100th Anniversary of the Mirlo Rescue

Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station Historic Site
23645 N.C. Hwy 12
Rodanthe, NC 27968
August 16, 2018
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Phone: (252) 987-1552

As we near the 100th Anniversary of the Mirlo Rescue on August 16, 2018 we prepare to commemorate it with a centennial event on the grounds of the Chicamacomico Historic Site.

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.

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