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UPDATED: World War II Training Ordnance Uncovered At Cape Hatteras National Seashore


This item, which appears to be an unexploded military ordnance, was found Friday just off Cape Point at Cape Hatteras National Seashore/Dare County

A World War II training ordnance was recovered from a sandbar near Cape Hatteras National Seashore on Friday without event.

The U.S. Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit from Little Creek, Virginia, safely removed the weapon and headed back to Virginia, where the device was to be studied before being disposed of, the National Park Service said.

Once the device was taken, Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff reopened off-road vehicle and pedestrian access to the Cape Point area of the seashore in Buxton. The sandbar where the device was found was just off Cape Point.

"The National Park Service appreciates the U.S. Navy’s and U.S. Coast Guard’s role in keeping park visitors and nearby vessels safely away from the unidentified item while it was being examined and removed by the EOD unit," said Cape Hatteras Superintendent David Hallac. "We also appreciate our partnerships with the Dare County Sheriff's office, Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in keeping everyone safe.”

The device, which appeared to be a heavily encrusted military bomb, was discovered Friday morning. That discovery led authorities to establish a one-mile perimeter until the military weapons disposal team could arrive.

Seashore staff said that Hatteras Island Rescue Squad had responded Friday "to a report of what appears to be an old, unidentified military device on the sand bar off Cape Point."

Based on photos of the item, the Navy team "asked that a one-mile safety perimeter be established until they could arrive and determine the exact nature of the item. A portion of the one-mile perimeter falls within the boundaries of Cape Hatteras National Seashore in the Cape Point area," a seashore release said.

The waters off Cape Hatteras saw plenty of action during World War II, with both German U-Boats and Allied merchant ships sunk off the cape.

"In 1942, the Germans aimed to sink U.S. merchant ships that were carrying supplies to England. U.S. and Royal Navy ships patrolled the coast to protect them and, when necessary, take on the Germans," according to the seashore. "One of the most overlooked engagements of World War II, (the so-called Battle of the Atlantic) claimed 80 ships and hundreds of lives."

July 15, 1942. America had been in World War II for less than a year, but the fight was coming to the nation’s shores. That day, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the German U-boat U-576 sank the Nicaraguan-flagged freighter SS Bluefields. But it came at a steep price – the merchant ship convoy and its U.S. military escorts fought back, sinking the U-boat within minutes as U.S. Navy air cover bombed the sub while the merchant ship Unicoi attacked it with its deck gun. -- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In a residential area of Ocracoke near the southern tip of the national seashore the British government leased a small patch of land to use as a cemetery for their dead from World War II. On May 11, 1942, a British ship, the HMT Bedfordshire, was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boats. There were no survivors. Only four bodies were recovered, and today they are buried in Ocracoke. The small, neat graves with concrete gravestones are covered with pebbles and encircled by a white picket fence.

Four British sailors killed during World War II are buried in a small, tidy cemetery at Ocracoke, North Carolina/Kurt Repanshek file photos

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