Cerny-en-Laonnois – Chemin des Dames

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Chapel-Memorial in the background

Cerny-en-Laonnois French War Cemetery is located in Cerny-en-Laonnois, a small village located at the crossroads of the D18CD – Chemin des Dames with the D967.

From there you can clearly see the spires of the cathedrals of Soissons, Laon and Reims in the distance.

The village was right in the sector of the Battle of the Chemin des Dames during WWI.

It was entirely destroyed, as were 18 other villages located along the ridge.

All that was left of the area was a lunar landscape declared Red Zone after the war.

The village was rebuilt in 1924, however, a few hundred meters from its original location!

Cerny-en-Laonnois has since become a Site of Remembrance along the Chemin des Dames.

Several memorials were built there and two war cemeteries open, a French and a German.

Cerny-en-Laonnois French War Cemetery – Chemin des Dames

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General view of the cemetery

Cerny-en-Laonnois French War Cemetery is located along the D18CD – Chemin des Dames.

You’ll find it opposite the Chapel-Memorial and the Lantern of the Dead.

Both monuments can be seen from every corner of the cemetery.

Cerny-en-Laonnois French War Cemetery was opened between 1919 and 1925.

It covers an area of 13,515m2.

It is adjacent to the German War Cemetery, into which it directly leads.

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Muslim and Christian graves

It contains the remains of the men who died during the offensives on the Plateaux de Vauclerc, Vendresse and Troyon.

It also contains those of the men initially buried in the temporary cemeteries in Beaulne, Paissy, Braye-en-Laonnois and Moulins.

Sadly, 2386 out the 5150 men buried there couldn’t be identified.

Their remains were placed in the ossuary located near the entrance to the German War Cemetery.

As you visit the cemetery, you walk between lines after lines of white cement Christian crosses.

Among these, you’ll also find several Muslim tombstones because there is no special Muslin section in this cemetery.

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Ossuary

These are the graves of the soldiers of the French Colonial Troops.

They are inscribed in Arabic and face Mecca.

You’ll also find the graves of 54 Russian soldiers.

On July 8, 1962, General de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer came to pray at the graves of French and German soldiers buried in the two cemeteries.

They celebrated Peace and Reconciliation between our two countries.

Cerny-en-Laonnois French War Cemetery was fully renovated in 1972.

Here are the official links to the WWI 100th Anniversary Commemorations:

Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, starting on July 1st 2016

Mission Centenaire 14-18 in English

Location: Department of Aisne – Picardie region

Coordinates for Cerny-en-Laonnois French War Cemetery: Lat 49.442627 – Long 3.666462