A procession led by bagpipers always precedes the British Cemetery ceremony, this year Friday at 11 a.m. Photo: C. Leinbach
A procession with bagpipers always precedes the British Cemetery ceremony, this year Friday at 11 a.m.

Every May, the War Graves Committee on Hatteras remembers the sinking of British war ships by German U-boats off the coast here in World War II.  

The annual commemoration of four British soldiers buried on Ocracoke will be held at 11 a.m. Friday (May 13), at the small plot of British land along British Cemetery Road.

Since 1942, Ocracoke has remembered these sailors whose bodies washed ashore after a U-boat on May 11 that year torpedoed the HMT Bedfordshire, a British trawler pressed into military service.

Two of the sailors were identified: Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Cunningham and Ordinary Telegraphist Second Class Stanley Craig. Two are unknown.

The people of Ocracoke rallied and donated land on which the four are interred and which is owned by Great Britain. 

Four other British sailors are interred in a cemetery in Buxton. They will be remembered the day before the Ocracoke event.  These are the only WWII British cemeteries in the United States.

Organized by the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Park Service and the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association collaborate in the remembrances.

Donations are always welcome to help defray costs. Checks should be made out to OCBA with “British Cemetery” in the memo line and sent to P.O. Box 456, Ocracoke, 27960.


British Cemetery 2015
Ocracoke seniot Katie O’Neal at British Cemetery Ceremony, 2015. Photo by P. Vankevich


Previous articleJazz house concert Friday open to all
Next articleJohn Willis Burrus: 1956 to 2016