The Zuydcoote Military Cemetery in France is a burial site with mixed nationalities. There is an Allied Commonwealth section, a French section – Nécropole Nationale de Zuydcoote and there is a German section from the Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof Zuydcoote.
In late 1917 two military hospitals were established in Zuydcoote. The were in control by the 34th and 36th CCS; Casualty Clearing Stations. Most deceased and buried on the Commonwealth section died in these hospitals, likewise the graves on the German section are fallen who lost their lives in these hospitals as POW’s or or in prisons nearby. They were heavily wounded or too ill to recover. Others crashed with their airplane serving the German Luftwaffe or drowned while performing their duty with the German Kriegsmarine. The bigger part of the Germans lost their lives during the battles around Ypres or near the Kemmelberg from May to August 1918.
Casualty Clearing Stations
The Casualty Clearing Stations or CCS had the responsibility to treat the wounded soldier to the point of return to the battlefield. If the wounded soldier needed more than first aid they were transported to a base hospital further behind the front line. The Casualty Clearing Stations were part of a casualty evacuation chain, the were set up further from the front line behind the Field Ambulances or First Aid Posts. These CCS stations were not equipped for long term recovery; they were large transportable first aid hospitals with an field operation facility, moving along behind the front line. Usually they were set up near railroad stations or railroads for evacuation and movement of troops. The Casualty Clearing Stations left their mark on the fields by leaving their cemeteries behind. The Casualty Clearing Stations moved with the soldiers into Belgium and after the German surrender into Germany with the army of occupation in 1919.
The Military Cemetery Zuydcoote
Of the three sections on the cemetery the Commonwealth plot is the smallest with just over 325 casualties. These are made up of 314 British, 4 New Zealanders, 2 South Africans, 1 Australian, 5 Canadians and 1 from Belgium named Philemon van der Steen; 33 years old.
The French Nécropole Nationale is the largest plot on the cemetery with 1150 French casualties. There are over 320 graves from the First World War. There is a large Muslim section and there are over 900 French graves from the Second World War. All together there are almost 1860 French casualties in this plot according to the Nécropole Nationale.
The German section, under care of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraeberstaette, has 202 casualties. 170 are in individual graves, one is unknown and there is a community grave with 31 casualties from which 9 are unknown. There is one Russian grave on this plot. The only Jewish fallen has a natural stone instead of a cross.
The Military Cemetery Zuydcoote can be found at the Rue des Crevettes in Zuydcoote.