Ocracoke Island war cemetery

A Foreign Field (Albeit Ever So Tiny) That is Now Forever England.


There is a Island just off the coast of North Carolina called Ocracoke Island. In a small corner lies a fenced off area with the union Flag flying above it because it is an official British War grave for four men only

It is in fact the last resting place of four sailor crew members of a converted trawler called H.M.S. Bedfordshire. In 1942 on May 11th she was torpedoed by a German U Boat and sank with all hands. 38 in all, but only four bodies were washed ashore and recovered. Only two of these could be identified.

The islanders buried all four together in a small plot of land which was given to the British Government in 1952. The nicely fenced in plot is tended by members of the island’s 22 man Coast Guard Station which some years ago was paying up to $500 a year for it’s upkeep. The chief of the Coast Guards said they had been tending it and paying for it for a long time out of their own funds but then the Philadelphia branch of the British Legion had sent a couple of hundred dollars towards it.

"We used to beg for new Union Flags from the Royal Navy because we hated to see a faded flag flying over the graves". The Lord Mayor of Plymouth of the day (who took the accompanying photograph), Mr Dennis Dicker visited and promised to send a new flag each year in time for the annual May 11th remembrance ceremony. This is attended each year by representatives of the Navy and British Embassy and we fire a 21 gun salute. Canadian navy representatives also attend because there were Canadians on board. We do not know the nationality of the two unidentified sailors who may have been Canadians, but we do know Canadians were lost just the same so all are honoured together."

 

 

 

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