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Coxyde Military Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0689


Address Koksijde, West-Vlaanderen Belgium


Koksijde lay around ten km from the front. The village was used as a place where the troops could rest, and it was red upon by the artillery now and again. The cemetery was originally constructed by the French, but it grew to become the most important British cemetery on the Belgian coast. The British made temporary used of the cemetery from June to December 1917. British Navy casualties were also buried here and, after the Armistice, graves from the front and from smaller cemeteries in the vicinity were transferred here. After the war, the French graves were removed, and during the Second World War the cemetery was again used for the soldiers who fell while defending Dunkirk.

The cemetery lies in the dunes on a slightly sloping piece of ground. The Cross of Sacrifice has been placed high up in the dunes, on the northwest side of the cemetery. From the entrance at the road, which consists of a double gateway between two low natural stone walls, a borderwalk of grass leads to a second entrance, formed by a landing with two steps and four posts flanked by two pillars with urns. These pillars with urns also occur at Brussels Town Cemetery and at Étaples Military Cemetery, a cemetery that also lies in the dunes but is considerably further south along the French coast. The cemetery is hidden from view by a high hedge, and only the Cross is visible from a distance. Beyond the second entrance, the visitor reaches the War Stone, located slightly in front of two pavilions to the left and right of the entrance.

The pavilions mark a short lateral axis that is concluded by two land tablets that are located in the buildings. Lutyens and his assistant architect Goldsmith applied a similar solution in Dernancourt, where the pavilions have a similar structure. However, in Dernancourt the War Stone is situated between the pavilions and entrance to the cemetery occurs via one of the pavilions. The pilasters next to the openings form an important addition to the architecture and are a reflection of the pillars at the entrance, akin to the design at Monchy British Cemetery. The entire frontal area is contained by a framework of natural stone bands where plant beds were also incorporated initially, but these have now been replaced by grass. The field with graves is loosely organized in long and short rows of graves. (Geurst, 2010, p.253-4)


Geurst, J. (2010) Cemeteries of the Great War by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.

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Imperial War Graves Commission