Return to Hyde County

British Cemetery
(Trent Rd. , Ocracoke Island)

Overview Photo Overview Photo HMT Bedfordshire Memorial

Photos were taken in September 2009 by Marla Walker Beasley

Name

Birth Date

Death Date

Epitaph

Barnes, Frederick W. 16th Mar 1911 11th May 1942 Engineman R.N.V.R.
H.M.T. Bedfordshire
Killed in Action; Believed to be buried Ocracoke Island, North Carolina USA
   Close-Up
Craig, Stanley R. [c1918] 11 May 1942 D-JX228834 Ord. Tel.; Royal Navy, H.M.S. Bedfordshire
Body Found May 14, 1942; Age 24
  
Another Marker
Cunningham, Lt. Thomas [c1915] 11 May 1942 Royal Navy, H.M.S. Bedfordshire
Body Found May 14, 1942; Age 27  Another Marker
unknown sailor   11 May 1942 Body Found May 14, 1942  Another Marker
unknown sailor   11 May 1942 Body Found May 14, 1942  Another Marker
White, Charles Wm. [c1913] 11 May 1942 Telegraphist R.N.
H.M.T. Bedfordshire
K.I.A. May 11, 1942; Age 29
Home County: Lincolnshire, England
HMT (His Majesty's Trawler) Bedfordshire is one of the many ships that were torpedoed off the coast of North Carolina during World War II, giving the area between Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout the nickname "Torpedo Junction." The circumstances surrounding the loss of the Bedfordshire, and four of her crew in particular, have given it a special place in history. In early 1942, the United States did not have an adequate roster of anti-submarine vessels, so the Bedfordshire was one of a group of 24 converted fishing boats loaned to the Navy by the British. The Bedfordshire -- coal-burning, 162 feet long with a beam of 27 feet -- had done similar service off the coast of Wales, at one point chasing off a U-Boat that was trying to sink a ship in the process of repairing a break in the trans-Atlantic cable. The Bedfordshire had only been on American duty for two months when she was sunk on May 11, 1942, with the loss of all hands.  Actually, there was one survivor of the crew, stoker Samuel Nutt had been detained the night of May 10 by the Shore Patrol in Morehead City and only released after the Bedfordshire had sailed. On May 14 four bodies were washed up on the beach at Ocracoke Island; two were identified as Sub-Lt. Thomas Cunningham and Telegraphist Stanley R. Craig; the others were unidentified, although it is believed by some that they may have been Telegraphist Charles Wm. White and Engineman Frederick W. Barnes. The Ocracoke Islanders interred the bodies in a special section of the community cemetery; the local US Coast Guard contingent gave them a full military funeral. Since then the Coast Guard has raised and lowered the British Naval Ensign over the graves every morning and every night, and in 1976 the plot was granted in perpetuity to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, officially making it British soil. In May 2005 a memorial to the entire crew of the Bedfordshire was unveiled by Commander Thomas Cunningham, Jr. (Royal Navy, Ret.), the son of Sub-Lt. Cunningham.  Click here for another site with more on the sinking and casualty list.

2009 Kay Midgett Sheppard