New gravestone for Midshipman Dale
A new marble gravestone was unveiled on Saturday at the annual commemorative service for Midshipman Richard Sutherland Dale.
The ceremony marked the continuation of an 80-year tradition and the 201st anniversary of the death of Midshipman Dale — the last victim of the War of 1812.
“This year was extra special as the new marble gravestone was unveiled,” Gillian Outerbridge, secretary of The Friends of St Peter’s Church, said. “The original is preserved beneath the new stone, which was created by Island Memorials.”
Ms Outerbridge explained that retired United States Navy Captain John Rodgaard saw the deterioration of Midshipman Dale’s tombstone on a recent visit to Bermuda.
He enlisted the support of retired US Navy Captain Vance Morrison, and the US Naval Order, of which both men are members, made a generous donation to The Friends of St Peter’s for a replica of the gravestone.
“TS 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,” Ms Outerbridge added.
Wreaths were laid by Governor George Fergusson, Linda Rosalik, who represented the US Consul, and Reverend Erskine Simmons, the chairman of The Friends of St Peter’s Church. A special wreath was also sent by Louise Hall Reider, descendant of Scarritt Adams, the originator of the ceremony.
Midshipman Dale died in St George’s from wounds incurred in a marine battle during the War of 1812 on February 23, 1815.
Eighty-one years ago this month, US Navy Ensign Scarritt Adams arranged for flowers to be placed on the grave and for many years the US Military commemorated Midshipman Dale on the anniversary of his death.
This ended when the marines left their Bermuda base. However, the tradition was adopted by The Friends of St Peter’s Church, who now gather every year at Midshipman Dale’s gravestone.
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