Moving Tribute Honors Naval Heroes at Eastern Cemetery Today

Maine’s First Lady, Ann LePage and Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. Both Spoke at the Graveside Tribute.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,517)

Three naval heroes were honored this afternoon as family members of two of them participated in a wreath laying ceremony at Eastern Cemetery on Munjoy Hill.  Today, September 5th marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle between the HMS Boxer and the USS Enterprise – a battle that occurred off Pemaquid Point during the War of 1812.

During the Battle, the British Captain Blyth of the HMS Boxer, took a  cannon ball from the American Captain Burrows of the USS Enterprise, and died immediately.  Shortly thereafter, Captain Burrows was hit and died later – but not until he had received the sword of Capain Blyth.  The two Captains were buried at Eastern Cemetery plus a crew member from the USS Enterprise.

Geoffrey Blyth, the great, great, great grandson of Captain Blyth said today that he was unaware of this relative until about five years ago when writer David Hanna contacted him with regard to a book he was writing on the sea battle. Blyth, from near London, decided to have a family reunion with about 14 American relatives, many of them at the tribute today.  “I was disappointed in the British government’s decision not to join with America in a strike against Syria,” Blyth said.  “I’m the first one in my family not to be in the military because of poor eye sight.  I regret that.”

David Hall, a great, great, great, great, great, great grandson of Captain Burrows, said he’d learned about fifteen years ago of his relative’s role in the Batle and his burial in Portland.  “I find it very touching that they are buried here beside each other,” Hall said.  Hall  works in Washington, D.C.

Todays graveside ceremony was the final event in a week long  observation of the 200th anniversary of the battle between the HMS Boxer and the USS Enterprise.  It was hosted by: The Maine Military Historical Society, the City of Portland, The US Navy, The Maine Humanities Council, Publicover Security Services, the Maine Historical Society, Spirits Alive, the Maine National Guard and the Italian Heritage Center Band.