Forever England

Press Release
Forever England

The 2017 British Cemetery ceremony will be Friday, May 12th at 11am.

The annual ceremony commemorating the British Royal Navy sailors of HMT Bedfordshire will be held on Friday, May 12, 2017. Following the ceremony a reception will be held at the Community Center.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the sinking of H.M.T. Bedfordshire off the North Carolina coast. Representatives from Great Britain and Canada will be in attendance, as well as members of the United States Coast Guard, and seniors from Ocracoke School.

This year, special guest Tom Cunningham will be in attendance. Tom Cunningham is the son of Sub-Lt. Thomas Cunningham, one of the four crewmen of the H.M.T. Bedfordshire who are buried in Ocracoke’s British Cemetery. Tom is a retired Royal Navy Reserve Commander, and will give a presentation about "The Battle of the Atlantic" Saturday evening at 7pm at Ocracoke Library.

The Ocracoke ceremony can trace its ties to island families back to May 1942. The British Cemetery site has meant a lot to the people of Ocracoke, and has also become an important stop for visitors. As one stands at these gravesites, you begin to understand the kindness and respect people have shown for the men who died so far from home. The Ocracoke community has continued to help care for the gravesites, memorial, and to honor these British sailors.

The money raised each year goes to landscaping the grave sites and providing food for the reception. Much of the physical labor at the cemetery site is lovingly done by members of the Coast Guard Station Hatteras. The reception is catered by a local restaurant, and the set-up, serving, and clean-up is done by local volunteers from the community.



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