On May 11, 1942, about 40 miles south of Ocracoke, a German submarine torpedoed and sank the British vessel HMS Bedfordshire. The 170-foot ship was one of 24 antisubmarine ships loaned to the United States by Winston Churchill. The entire crew of four officers and 33 crewmen drowned. U.S. Coast Guard officers found four of the bodies washed ashore three days later. The soldiers were buried on a plot of land next to a family’s cemetery on land donated to Britain. The Coast Guard still maintains the grave sites and flies a British flag over the graves. Every year on the Friday closest to the May 11th anniversary of the sailors’ deaths, there is a formal military ceremony with invited guest speakers to honor the British sailors. The adjacent village cemetery also provides an interesting look back into Ocracoke Island’s past.