U.S. Embassy Montevideo - Archives



Lone U.S. Marine in British Cemetery honored on U.S. Marine Corps birthday

The Marine Security Guard Detachment in Montevideo arranges for headstone and lays flowers on grave of Private William Bates, who died in Montevideo in 1889

November 10, 2003

Photos below

The Marine Security Guard of the U.S. Embassy conducted a small ceremony Monday (Nov. 10) at the British Cemetery to remember Private William Bates, the only U.S. Marine buried in Montevideo.

In 1889 Private Bates was stationed aboard the USS Tallapoosa, which patrolled the waters off Argentina, Uruguay and the Falkland Islands. The crew of the Tallapoosa were the last foreign power to occupy land in Uruguay. The local government had requested the presence of Marines ashore in Colonia.

The conditions, long hours of duty and harsh weather combined, made Private Bates susceptible to dysentery. He became gravely ill on April 16, 1889, and was taken ashore in Montevideo and admitted to the British Hospital. His condition became worse and he died on April 26th, 1889, at the age of 23.

Five Marines, along with other U.S. military officials and embassy representatives attended the ceremony. The Marines placed flags and flowers on the grave. Sgt. Robert L. Snyder researched and and arranged for the tombstone which was funded by the U.S. Veterans Administration.

"Being a Marine sometimes means that you will die on duty or alone," said MSG Detachment Commander Wesley Moran, during the ceremony. ""The Marine Corps instills a sense of loyalty in all Marines. This loyalty and it's foundation is best when it is expressed from one Marine to another. The Marine Detachment, Montevideo would like everyone to know that Private William Bates is not forgotten."

The headstone of William Bates, the only U.S. Marine buried in Montevideo, was arranged for by the Marine Security Detachment in Montevideo. MSG Detachment Commander Wesley Moran makes brief remarks before other U.S. military and embassy officials at the British Cemetery.
Moran lays flowers on Bates' grave on the 228th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. Members of the MSG detachment in Montevideo take part in ceremony to honor fellow Marine buried in British Cemetery.


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