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In 1940, the Burleigh family move to Morehead City from England as they feared German invasion. Mr. Burleigh had stayed to serve England, however his wife and children became integrated into the local Carteret County community. Their host family would later receive the King’s Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom—one of 16 North Carolina families bestowed this honor.
Following the United States entrance into World War II in 1942, the battle for the north Atlantic was going poorly. Over 600 ships and six million tons of shipping were destroyed by German U-boats. These engagements became known as a wild turkey shoot. Vessels offshore from Morehead City and Beaufort were seen damaged and sinking on a daily basis; they were often attacked by German forces during the night. The Morehead City hospital was expanded to increase services to burned and injured sailors.