Cemetery: COXYDE MILITARY CEMETERY, Koksijde, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Grave Reference/Panel Number: III. A. 18.
Location: Coxyde Military Cemetery is located 1 kilometre beyond the village of Koksijde
on the N396 towards De Panne. From Koksijde Dorp the N396, Houtsaegerlaan crosses
the Zeelaan and at the same time changes its name to Robert Vandammestraat. 1 kilometre
along the Robert Vandammestraat N369, on the right hand side, lies the cemetery.
Historical Information: In June 1917, Commonwealth forces relieved French forces
on 6 kilometres of front line from the sea to a point south of Nieuport (now Nieuwpoort),
and held this sector for six months. Coxyde (now Koksijde) was about 10 kilometres
behind the front line. The village was used for rest billets and was occasionally
shelled, but the cemetery, which had been started by French troops, was found to
be reasonably safe. It became the most important of the Commonwealth cemeteries on
the Belgian coast and was used at night for the burial of the dead brought back from
the front line. The French returned to the sector in December 1917 and continued
to use the cemetery, and during 1918, Commonwealth naval casualties from bases in
Dunkirk (now Dunkerque) were buried there. After the Armistice, graves were brought
into the cemetery from isolated sites and from other cemeteries in the area. The
cemetery was used again during the Second World War, chiefly for the burial of casualties
sustained during the defence of the Dunkirk-Nieuport perimeter in May 1940. The cemetery
now contains 1,507 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, the French graves
from this period having since been removed. Of the 154 Second World War burials,
22 are unidentified. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.