Remembering American prisoners of war

The focus of an annual ceremony held to honour the last casualty of the War of 1812 will be expanded in years ahead, an organiser of the event said.

Gillian Outerbridge said: “There is no question that we will point out both the plaques.

“They will almost certainly be recognised every year.”

Ms Outerbridge was speaking yesterday after a plaque to commemorate 15 American prisoners of war interred in Bermuda more than 200 years ago was unveiled in the East End at the weekend.

The plaque was presented by the National Society United States Daughters of 1812 as part of an annual ceremony held to remember the kindness shown to US Navy Midshipman Richard Dale.

Mr Dale, aged 20, died in 1815 after being injured in action against the Royal Navy. He was brought to Bermuda as a prisoner and cared for by St Georgians, but died of his injuries and was buried in St Peter’s churchyard.

The plaque remembers Mr Dale and 14 other POWs interred in Bermuda between 1812 and 1815, who it is thought were buried in a mass grave in St Peter’s churchyard.

Ms Outerbridge, the secretary for the Friends of St Peter’s Church, said the Daughters of 1812 organisation had reached out about three years ago.

She added: “They were aware that one of the prisoners of war was being commemorated annually and they felt that there were 15 all together, which probably we weren’t aware of. Once they made us aware of it, we of course agreed to take part in bringing the recognition up to date and more inclusive.

“We were more than happy to work with them.”

Thirty members of the Daughters of 1812 organisation were in Bermuda for the event, which was followed by a service in St Peter’s churchyard and dinner at Grotto Bay Beach Resort and Spa.

Mary Raye Casper, the organisation’s president national, was the guest speaker.

The plaque was installed on the south side of the Bank of Butterfield building.

Ms Outerbridge said that Mr Dale had been cared for in the building before he died and that there was already a plaque on the building to recognise him.

She added: “So where it has been placed, the new plaque, is actually quite fitting.”

Alison Crocket, the Deputy Governor, and Constance Dierman, United States Consul General, unveiled the new plaque.

The TS Admiral Sea Cadet Corp provided an honour guard for the event.

A ceremony to honour Mr Dale’s memory was begun in 1932.

It faded after the departure of US forces from Bermuda in 1995, but was brought back in 2006.

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Published Feb 25, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 25, 2019 at 12:17 am)

Remembering American prisoners of war

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