Ceremonies Honor British, Canadian Troops Killed off NC Coast.

Press Release
Protecting the coast of the United States during World War II came at the ultimate cost for 63 foreign sailors. Two upcoming ceremonies will honor that sacrifice.

This year will mark the 77th that 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 British gravesites on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. The ceremonies, which are open to the public, are held annually near the anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Bedfordshire, with the first held in Buxton on May 9 starting at 11 a.m., and the second on Ocracoke the following day, May 10, also at 11. 

The Buxton ceremony honors the service of the men who lost their lives in April 1942 when the British armed tanker San Delfinowas sunk by the U-203just 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 Delfinoand an unknown soldier.

The second ceremony is held at the Ocracoke British Cemetery on Ocracoke Island to pay tribute to the sailors from the HMS Bedfordshire, which was destroyed in May 1942 by German submarine U-558near 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 Bedfordshireand were interred alongside their shipmates in what would become the Ocracoke British Cemetery 

The ceremonies are organized by the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Ocracoke community, the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary 16-04, the National Park Service, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 

For more information on the ceremonies, call 252-986-0721 or visit www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com. 

About the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras is named in honor of thousands of shipwrecks that sank off North Carolina’s coast. The museum is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the state’s coastal culture and maritime history, which includes these shipwrecks, this repository of history. The vessels are the centerpiece of rich relationships to piracy, war, (Revolutionary, Civil and World Wars I and II), lifesaving, commerce and coastal living. It is filled with related artifacts, which include remnants of the earliest known shipwreck found in North Carolina waters, dating to 1650, objects from the USS Monitor, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, and the USSHuron. For more information on the museum, visit www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum system is comprised of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort and the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport. All three museums are part of the Division of State History Museums in the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development. 

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, call 919-807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.


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