ROCK HALL — Pvt. Bernard Franklin Elburn of Piney Neck, who was a casualty of the North African campaigns of World War II, will receive a Memorial Day salute at his parents’ gravesite in Wesley Chapel cemetery on May 27.
Elburn was just a week past his 23rd birthday when he was killed in March 1943 near Tunisia. He is buried in the North Africa American Cemetery in the town of Carthage.
Also buried there is another Rock Hall native, Sgt. Preston Ashley, who was killed in action in May 1943. Ashley is the namesake for American Legion Post 228 in Rock Hall.
Like many in his hometown, Elburn was a waterman before enlisting in the Army.
He was posthumously awarded a Gold Star, Purple Heart, Distinguished Unit Citation and Good Conduct Medal — among other honors.
For the first time, Rock Hall American Legion Post 228 is heading up the Memorial Day ceremony in Kent County. The other Legion posts in the county are expected to be involved, as are the Knights of Columbus, the Legion Riders and the Patriot Guard Riders. A color guard, rifle salute and bugler — which have been standard components of Memorial Day observances locally — also are expected.
The ceremony, which is open to the public, will begin at 8 a.m. — 30 minutes earlier than has been customary. This is to ensure that there is enough time for the public and officials to get to Chestertown for the 10 a.m. parade down High Street.
The Father George S. Bradford Council of the Knights of Columbus is this year’s parade sponsor. The parade will kick off in the area of Dixon Valve and Coupling and will include veterans, Scouts, American Legion members, fire trucks and antique vehicles, members of law enforcement and the Kent County Community Marching Band.
Ted Cumings, a highly decorated Green Beret who served 25 years in the Army, will deliver the keynote speech at the end of the parade. Cumings lives near Rock Hall and is an active member of Legion Post 228.