Recent DBE Events and Topics of Interest
DBE Washington State Honors Fallen British Royal Marines
There are many connections to British history all over Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest. Captain James Cook explored and mapped the whole area in the late 1700s. Capt Cook was born in Yorkshire and learned to sail while living in Whitby, a fishing town on the Yorkshire coast. George Vancouver was a part of Capt Cook's crew on Cook's second and third voyages from 1772 to 1780 aboard HMS Resolution and HMS Adventure. Vancouver was born in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. Captain Vancouver explored the northwest coast of America in his ship HMS Discovery from 1792 to 1795 at the request of the British Government, still looking for a Northwest Passage. He named Puget Sound after his ship's Lieutenant Peter Puget. Captain Vancouver was the first European to sail into the Puget Sound area. Sources: wikipedia and britannica.com
In 1863, a British military cemetery was established at the "English Camp" located on San Juan Island in northern Puget Sound. The cemetery was designated for a British Royal Marine who died while in service to England. Eventually, seven British military men were buried there. Some of these Marines "...were with the original camp contingent having served in the 2nd battalion in China and numbering among the "China brigades" (150 men) that crossed the Pacific aboard HMS Tribune from November 1858 to February 1859. Their mission was to bring order to the Fraser River gold fields, then overwhelmed by thousands of American miners." Source of quote: nps.gov/sajh. The Fraser River gold fields are located near Vancouver, British Columbia, just north of the San Juan Islands.
In September 2021, DBE Washington State decided to honor these Royal Marines. We believe these are the only British military who are buried in Washington State. Many years ago, some organizations used to remember these Marines by laying a wreath at the grave sites. But this has not happened for some years. So DBE WA wanted to revive the tradition of remembering the Marines and honoring their sacrifice. DBE WA wrote and sent a remembrance card to the National Park Service (NPS) office at the San Juan Island Park. This NPS office maintains the English Camp Cemetery. The NPS staff displayed the card from DBE on the visitor's center bulletin board. DBE is planning to make this an annual event with hopes to visit the cemetery in 2022. We will send another card on November 11, 2022 which is Remembrance Day in Canada and Britain, and is called Veteran's Day in the USA.