Relation with Lake (class): Former Lake Area Casualty Cemetery (FLC)
Total nr. of casualties buried here (TC): 3 end WW2.Today 0.
Lake casualties, initially, end WW2 (LC-I): 0
Unknown today: 0
of which unknown from lake (LC-U): 0
of which unknown from North Sea (NS-U): 0
Initial burial site in WW2: yes, Lake Area (LA)
Postwar burial site for concentration of war graves: no
Cemetery with lake casualties today: no.


This cemetery dates from year 1664. It was build on a field outside the city-wall defenses (the bastion), but inside the moat. That water-barrier still runs around this site. Oldest grave is from 1850. Cemetery became full in 1944. A few burials took place until 1960, mainly in family graves. Then the fenced was closed.

Today it is declared a monument with protected status. Walking in during opening hours, the site looks like a museum. Three American airmen were buried here in March 1944 on the last available row at that time. They were exhumed in 1946. Because the cemetery was closed thereafter, time froze. The former American graves are well visible.


Dutch name cem.: Oude begr. plaats.
Full name: Old General Cemetery
Address (usable for car navigation): 
Nieuwstraat 90, Purmerend. 

For reaction or comments: email,
See address and info at CONTACT. 
Please use subject title: 'Purmerend'

USAAF bomber B-24H  42-52450 (458 BG, crew Ballard) came Flak-damaged from Berlin on 6 March 1944 and crashed in a field to the west of here. A monument is erected near the location (N 52°31.066' - E 04°52.829)'. Pilot 2Lt. Ballard had set the auto-pilot to allow the crew to parachute out, but the aircraft was already in a horizontal spin. S/Sgt. Edwin E. Sowles took the pilot-seat because he was not able to jump. In the last moment the aircraft stalled and fell hard to the ground. 

At the time of the crash there were three men on board. Civilians rushed towards the wreck, followed by German soldiers. They saw and recovered only one man, 'the pilot' in the smashed cockpit. This was Engineer S/Sgt. E. Sowles, but his name was not known at that time. Report in the MACR: "The aviator was found dead in the cockpit of the plane. He had no specific characteristics. Fraction of several bones. The face was smashed beyond identification". No ID-tags were found on him. He was brought in a coffin to 'Stadsziekenhuis'-hospital and stayed for one night in the hospitals morgue. On the 8th of March 1944 he was buried here as unknown American airman on the empty spot left on photo below. The first civilian headstone next on this row has date May 1944.

As was standard procedure, a Luftwaffe wreck-recovery team from Bergen (aan zee) airfield came on the scene on 16th March. They recovered two bodies from the wreck and handed them over to the Dutch police. They were identified as James Nemeth and officer H. Bengry. Buried here on March 17, next to the airman buried March 8. 

Photo below: other graves.

Other graves in Purmerend.

Photo below: Plot on the right hand side when entering through the main gate.

Entrance. Only open on weekdays Mon-Friday.

Sources/read more:

- website
- website

Only S/Sgt. James Nemeth is buried in US War Cemetery "Netherlands" (Margraten) today. The others were reburied via Margraten in the USA in 1950.
Website Grave of Sgt. Nemeth.

ZZairwar (Zuyder Zee Air War).