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British War Graves ceremony, Ocracoke
May 13 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pmFree
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the loss of 63 foreign sailors, who died while protecting the U.S. coast during World War II. Representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Navy, British Royal Navy and National Park Service will come together with visitors and residents at the British cemetery in Ocracoke on May 13 starting at 11 a.m. The public is invited.
The ceremony pays tribute to the sailors from the HMS Bedfordshire, which was destroyed in May 1942 by German submarine U-558 near the island. The bodies of Sub-Lieutenant Cunningham and Ordinary Telegraphist Second Class Craig are buried at the Ocracoke site. Two bodies also were found in the ocean north of Ocracoke; and although never identified, they were assumed to have come from the Bedfordshire and were interred alongside their shipmates in what would become the Ocracoke British Cemetery.
The ceremony is the second of two services honoring the sacrifice of those foreign sailors. The first service will be held May 12 at 11 a.m. at the British Cemetery in Buxton. It honors the service of the men who lost their lives in April 1942 when the British armed tanker San Delfino was sunk by the U-203 just off Pea Island. Two of the men are buried at the British Cemetery in Buxton: Fourth Engineer Officer Michael Cairns of the Royal Merchant Navy from the San Delfino and an unknown soldier.
The ceremonies are organized by the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Ocracoke community, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.