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Fri, May 12


British Cemetery

British Cemetery Commemoration

Ocracoke honors the fallen

British Cemetery Commemoration
British Cemetery Commemoration

Time & Location

May 12, 2023, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

British Cemetery, 234 British Cemetery Rd, Ocracoke, NC 27960, USA

About the event

The annual Ocracoke British Cemetery ceremony is scheduled for Friday, May 12, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Immediately following the commemoration, attendees are invited to the Ocracoke Community Center for a light luncheon.

This year marks the 81st anniversary of the sinking of H.M.T. Bedfordshire off the North Carolina coast on May 11, 1942. All are welcome to attend the graveside memorial ceremony and reception that follows on the grounds of the OPS Museum. Representatives from the British Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy will be in attendance, as well as members of the United States Coast Guard, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and students from Ocracoke School.

The annual graveside ceremony traces its ties to the Ocracoke community back to May 1942, when an island family donated the land for the cemetery and honored the men with a burial service. The British Cemetery site continues to resonate with island residents for its historical significance, and it has also become an important stop for visitors to pay their respects. The Ocracoke community, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum have worked together to care for the gravesites and honor these British sailors each year since 1942.

Donations from the public contribute to landscaping the garden area and hosting the luncheon. The U.S. Coast Guard, aided by local and visiting volunteers, provides the physical labor at the site, overseen by a local representative of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. An Ocracoke restaurant caters the luncheon, which is served by community volunteers.

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