Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sam Nutt

Many of our readers know the story of the 1942 sinking of the British armed trawler HMT Bedfordshire, and the British Cemetery on Ocracoke. But few know the story of the ship's stoker, Sam Nutt, who by a curious turn of events, was the only member of the Bedfordshire's crew to survive.

Here is Sam Nutt's story, as told on the website,

"'The Bedfordshire was one of twenty four that was sent over to the States. We sailed down to Norfolk Virginia then down to Morehead City, which was our base, and we worked from there convoying, escorting and then patrolling'.

"On May 10th 1942, Sam had been on shore leave and was due to join the Bedfordshire the next morning. That night while leaving a bar in Morehead City, he was arrested by two policemen and locked up in a cell without an explanation.

"The next day on May the 11th, HMS Bedfordshire, with their stoker still missing, went out as usual and patrolled the coast. During that night her luck suddenly run out and she was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat. All 37 crew were lost and only four bodies were ever recovered from the sea.

"Meanwhile after being released with no charge, Sam had been trying to join his ship.

"'I never did know what the Americans were going to charge me with. I spent a night in the cells and they let me out and the American soldiers took me down to the dock to join the Bedfordshire ... but she had gone to sea. We had to go aboard another boat to go and look for the Bedfordshire. They were going to take us out to join the ship at sea but when we got there ... there was no trace of her at all.'

"A few days later it was concluded that the trawler must have been sunk by a U-boat. Evidence of this was later confirmed in the diary of U558." 

After reading the story above I began to wonder more about Sam Nutt. I discovered this 5 minute YouTube video that features Sam Nutt, along with USCG Chief Petty Officer Arnold Tolson, remembering those tragic days:


This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about the almost forgotten 1890 "Oyster Wars" that pitted islanders against outside business interests. You can read the article here:

1 comment:

  1. The story of the British cemetery has always interested me.
    There's not too much you can't find on YouTube if you know where to look.
    You are quite the history detective.