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Mirlo Commemoration Week
- Date: -
- Location: Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station
23645 NC Highway 12
Rodanthe, North Carolina 27968
Commissioners proclaimed August 16, 2018 as Mirlo Commemoration Day and August 13 - 17 Mirlo Commemoration Week in recognition of the daring rescue that occurred in August 1918 when Captain John Allen and his crew rescued 42 seamen aboard the British Tanker Mirlo after it was torpedoed by a German U-Boat. For more information about plans for celebrating the Mirlo’s Centennial Celebration, visit www.chicamacomico.org.
The variety of stories about the 1918 Mirlo sinking by a German torpedo off the coast of Hatteras Island near Chicamacomico Life-Saving/Coast Guard Station make for interesting reading.
The details vary on how many times it took for John Allen Midgett and his men to launch and whether they used oars or the motor in the many renditions of the story. How many times John Allen Midgett and his men went around the wreck and whether the first victims of the Mirlo sinking sighted by the surfmen reached a hand up or popped up from under the fiery water vary with the story teller. These different versions of the Mirlo story are derived from several sources: written accounts in newspapers based on earlier accounts, studies of the Chicamacomico Station done by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, interviews of surfmen who were in Number 1046 surfboat that fateful day, accounts from stories passed down by residents in the local community, the log book of Chicamacomico Keeper John Allen Midgett and the Die Kriegestagebucher Von U-117 (official German war diary) from the submarine’s Kapitanleutenant Droscher.
The contemporaneous logs are accurate and compelling enough without embellishment. The story tellers, on the other hand, bring to life the horrendous nightmare that John Allen Midgett, his courageous surfmen and the Mirlo victims experienced on August 16, 1918. Several books addressing the Mirlo sinking are available in the Chicamacomico gift shop.
Pictured: Keeper John Midgett, Sr. and the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station crew who participated in the Mirlo rescue.