Coast Guard honors fallen WWII British and Canadian sailors

OCRACOKE, N.C. – Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, and the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum conducted the annual British Cemetery Memorial Services in Buxton Thursday and in Ocracoke Friday.

The graveside ceremonies included a 21-gun salute to commemorate the loss of British and Canadian sailors from the H.M.S. Bedfordshire and the British merchant vessel San Delfino. The crewmen’s bodies were recovered from the waters off Ocracoke Island and Hatteras Island after the ships were torpedoed by German U-Boats in 1942.

The Bedfordshire and the Sandelfino were working with the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy to protect American shipping lanes, where U-boats had been sinking oil tankers important to the war effort.

Representatives from the Coast Guard, the British Royal Navy, the Canadian Navy, the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, and local high school students participated in the event.

“These ceremonies commemorate the lives of those sailors who were lost in the trawler Bedfordshire and the oiler Delfino which were sunk during the second world war,” said Commodore Eric Fraser, the British Naval Attaché in Washington, D.C. “It’s very important that we commemorate these people because what they achieved during their time and the sacrifice they gave ensured that we maintained our freedom from tyranny from Nazi Germany. It allowed us to maintain the sea lines of communication between the United States and the United Kingdom and then ultimately take on the Germans in Europe, and defeat them after D-Day and 1945.”

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