Tuesday, May 08, 2012

British Cemetery

If you will be on the island this Friday, May 11, be sure to attend the 11 a.m. annual ceremony remembering the crew of Her Majesty's Armed Trawler, the Bedfordshire, which was torpedoed by a German submarine seventy years ago off the Outer Banks. All thirty-seven crew members died in the attack. Four bodies were recovered and buried on Ocracoke Island near the Williams family graveyard. The Union Jack flies over this small plot, the British Cemetery, which is considered "a corner of a foreign field that is forever England" (Rupert Brooke). Among the four bodies buried there are Sub-Lt. Thomas Cunningham, telegrapher Stanley Craig, and two unidentified seamen.

This year Cunningham's son, who was born after his father died, will be on the island to attend the ceremony which recognizes, not only the crew of the Bedfordshire, but all allied sailors who gave their lives in defense of our borders.

The ceremony is always a moving experience, a tribute to the servicemen who defended our shores, and to the islanders, Coast Guardsmen, and members of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum who have maintained the cemetery for seventy years and who keep alive the memories of these brave men.

You can read more here:


Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Project Nutmeg, and how Ocracoke almost became a site for testing nuclear weapons. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042112.htm.


  1. bill kostar7:31 AM

    It's a great tribute to the residents of the island that the British Cemetery was originally establsihed and that such a fine tradition has endured all these decades. It's always a moving experience to visit and having one of the families participate in the ceremony will be particularly poignant.
    Peace to all.

  2. Anonymous5:45 PM

    If I should die, think only this of me
    That there's some corner of a foreign field
    That is forever England...
    --Rupert Brooke--

  3. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Rumor has it that the events for Friday have been cancelled due to the ferry situation. Do you know if this is true?

  4. I have not heard about Friday's ceremony being cancelled, but I haven't been out and about much today. If anyone has reliable information about this, please leave a comment.

  5. Anonymous2:28 PM

    The military personnel who normally lead the ceremony are not planning to come over and participate this year. However, there will be a ceremony, as usual, tomorrow (Friday) at 11:00. The ceremony will be conducted by various community volunteers. Thomas Cunningham, Jr. made it to the island yesterday afternoon and is planning to attend this 70th anniversary commemoration.

    DeAnna Locke, Administrator, Ocracoke Preservation Society

  6. Anonymous5:35 PM

    Not everyone has the good fortune to get to know their father. I 'd like to think my Dad would be as proud of me , as I know Mr. Cunningham must be of his son today.