Flower wreaths from Canada, Great Britain and the United States adorn the front of the four graves at the British Cemetery on Ocracoke. Photo: C. Leinbach

Owing to rain, a scaled back 80th British Cemetery Ceremony will go on today in the Ocracoke School gym at 11 a.m.

A luncheon reception in the Ocracoke Community Center, 999 Irvin Garrish Hwy, will follow the ceremony and all are invited.

Parking and access to the gym will be available via Back Road.

There’s no parking on School Road, but parking is available along Back Road and at the Flying Melon Café.

This annual event remembers the sinking of British trawler H.M.T. Bedfordshire during World War II off the North Carolina coast on May 11, 1942, and which has been held every year since except for 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following that sinking, the bodies of four British sailors washed up on Ocracoke. They are interred in the British Cemetery, a small patch of England, along British Cemetery Road.

Sub-Lt. Thomas Cunningham and Ordinary Telegraphist Second Class Stanley Craig were the only ones identified of the four sailors interred here.

The Bedfordshire was part of the Royal Navy Patrol Service (RNPS) and was one of 24 trawlers the British government pressed into the patrol as advance-guard mine sweepers and escorts for British supply ships. North American representatives of the RNPS also attend the memorial each year.

Sundae Horn, event coordinator for sponsoring organization the Ocracoke Preservation Society, said that along with members of the U.S. Coast Guard, other active-duty military, such as the Royal Navy and Canadian attaches, will attend.

While other interested groups were scheduled to attend, most canceled because of the uncertainties caused by the low-pressure system that was stalled off the coast from Sunday until Thursday. That system brought high winds that suspended ferry service and caused extensive overwash on N.C. 12 on Hatteras Island.

Rain this morning prompted moving the ceremony indoors.

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