Dunkirk Town Cemetery is at the south-eastern
corner of the town of Dunkirk, immediately south of the canal and on the
road to Veurne (Furnes) in Belgium. On entering the cemetery through the
columns of the Dunkirk Memorial, two Commonwealth war graves sections
will be seen: Plots IV and V from the First World War and Plots I and II
from the Second World War. There is also a further First World War
section (Plots I, II and III) in the main part of the cemetery to the
right of the main entrance.
Dunkirk witnessed the landing of the British Expeditionary Force in
September and October 1914. Throughout the First World War it was a
seaplane base and later an American Naval Air Service base. The town was
also a French hospital centre and the 8th Canadian Stationary Hospital
was there from November 1918 to April 1919. Although an estimated 7,500
shells and bombs fell on the town during the war, ship building and
other port activities continued. During the Second World War, Dunkirk
was the scene of the historic evacuation of the British Expeditionary
Force from France in May 1940. Dunkirk Town Cemetery contains 460
Commonwealth burials of the First World War, ten of them unidentified.
The graves are situated in Plots 1 to 3 in the public part of the
cemetery to the right of the main entrance, and in Plots 4 and 5 of the
Commonwealth War Graves section adjacent to the Dunkirk Memorial. Of the
793 Second World War burials, 213 are unidentified and special memorials
are erected to 58 soldiers known to be buried among them. These graves
are in Plots 1 and 2 of the section by the Dunkirk Memorial. There are
also Czech, Norwegian and Polish war graves within the Commonwealth
section, and war graves of other nationalities will be found elsewhere
within the cemetery. The Dunkirk Memorial stands a the entrance to the
Commonwealth War Graves section of Dunkirk Town Cemetery. It
commemorates more than 4,500 casualties of the British Expeditionary
Force who died in the campaign of 1939-40 and who have no known grave.
The memorial was designed by Philip Hepworth. The engraved glass panel
depicting the evacuation was by John Hutton.