By Submitted Story on April 25, 2022
Due to continued hazardous travel conditions the 80th anniversary, Ocracoke Preservation Society evening with historian and author Kevin Duffus is postponed until further notice.
Due to continued hazardous travel conditions the British War Graves ceremonies scheduled for May 12 in Buxton has been cancelled.
Members of the Ocracoke community are moving forward with plans for a ceremony at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 13 at the British cemetery on the island. Rain location is Ocracoke School gym. For information on plans for that service, contact Sundae Horn: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 to pay their respects to the 63 foreign sailors killed while protecting the United States coast during World War II.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the loss of those men, who died nearly 4,000 miles away from home. 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 to pay their respects. The first ceremony will be held in Buxton on May 12 starting at 11 a.m. and the second on Ocracoke the following day, May 13, also at 11. The public is invited to both.
The Buxton ceremony 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 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-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 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.
POSTPONED: Due to continued hazardous travel conditions the 80th anniversary, Ocracoke Preservation Society evening with historian and author Kevin Duffus is postponed until further notice. To help commemorate the 80th anniversary, Ocracoke Preservation Society is hosting an evening with historian and author Kevin Duffus at the Ocracoke Community Center on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. titled “War Zone: When World War II was Fought off Ocracoke’s Beaches.” In a special keynote multi-media program, Kevin Duffus will tell of the time when Ocracoke Island was on the front line of the war, when the island lost its innocence, and lives of our greatest generation were irrevocably changed. Many of the interviews conducted by Duffus feature names familiar to, and beloved by many Ocracokers—Blanche Howard Joliff, Calvin O’Neal, Ulysses Mac Womac, Pat Stevens, Blanche Styron, and Theodore Mutro. More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Ocracoke-British-Cemetery-107102877565310/
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 USS Huron. 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.