Relation with Lake (class): Former Lake Cemetery (FLC)  
Total nr. of Allied casualties buried here (TC): 189 end WW2, today 0. 
Lake casualties, initially, end WW2 (LC-I): 4
Unknown today: 24, all airmen & naval, 
of which unknown from Lake (LC-U): 2
of which unknown from North Sea (NS-U): 20
Initial burial site in WW2: yes, Lake Cemetery West side of Lake (LCW)
Post war burial site for collection and reburial from other sites: no
Cemetery with Lake casualties today: no


Den Helder was/is an important naval base on the tip of a peninsula. During WW2, Allied airmen washed-up on all sides, were brought-in by boats or crashed in the area after a raid on Germany or Den Helder itself. To bury them, the Catholic Cemetery in Huisduinen (a small village west of Den Helder) was extended with a military plot. The German Navy (Kriegsmarine) buried their own war dead there, but also 189 Allied servicemen. This was done with military honor throughout the war. Recovery area were the Noordkop-Wieringen region (NW), North Sea and the 15km North Sea coastline, the tidal sandbanks of the Balgzand-Breehorn (1), the Wadden Sea (2), the first 20km along the closure-dam of the Old-Zuyder Sea, on both north- and south side. And a part of the Wieringermeerpolder-dike at lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea) (3).   


Dutch name cemetery: Huisduinen RK begr. pl.  
Full name: Huisduinen Roman Catholic Cemetery
Address (usable for car navigation):
Jan Verfailleweg 20, Huisduinen, Den Helder.

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see address and info at CONTACT.
Please use as subject title: 'Huisduinen'.

North of Den Helder is the Frisian Island of Texel. Here also approx. 180 Allied airmen were buried. To the South of Den Helder, some 12 km (7,5 miles) down the coastline is the village of Callantsoog and on 20km south is Petten. Recovered airmen on the beach near these villages were sometimes buried locally, but for north of Callantsoog the designated cemetery was Huisduinen. More inland south-west are Wieringerwaard and Kolhorn cemeteries. Here lay victims of local crashes, no washed ashore airmen. East are 2 war grave sites on the former island of Wieringen. 

The Huisduinen Cemetery was cleared between 1945 and 1949. Read here for some statistics on it. 


The Huisduinen cemetery was cleared after the war and the Commonwealth and Polish war dead, including all unidentified RAF men, were reburied in Bergen-op-Zoom on the CWGC war cemetery there.

Photo right: At Bergen-op-Zoom they kept the Huisduinen casualties together in the blue plots near the entrance, on rows 33, 31, 29, 30, 32 and 34 (marked blue). 

Six Canadian airmen were reburied in Bergen-op-Zoom on the adjacent Canadian section (Canadian War Cemetery Bergen-op-Zoom). 

The rows in red, row 28 B and 30 A, are not from Huisduinen, but from Huisduinen's sister community Petten. 


Aerial photo below: Den Helder during WW2 and the position of Huisduinen War Cemetery between Fort Kijkduin and Fort Dirks Admiraal.   

Den Helder was fortified well before WW2, but the Germans extended the perimeter more to the South (image shows only the top) and made the whole peninsula an anti-invasion Atlantic Wall 'Festung'. It had a 360° defense but also the inside pocket was packed with all kinds of bunkers and strongpoints (W.N. = Widerstands-neste), coastal batteries ('Seeziel = Sea target), radar, heavy and light Flak positions, airfield "De Kooy", etc. The port and the bay in front of it was full with patrol boats, convoys, MTB's and of course the ferry, lifeline to Texel island. 

The 4th of July attack 1942

On the 4th of July 1942 a daring air raid took place on Den Helder's airfield "De Kooy". Because of independence day and to mark the start of the 8th AF operations in the ETO, General Hap Arnold ordered a (publicity) attack on 4 German occupied airfields along the Dutch coast (from south to north: airfields "Haamstede", "Valkenburg", "Bergen (aan Zee)" and "De Kooy"). However, no 8th Airforce squadrons in the UK were available yet. Therefore 6 American light bomber crews of 15th Bomb Sqn USAAF, who were in training with the RAF, could join-up for this raid with the experienced RAF 226 Sqn. Each American crew received a RAF Boston Mk.III for the occasion. 226 Sqn added 6 aircraft with own crews, which brought the total amount for the attack on 12: a flight of 3 aircraft for each target.

Photo right; 
RAF Bostons mk. III, 1941. 

Boston mk. III was the English code name for the US-build Douglas DB-7A ("Douglas Bomber-7"). Build 1940 and delivered to the RAF.

A light bomber with crew of 3 or 4 men. Powered with the Pratt & Whitney R-2600 Twin Cyclone (1600 hp-1195 kW).

When the aircraft later came available for the USAAF they named it the A-20 Havoc. 

In from the North Sea

The flight to attack airfield "De Kooy" was led by a Boston with English crew. The three a/c came in very low from the North Sea and entered at Pole 1 (p1, see map above). The alarm had sounded 2 minutes earlier and the German light Flak gunners were ready. Gun positions 'Falga', 'Duinrand', 'Fort Kijkduin' and 'Fort Westoever' opened-up (see map above). The rear-gunners in the Bostons shot in return on everything they saw. Each a/c had a rear-camera. The picture below shows they also fired on the old Napoleon-fort Dirks Admiraal. The Germans inside had the morning breakfast on the stove.

Photo right: shots fired from the Bostons in passing over the earth and grass covered bunkers of fort Dirks Admiraal. The Germans have something cooking (chimney on top). 

Boston III, AL677, 2Lt. Frederick A. Loehrl (USAAF) shot down

Seconds after entering the three a/c started banking south for the airfield and few into the Flak-barrage put up by the units round the field. The cockpit of the second plane (USAAF-crew Lt. Loehrl) was shot off. The plane flew on in fire and crashed a few hundred meters over the dyke on the seawater of the Balgzand, passing over W.N. 102a. At least one crew member came out, but only 2Lt. Marshall D. Draper survived. He was one of the first 8th AF POW.

The very strong current caught Sgt. Robert L. Whitham and a week later his body was found 40km (25 miles) up north-east. He was buried in the Dutch sea-port town Harlingen. Pilot 2Lt. Fred A. Loehrl also washed away and is still MIA.

During low tide the wreck of Lt. Loehrl's Boston became visible and three days later the body of gunner Corporal James W. Wright was recovered by the Germans from the wreck and buried on the 10th of July 1942. At that date already 70 Allied were interred here on the Huisduinen War Cemetery, but James Wright was the first American. He now rests on the USA war cemetery "Ardennes" in Neupré (Neuville-en-Condroz), Belgium. 

Captain Kegelman

The third Boston of the flight was manned by USAAF Captain Charles Kegelman and his crew. Flying next to the other 2 aircraft, his right propeller was shot-off by the 20mm Flak and the engine caught fire. His aircraft was already flying low, but because of the loss of power on this engine, the aircraft dropped to the ground and dragged with it's wingtip and tail through the grass. By giving all power to the other engine the plane lifted, flew on and Kegelman dropped his bombs (with 11 seconds time delay fuses) on the airfield and gave a flak tower a burst with his forward set of .303". Whether the bombs exploded is not known. Completing his half circle back to the North Sea at Callantsoog, Kegelman could join his RAF flight leader and together they flew home to base at Swanton Morley. 


Above picture: a few days before, on June 29th 1942, Kegelman and his crew made the first 8th Airforce air attack on occupied Europe. This was a raid on the Northern France railroad centre at Hazebrouck near Dunkirk, also as trainee with RAF 226 Sqn. On return on the 4th of July raid on the Kooy airfield, Captain Kegelman was awarded the D.S.C.-medal. His crew got the D.F.C. Above, from left to right: Sgt. Bennie B. Cunningham, Sgt. Robert L. Golay, Lt. Randall M. Dorton and Captain Charles C. Kegelman, wearing his medal. In his right hand he holds his (English-style) helmet. The Tommy-hat and the sac with gas mask were a mandatory piece of kit on the English airfields in those days, even during a ceremony. On the left, Sgt. Cunningham has laid his helmet down in the grass for a moment.

The attack on Bergen airfield, crash of USAAF crew Lt. William G. Lynn.

The attack on the 2 most southern airfields Haamstede and Valkeburg didn't lead to Allied casualties. But when Kegelmann and Loerhl attacked de Kooy, another flight of 226 Sqn attacked Bergen (aan Zee) airfield, just 30km to the South and on the same coastline. At Bergen the Flak was in a state of alert and waiting for the flight of 3 aircraft. The Boston with USAAF crew of 2Lt. William G. Lynn was shot down and exploded on the ground on the airfield terrain, in the North-West corner, near the airfield boundary (photo's of the crash exist). The other crew in this aircraft killed were 2Lt. Boyd S. Grant, S/Sgt. W.E. Murphy and gunner Corporal C.P. Kramarewicz. The other 2 Bostons bombed successfully and rushed back to England, but one did not get far.  

Rathenow, Grütz and RAF crew P/O Charles M. Henning. 

Because of the early alarm on Bergen airfield, 2 German pilots ran to their fighters and tried to take off during the attack. Uffz. Hans Rathenow succeeded, but his collegue Uffz. Erwin Grütz was hit by shrapnel of the Boston's exploding bombs. He drove his fighter into a barrack and got killed. The story goes that he was found in the cockpit in his underwear.

Rathenow is then in pursuit of the Bostons over the North Sea. 15 km off Callantsoog he finds one (4 Bostons were there at that time). He shoots 1 Boston down. This was not Templeman's crippled aircraft, but the Z2213 MQ-U with English crew of 226 Sqn. The RAF airmen crashed into the North Sea and were never found. MIA: P/O Charles M. Henning, Sgt. Percey J. Voyzey and Sgt. Herbert T. Willig. They are on the Runnymede memorial. 

The balance

In total 3 Bostons and 12 men (1 POW: 2Lt. Marshall Draper) did not return on Swanton Morley after the 4th of July raid, which casted a shadow over Kegelman's award celebration.

On the 6th of July 1942 in total 9 coffins with national flags stood ready for burial at Bergen (aan Zee), Holland. A German soldier behind each coffin was holding a wreath. The 4 Americans (Lynn's crew) were among the first 8th Airforce men buried in the Netherlands. The coffin of the crashed German fighter pilot Unteroffizier Erwin Grütz stood next to them during the ceremony. On the other side of the row stood 4 more coffins with dead airmen that crashed in the area on July the 3rd and June 26. They were Australian Pilot Officer P. Sullivan, his English Sgts. W. Adamson and J.A. Eyers and Polish RAF-airman Zygmunt Wieczorek. Has recovered from the wreck of a 18 OTU (PAF) Wellington crashed at Andijk on the Lake coast. 

- Book 'Opgegraven Verleden' by Jan Carsjens and Piet Riteco, 2005
- Book 'Vliegveld Bergen NH 1939-1945' by J.H. Schuurman, 2001

- Site History of  Rickard, J. The First USAAF crew to attack a target in occupied Europe.
- Site Internet forums on 4th of July 1942
- Site ABMC
- Site
- Site
- ZZairwar research on the war cemeteries in the area and Bergen-op-Zoom 2008. 

© zzairwar