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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ocracoke in Hyde County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

British Cemetery - HMT Bedfordshire

 
 
British Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cindy Bullard, November 24, 2010
1. British Cemetery Marker
Inscription. These gravesites contain the bodies of four British seamen. Their ship, the armed trawler HMS Bedfordshire, was on loan to our Navy by Great Britain to help protect our shores during the early days of World War II.

On May 11, 1942 the Bedfordshire was torpedoed and sunk by a German sub. All hands were lost and these four were the only bodies recovered.

This cemetery is maintained by Ocracoke Coast Guard Station personnel.
 
Erected 1942.
 
Location. 35° 7.004′ N, 75° 58.846′ W. Marker is in Ocracoke, North Carolina, in Hyde County. Marker is on British Cemetery Rd., on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ocracoke NC 27960, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. USRC Mercury (approx. ¼ mile away); Lt. Robert Maynard (approx. ¼ mile away); Lake Company (approx. 0.4 miles away); Ocracoke Lighthouse (approx. 0.4 miles away); U.S. Navy Beach Jumpers - Amphibious Forces, U.S. Navy Monument (approx. one mile away).
 
Also see . . .
1. HMT Bedfordshire. (Submitted on December 6, 2010, by David Bullard of Seneca, South Carolina.)
2. Sub U-558. (Submitted on December 6, 2010.)
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, World II
 
British Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cindy Bullard, November 24, 2010
2. British Cemetery Marker
In 1976, as part of the state's bicentennial celebration, the site was leased in perpetuity to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and remains British Property to this day. The cemetery is currently cared for by the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Ocracoke and a formal service is held at the site on May 12 each year.
British Cemetery on Ocracoke Island image. Click for full size.
By Cindy Bullard, November 24, 2010
3. British Cemetery on Ocracoke Island
Graves of Sub Lt. Thomas Cunningham R.N.V.R , Stanley R. Craig – telegraphist and two unidentified crewmen.

The remains of a fifth Bedfordshire crewman washed up near Swam Quarter, North Carolina. This was Ordinary Seaman Alfred Dryden. Dryden's body was initially buried near the Hyde County Poor House in Swan Quarter; however, it was reinterred at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Creeds, Virginia. A sixth body washed ashore near Hatteras on May 21. Though this body was unidentifiable, it was determined that given its location and timing that it was likely a crewmember of Bedfordshire. This unidentified sailor was buried near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. (Office of National Marine Sanctuaries - see link)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission plaque. image. Click for full size.
By Cindy Bullard, November 24, 2010
4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission plaque.
"If I should die think only this of me that there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.” - Rupert Brooke (The Soldier)
Original Grave Markers image. Click for full size.
By Cindy Bullard, November 24, 2010
5. Original Grave Markers
Story of the Crosses image. Click for full size.
By Cindy Bullard, November 24, 2010
6. Story of the Crosses
These crosses were cast by the T. A. Loving Construction Company for the United States Navy in 1942. For forty-one years, they marked the graves of the four Bedfordshire crewmen. In 1983, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission replaced them with regulation British grave markers. David Esham was President of the newly formed Ocracoke Preservation Society and managed to save the crosses from being destroyed. They were stored under the Pony Island Motel and, subsequently, under the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum until 2001. In May of that year, at the request of the United States Coast Guard, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and the Ocracoke Preservation Society; the Commonwealth War Graves Commission gave permission to display the crosses on site. In May 2005, the people of Ocracoke Island donated the black granite memorial commemorating the loss of HMT Bedfordshire and her crew in action against U-558. This gallant ship and crew were lost protecting our coast during World War II.
HMT <i>Bedfordshire</i> and her crew image. Click for full size.
By Cindy Bullard, November 24, 2010
7. HMT Bedfordshire and her crew
HMT BEDFORDSHIRE An arctic trawler, built in 1935 by Smith’s Dock Co. of Middlebrough, England. In 1939 sold to the Admiralty and converted to an armed trawler. In 1942 it was one of the 24 trawlers loanded to the U.S. Navy for coastal patrol. Armament: one 4” gun, one machine gun and depth charges.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by David Bullard of Seneca, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 680 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by David Bullard of Seneca, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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