We heard about this and went to visit. Here is some little known neat history..............
Every year on the Thursday and Friday closest to May 11th British and American armed forces meet on British soil in North Carolina. The reason is a memorial service honoring the British seamen buried in a piece of land deeded by the U S government to Britain on the island of Ocracoke in the Outer Banks. It's a story of heroism and gratitude that is little known outside of the tiny town.
It begins in May of 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. United States has been pulled into World War II. We're fighting the Japanese in the Pacific, and Europe is being pummeled by German Luftwaffe. But the shores of the continental United States are far from safe. In fact, from January to May, 1942, German U-boats shadowed our coastlines and sunk our merchant ships. And the proof was in the debris which washed up nightly on the shores of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The German strategy was to batter the British, making it difficult for them to produce manufactured goods, and to destroy our shipping lanes, making it impossible for US manufacturing to supply our allies overseas with oil, iron, lumber, food items and more.
The United States was not well-prepared to defend against the German attack, especially given the 2,500- odd miles of coastline from Maine to New Orleans. As a result, attacking our merchant ships began to look like shooting fish in a barrel. "In the first months of the war we were losing more than a ship a day" says Joseph Schwarzer, Executive Director of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum on Hatteras Island, "that's when the coast of Hatteras became known as the graveyard of the Atlantic and Torpedo Junction." Merchant ships went down in staggering numbers. From January to June, 1942, almost 400 ships were lost. So intense was the pounding taken by our merchant fleet that it was not uncommon to find bodies and remains of wrecks washed up on the beaches in the morning. "Residents would be awakened by a flash of light and the sound of distant explosions. They could actually see the ships on fire out on the water. In the morning they'd find debris washed up on shore," says Schwarzer.
American military response was slow. So, protection, initially, came not from our own armed forces but from our British allies with the loan of deep-sea trawlers, refitted with minesweeping equipment, a device designed to detect submerged objects, like submarines, and depth-charges to be able to attack the German U-boats.
For the crews of the ships HMS Bedfordshire, and the British tanker San Delfino.