Relation with Lake (class): Lake Casualty Cemetery (LCC)  
Total nr. of casualties buried here (TC): 740 end WW2, today 1300. 
Lake casualties, initially, end WW2 (LC-I): 0
Unknown today: 120. 
of which unknown from Lake (LC-U): 4
of which unknown from North Sea (NS-U): appox. 100.
Initial burial site in WW2: yes.
Post war concentration cemetery: yes 
Cemetery with Lake casualties today: yes (LCW).


This area became a battlefield in October 1944: the battle for the Scheldt river estuary. Goal was to open the harbour entrance to Antwerp. Thousands of Allied soldiers lost their lives in this operation. Outside Bergen-op-Zoom a cemetery was created. Because half of the casualties were Canadian, the cemetery was split into a Canadian section (Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery) and an English section (Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery). Design and lay-out of each field is very different.

After the battle and post-war, both locations became war grave concentration sites. Originally the English section contained some 500 British Army soldiers and Royal Marine Commandos, killed in the fighting around the Scheldt river. Later were brought over to here (concentrated) more than 800 war graves from other locations in the Netherlands. Most were airmen (500), soldiers (summer 1940 washed ashore Dunkirk victims) and sailors. They came from nearby German Wouwseweg military cemetery and from Dutch (coastal) cemeteries that were cleared and moved to Bergen-op-Zoom completely.  


Dutch name cemetery: Bergen-op-Zoom Engelse oorlogsbegraafplaats.  
Full name: Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery
Address (usable for car navigation):
Ruytershoveweg 30 (via motorway A58, exit 26 'Heerle',
or via BOZ centre (Philip Morris factory).

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The other cemeteries moved towards the Bergen-op-Zoom war cemetery.

Before the battle here in October 1944, there was already a cemetery for military dead on this road (Wouwseweg), a bit closer to Bergen-op-Zoom. This was set up by the German occupation army. Buried there were also American airmen, for example the crew of Fortress B-17 42-30021, crashed in the sea here 22 June 1943. Wouwseweg cemetery was the first cemetery that was enclosed into Bergen-op-Zoom war cemetery. The Americans were moved to the US war cemeteries in Neuville and Margraten. 

Other important (coastal) war grave sites moved to here were: Haamstede (south-west of Rotterdam), Petten en Den Helder. Together with Wouwseweg, these cemeteries brought the most of the 120 non-identified men and the other nationalities to Bergen-op-Zoom; 24 Polish (of which 22 airmen), Czech, Australians, New Zealanders, Belgians and 47 Canadian airmen.  

 Den Helder and Petten

Last plots placed on Bergen-op-Zoom war cemetery (nearest to the entrance) are rows 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34. These were formed with 200 casualties, most washed ashore airmen, from Den Helder 'Huisduinen' cemetery (the blue dot on map below) and Petten (red dot). With Den Helder came also 4 non-identified victims from lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea). They were recovered along the Wieringermeer-dike ('3' on below map). Details on the nearly 40 non-identified washed ashore men in the Den Helder and Petten plots can be found in our database (search menu).

Photo below: Unknown Belgian "Fallen for Belgium, died 11 October 1943".

Text on headstone is not entirely correct: he washed ashore on 10 October 1943, on the Wadden-Sea (east) side of Den Helder (Balgzand) and was buried 11 October 1943 in grave 207, Huisduinen cemetery. His dead can have occurred between mid January 1943 and 10 October 1943. The Germans recorded: "Sergt. Belg. Staatsangeh√∂rigkeit". We believe he is probably a Belgian Sgt. flying in the RAF. Now in grave 27.B.4 (just above 33). Who is he? 

  The Polish casualties on Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery.

See for their stories and photo's website the Alphabetic Register

  The 2 airmen of the 3rd of July 1945.

The headstones of 2 non-identified airmen, next to each other in grave 31.C.10 and 31.C.11. They washed simultaneously ashore on 3rd of July 1945, onto the North Sea beach of Callantsoog, between Petten en Den Helder. Initially buried in Den Helder, Huisduinen cemetery, the last 2 washed ashore Allied. 3 July 1945 was 2 months after WW2's end.

3rd July 1945 is their wash ashore date. Date of death (crash in the North Sea) can lay between November 1944 and July 2nd 1945. Because of the omission of the RAF-wings on the headstones, they are probably not Commonwealth. Therefore likely to be Polish, French, Belgian? Initially, rank on one of them was recorded as "a Captain".


- research files ZZairwar on BOZ, 2011
- site Wings to Victory
- site CWGC
- book: "Opgegraven Verleden". By Jan Carsjens & Piet Riteco, Den Helder 2005.

© ZZairwar (Zuyder Zee Air War).