Relation with Lake (class): Lake Casualty Cemetery (LCC)  
Total nr. of casualties buried here (TC) end WW2: at least 10, today: 9. 
Lake casualties, initially, end WW2 (LC-I): 4
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 Cemetery East side of Lake (LCE)
Post war burial site for collection and reburial from other sites: no.  
Cemetery with Lake casualties today: yes (LCE).


Workum is a small city that is located at the Old Zuyder Sea dike (the red line on below map). Long time ago, land-winning projects started outside the dike. That resulted in polders on the seafront. The harbour was kept open thanks to a long canal to the sea, with a lighthouse and a breaker dam at the entrance. The polder north of the canal was named 'Workumer Waard', but the upper polder-half belonged to Gaast. The polder south towards Hindeloopen was named 'Workumer Nieuwland'. In WW2, Workum had about 4km of the polder coastline to guard. South of the lighthouse it had about 1km and north some 3km to patrol.


Dutch name cemetery: Algemene Begr. pl. 'Spoordijk'. 
Full name: Workum (Spoordyk) General Cemetery.
Address (usable for car navigation):
Spoordijk 50, Workum.

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In one year, from April 1943 to May 1944, 10 Allied airmen were buried here. They were on bombing missions to Essen, Dortmund, Bochum and Osnabrück/Münster. Four of them washed ashore on Workums coastline, or were brought in by fishermen. A Lancaster crew crashed just south of Workum in a meadow. Today nine airmen rest here, all identified. One American airman was exhumed after the war. If also washed ashore non-identified American airmen were exhumed is under investigation.   

Photo below: The first RAF airman to be interred here (grave 1) was F/O Leonard  W. Sprackling. Navigator of Lancaster I, W4847, 83 Sqn, OL-V. Crashed in the lake night 5/6 March 1943 west of here. He washed ashore weeks later. Three men of his crew also drifted ashore nearby. Sgt. Roy Fulton and Sgt. John L. Organ both buried in Hindeloopen and Sgt. Arthur D. Dinnis in Gaast, buried Makkum. Three men are MIA: still in the wreck or buried as 'Known to God' RAF airman on this coastline with date on headstone between March 1943 - December 1943.

Photo below: the middle six graves (grave 2 - 7) are crew of Lancaster I, W4888, 101 Sqn, crashed night 4/5 May 1943 in a field south of Workum. Only P/O Paterson survived.

Lancaster III, ED603, 83 Sqn, OL-O, night 12/13 June 1943.
This pathfinder-bomber with elite (officer) crew, was hit by a German nightfighter and made a hard emergency landing in the North of the Lake, a few km under the Afsluitdyk (the closure dam that turned the Old Zuyder Sea into Lake IJsselmeer). The aircraft flipped-over when it hit the water, broke in two and came upside-down n the bottom. All the crew were killed in the crash or drowned. The wind blew west to east and four men of the crew washed-up on this coast. Pilot F/O Eric A. Tilbury is buried in Stavoren. Rear gunner F/O Gordon R. Sugar rests in Hindeloopen. P/O Arthur G. Fletcher and W/O Harold E. Howsam and here in Workum in grave 8 and 9.

The wreck of the ED603 was discovered in April 1996 by fishermen. It lays on the bottom on its back, half sunken in the sand, one bomb door open. When this aircraft will be recovered in future (2015?), there is a chance that human remains will be found in the fuselage-section behind the cockpit. The three men MIA of this crew are Radio Operator F/Sgt. Raymond E. Moore, Middle Upper Turret Gunner P/O Charles F.J. Sprack and Engineer P/O Arthur Smart. All three were decorated with the DFM.

The row with headstones in Workum. Burial started left in grave 1. On the right side is the exhumed grave no. 10 (Ray Cook) and there is room for an 11th and 12th grave. If non-identified American airmen were in grave 11 and 12 needs further research. If there were exhumed, this would have been done approx. 1946 by a team from an American Quarter Master Grave Registration Cie. and they would have been taken to the US ID-centre and cemetery in Neuville-en-Condroz, today Neupré American Cemetery "Ardennes" (Belgium). 

B-24D Liberator 42-63969, 93 Bomb Group
In grave number 10 lay American USAAF Sgt. Ray (or Roy) Cook (NMI), from Portsmouth, Ohio, USA. He washed ashore here end May 1944. His aircraft was a B-24D, 93BG, 42-63969. This aircraft is officially missing, but it crashed into lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea) on the infamous 22 December 1943. It was last seen taking evasive action east of Genemuiden, heading west towards the UK. It crashed in the centre or northern section of the lake, based on course and initial burial locations of 4 crew members, at least 42km north-east of Amsterdam. 

Pilot Lt. Grady G. Hunt (Gaast, buried Makkum) and Sgt. Ray Cook washed ashore and were buried on the Eastern shore. Co-pilot 2Lt. Joe P. Congelli and tail gunner Sgt. James W. Bennet on the Northwestern shore (Wieringermeerpolderdijk). The aircraft and missing crew were not found so far. Sgt. Cook today rests in American war cemetery 'Netherlands' in Margraten.

 Sources/read more:

- CWGC on Workum
- site    (more info and year 1948 photos of Workum cemetery).
  When in the top section of this site, allow 30 seconds to load (big page), then press   CTRL + F   and enter   2649504   in the search field.  

 © ZZairwar (Zuyder Zee Air war).