowering season.

The first hero of June 6

The importance of military cemeteries reflects a British tradition that a soldier killed in action rests on the ground where he fell. In Ranville, a whole part of the civil cemetery forever welcomes the first dead of the liberation of June 6.

Among the 47 soldiers buried there today is Den Brotheridge, a 29-year-old English lieutenant often cited as the first Allied soldier to die during the D-Day landings.