Relation with Lake (class): None. Cemetery without lake link. 
Total nr. of casualties buried here (TC): approx. 67 end WW2, today 54.
Lake casualties, initially, end WW2 (LC-I): 0
Unknown today: 20.
of which unknown from Lake (LC-U): 0
of which unknown from North Sea (NS-U): 20
Initial burial site in WW2. 
Post war burial site for collection and reburial from other sites: no. 
Cemetery with Lake casualties today: no. 


Coastal cemetery for a large section of North Sea beach (13,5 km). To the South was Wassenaar cemetery, to the North Zandvoort from where washed ashore victims were brought for burial to Amsterdam (Nieuwe Ooster Cemetery). 52 Commonwealth washed ashore casualties are buried today in Noordwijk, 19 of them not identified. Most are airman. There are also 2 Polish airmen here. Eight washed ashore French soldiers were exhumed in 1949, as also 5 Dutch soldiers in 1962 and at least one American airman in 1946. 

Noordwijk General Cemetery is exceptionally well maintained and has probably the most beautiful situated war graves plot in Holland. The cemetery has several layers terraces that run up to the sides of the field. The scenery is more Italian than Dutch. In the centre at the cross of sacrifice is a Commonwealth WW1 (1914-1918) war graves plot. On the left side of the cross is a 4-level terrace with 54 WW2 war graves. The cemetery is a genuine sea-cemetery and because it contains 20 non-identified men, it is an important site for WW2 airwar/MIA research. This website-article provides only a short impression on this extraordinary location.

Dutch name cemetery: Alg. begr. pl. Oude Zeeweg.  
Full name: Noordwijk General Cemetery.
Address (usable for car navigation):
Oude Zeeweg 32, Noordwijk (aan Zee). 

For reaction or comments; send us an email,
see address and info at CONTACT.
Please use as subject title: 'Noordwijk'.

Photo below: Cross of Sacrifice at the WW1 plot. It is surrounded by civilian graves. Under the trees are the terraces with the 54 WW2 war graves. The single white headstone that stands alone in the distance (at the left side of the brick wall) is the Polish grave which contains 2 casualties. 

Photo below: The path along the WW1 plot leads to the terraces. These WW1 casualties were assembled to here in 1920 from cemeteries all along the Dutch coast.

Plan below: Map situation approx. 1944. 

The half circle stairs leads up terrace level 1. In total there are 4 levels; level 1 is the lowest and holds Plot (VAK) V and VI, level 2 holds Plots III, II and IV, level 3 holds Plot I and the top level 4 is a footpath. War burials started in the summer of 1940 on level 2 and 3. Someone with foreseeing vision grouped the first 20 washed ashore men by nationality and buried them in a different plots, a plot for each nationality where there was also room for expansion.

LEVEL 3. PLOT I (VAK I). The first 8 casualties from the UK were layed to rest in Plot 1. This plot was empty and had the most free space. By 1942 it was full with over 30 Commonwealth war dead. As everywhere on the war graves terraces, 2 coffins were lowered in each grave (on top of each other) to save space. On the map below a capital letter (handwritten character) was added to mark the nationality of the man in each coffin. E stands for English, NZ for New Zealand, C for Canada.

LEVEL 2. PLOT 2 (VAK II.) Civilians were already buried in this plot. This section was completed with the 8 French soldiers (F). Since the exhumation of the French in 1949 and the civilians, Plot 2 was left empty and has since then overgrown with fern and bush. In fact, all war graves on this terrace-level were cleared, except for the Polish grave in Plot IV, grave 3-4. The Polish headstone is now the only headstone on level 2.

LEVEL 2. PLOT 3 (VAK III). Here were buried most Dutch and German unknown soldiers (O). Plot has been cleared. 

LEVEL 2. PLOT 4 (VAK IV.) The first Polish airman (P) was buried on 19 September 1940 in grave 3-4, in the last empty grave in this plot between civilians. A year another Polish airman was lowered in this grave which completed the grave aswell as the plot. The CWGC today names this plot 'Plot 3', but in fact it is Plot 4 (IV).   

LEVEL 1. PLOT 5 (VAK V.) and PLOT 6 (VAK VI.). These plots were formed when Plot 1 was full. Plot 5 & 6 contain(ed) also Australian (Au) and Dutch (H) casualties.


Photo below: The half-circle steps enter the first terrace (Level 1), view to the right: Plot 6. Most graves (stone) contains 2 coffins above each other ('Joint grave'). Here are 5 headstones with 8 men buried. 5 men are not identified. One of them is a Wing Commander.

Photo below: On the half circle steps, view towards left: Plot 5. Six airmen lay here (3 x 2). They washed ashore on different dates. Five are not identified. F/Sgt. J. Crowe from Canada is the only identified airman in this plot in the grave most right (Plot 5, joint grave 3, 1-deep).

The French Dunkirk victims

Around 30 July 1940, 2 months after the Dunkirk evacuation (26 May-3rd June 1940), 8 French soldiers washed ashore and were buried here in Plot 2 (VAK II). In 1949 they were exhumed and moved. Three unidentified and 3 by name were reburied in Kapelle (NL) on the central French war cemetery in the Netherlands. Two men: August Darras and Jean Louis L.M. Hamon were reburied in their homeland. See below scheme. 

Photo below: View to the left from Level 3, Plot 1. Overlooking the overgrown Level 2, Plot 2, where once the French soldiers were buried. The Polish stone stands in the old Plot 4 (VAK IV). It stands alone since the civilians and other war graves on this level were moved. Further down near the brick wall is Level 1. Here are the 5 headstones of Plot 6, but 8 airmen rest here (5 not identified). Two Dutch and the American airman were moved from this plot. The 2nd stone from left in Plot 6 is of an unknown RAF Wing Commander (see photo below). Cross of Sacrifice stands on the WW1 plot below in the centre field. 

Below: Known unto God, Wing Commander in Plot 6, grave 4. Also this grave use to be a grave with 2 coffins ('Joint grave'), but the other airman was moved.  


The 2 washed ashore Polish airmen were buried Level 2, Plot 4 (VAK IV.), grave 3-4. Each in his own coffin, sharing the headstone as all airmen on this cemetery. The unidentified Polish airman found on 19 September 1940 was buried first and lays 2-deep. For the next year no Allied servicemen washed ashore at Noordwijk and the top position in this grave remained empty and waiting. Then, by coincidence, the next airman brought by the sea was also Polish. It was Por. (Flying Officer) Sobieralski. Porucznik Feliks Sobieralski crashed in the North Sea on 6th May 1941. Washed ashore here 14 September 1941.

The Germans recorded for the unknown Polish Airman on 19 September 1940: 'Polish' and 'R.A.F'. We believe he was a Polish Hurricane or Spitfire fighter pilot, shot down over the Channel/North Sea during the battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 ('never was so much owned by so many to so few'). In a post war examination on the skeleton on 14/15 May 1946 by the RAF No.2 Missing Research & Enquiry Unit, it was established that this man had undergone dental restoration in life. In the upper jaw on the left side was a golden bridge and a golden crown on the right. Can anyone identify him? 

For more info and photo's on Sobieralski see the Noordwijk page on site Polish War 

Photo below: Terrace Level 3, Plot 1 (VAK I.). Under each headstone are 2 coffins ('Joint Graves'). The headstones therefore have 2 inscriptions. The dates on each stone can lay up to 2 years apart. Nine men in this row are not identified (2 RN sailors, 7 airmen).

Photo below: View from Level 3, Plot I to the right. Looking towards the 3 headstones in Plot 5 (6 coffins) in the direction of the cemetery entrance.

Photo below: Noordwijk Cemetery entrance.

 The American 

At least 1 American airman washed ashore here. He was identified by the Germans and had his name and service number on the cross. This was 1Lt. Frederick J. Busch. He was a crew member of a 9th Airforce B-26 Marauder 42-107581 of the USAAF 387BG. Shot down by Flak off Dunkirk (France) in the Channel on 12 April 1944. His body followed exact the same route in the North Sea as the 8 French soldiers from Dunkirk in 1940. The aircraft was piloted by Lt. Col. Jack Caldwell. Crew members were also 1Lt. Donald L. Standard and Capt. Richard C. Moffitt. These 3 men are MIA. 

It is possible 1 or 2 unidentified American airmen were also buried at Noordwijk. Found and brought with Lt. Busch to US Cemetery "Ardennes" by the 605 Q.M. Graves Registration Company, 1st. Platoon. They were here on February 25, 1946. This needs further research.

The Dutch 

Plot 3 (VAK III) does not exist anymore since the men here were exhumed and moved to other grave positions in 1962. Two Dutch Dunkirk victims were brought from here to cemetery 'Rusthof' in the Dutch town Amersfoort. Also a Dutch soldier washed ashore on 10 September 1944 and 2 Dutch soldiers initially buried here on 26 October 1945 were brought over to Amersfoort.

The Germans 

German airmen and soldiers frequently washed ashore and were buried here. Some were moved by their own forces to the German military assembly cemeteries in Katwijk (Valkenburg airbase) and The Hague. All were reburied in Ysselsteyn (NL). 

The Unknown

The headstone info on each of the 20 non-identified men on this cemetery can be found in our database 'Buried as unknown' in the Search Menu.


- Archive city of Leiden
- site
- site ABMC
- site CWGC on Noordwijk cemetery
- Reseach files ZZairwar on Noordwijk 2011-2013
- site Bevrijdingsmuseum Zeeland 

© ZZairwar.