Photos: Midshipman Commemoration Service

February 22, 2016

A service to commemorate the life of Midshipman Dale was held this weekend in St George’s, with the service seeing a new marble gravestone unveiled.

“Some 201 years ago, on February 23, 1815, a young American midshipman died in St George’s from wounds incurred in a marine battle during the war of 1812,” a spokesperson said.

“As cannons roared in a fierce duel between the USS ‘President’ and HMS “Endymion” in January 1814 neither side was aware that the war was over. The peace treaty had been signed the previous month.

“Eighty one years ago this month, US Navy Ensign Scarritt Adams arranged for flowers to be placed on the grave of Midshipman Richard Sutherland Dale, the last victim of the War of 1812.

“For many years the U.S. Military commemorated Midshipman Dale on the anniversary of his death. The celebration ceased once the marines departed from their base in Bermuda.

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However the tradition has been adopted by the Friends of St. Peters Church, who now gather every year at Midshipman Dale’s prominent gravestone.

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“On Saturday, February 20, the Friends of St Peters Church performed a similar ceremony carrying on the 80-year tradition and marking the 201st anniversary of Dale’s death.

“This year was extra special as the new marble gravestone was unveiled.

“Captain John Rodgaard, USN Ret.d, on a recent visit to Bermuda, noted the deterioration of the Dale tombstone.

“He enlisted the support of Captain Vance Morrison, USN Ret’d, both members of the US Naval Order, and the Order made a generous donation to The Friends of St Peter’s towards a replication of the gravestone.

“The original is preserved beneath the new stone which was created by Island Memorials.

“T.S. Admiral Somers Sea Cadets played an integral part of the unveiling ceremony having been instructed in the traditional manner of folding a ceremonial US flag.

“Wreaths were laid by Governor, George Fergusson, by Ms Linda Rosalik representing the US Consul and by Rev’d Dr. Erskine Simmons, Chairman of the The Friends of St Peter’s Church.

“A special wreath was sent by Mrs Louise Hall Reider, descendant of Scarritt Adams, originator of the ceremony.”

Photos by Gillian Outerbridge, click to enlarge:

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