The French War Cemetery, part of the Kapelle General Cemetery, contains 209 war graves of French and North African soldiers killed in the Netherlands during the Second World War. On the cemetery two monuments can be found: a pillar with mosaic work surrounded by a memorial wall with the casualties names engraved and a separate stone base with a Gallic rooster on top of it.
Kapelle is the French war dead centralisation cemetery in the Netherlands, completed in 1949. It was original a battlefield cemetery and the symbol for the French military support to Holland around the 16th of May 1940, when 2 French divisions tried to stop German advance here. 75 dead French soldiers were assembled by the local Dutch people from the fields around Kapelle and buried on this location.
In 1949 half of the men who died at Kapelle were exhumed and reburied in France on request of their family. At the same time in 1949, all 500 French war dead spread in the Netherlands were exhumed. 190 of them were not repatriated to France, but centralized and reburied here in Kapelle, bringing this cemetery to its current size of 229 graves.
A info plaque at the cemetery-entrance states that the French war dead in 1949 spread in the Netherlands and now buried here, were "killed in the Netherlands during WW2".
However, this information is not correct.
Most of the men in this cemetery did not died in the Netherlands.
The majority of the casualties in this cemetery, including all Moroccan soldiers that rest here, died on sea. In the Channel, off the French coast between Dunkirk (Dunkerque) and the English coast at Ramsgate. They died/drowned when their ship was sunk. This was during Operation Dynamo, May 26 - June 3rd 1940, the Dunkirk evacuation. Their bodies washed ashore 2 months later in groups along the Dutch North Sea coast between July 27 and August 10, 1940. In the Kapelle cemetery register, many have as date of death for example July 28, 1940. This is not their date of death, it is date of washing ashore on a Dutch beach.
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Philip Reinders, 2016