WHITEMARSH, Ross Palmer, RADM

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1946-1949, 114X, Mine Warfare Inspection Group
Service Years
1918 - 1949
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Washington
Washington
Year of Birth
1895
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember WHITEMARSH, Ross Palmer, RADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Olympia, Washington
Last Address
Burial:
Saint Pauls Episcopal Church Cemetery
Oaks, Montgomery County
Pennsylvania, USA

Date of Passing
Jun 21, 1977
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin US Navy Retired 30


 Unofficial Badges 

Pearl Harbor Memorial Medallion US Navy Honorable Discharge


 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)
  1950, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Rear Adm. Ross P. Whitemarsh, USN (Ret.)


As an ensign in World War I, Admiral Whitemarsh spent 10 days in a lifeboat after a German submarine torpedoed and sank the British troop transport Dwinsk off Norfolk, Va., on June 18, 1918.

In World War II, he commanded the minesweeper Pacific. He was awarded the Navy Cross, Legion of Merit twice, and received the British Silver Life Saving Medal for Gallantry by King George V of England.

A graduate of the United States Naval Aademy in 1918, the Olympia, Wash., native retired from the Navy in 1949 after 35 years of service. 

Ross Palmer Whitemarsh would settle in Pennsylvania at the Neebor Lee home with its many acres of farm and pasture. In 1923 the twenty-eight year old naval Lieutenant married Rebecca Bird Gumbes, who was the daughter of Francis Macomb Gumbes, owner of the Broadview Mansion, and the niece of Charles Wetherill Gumbes, then owner of the Neebor Lee Mansion. It just so happened that coinciding with the Rear Admiral’s retirement from the Navy, Charles Wetherill Gumbes was incapacitated by a stroke. With her uncle having no direct heirs to care for him during his illness, Rebecca and her retired husband and her daughter Frances “Taffy” Whitemarsh moved east to assume that care. With Broadview Mansion by that time no longer in the hands of the Gumbes family, the Whitemarsh family moved into the Neebor Lee in 1949 and remained there until the retired Rear Admiral’s death in 1977.

 

   
Other Comments:
Ross Whitemarsh was present at Pearl Harbor, on the bridge of the USS Gamble, on December 7th when the American naval ships stationed in the harbor were subjected to a surprise attack by Japanese aircraft. Commander Whitemarsh described the attack in a report that he prepared three days later for the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy:
 
Japanese Air Raid on Pearl Harbor, T.H., December 7, 1941 – Report:
  1. When the first Japanese planes were observed to attack Ford Island at 0756, December 7, 1941, all vessels of Mine Division TWO went to general quarters, set condition AFIRM, and opened anti-aircraft fire with 3″-23 calibre and .50 calibre guns within an average time of four minutes. Boats were sent for liberty parties and information concerning the raid telephoned to personnel ashore in accordance with doctrine. These measures were effective since but one officer and a handful of men missed the sailing of the Division which effected the sortie a relatively short time after it was ordered. The sortie plan designation was received at 0850 and vessels got underway from Buoy D-3, Middle Loch, as follows: – Ramsay0855; Breese 0917; Gamble 0930; Montgomery
  2. While at the buoy, offensive measures consisted of anti-aircraft fire directed at Japanese strafing planes by all means available. No bombs were dropped near the division although enemy small calibre machine gun bullets as well as shrapnel were observed to fall on and near the ship. While a number of planes under fire by the Division were seen to crash, gunfire of other surface vessels contributed to their destruction. One dive bomber, however, passing near this Division which was the last unit to take it under fire, was observed to be hit and to crash nearby in Middle Loch. Individual ships reports of action as well as my mailgram 140135 covering the air raid have been forwarded under separate cover to the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
  3. Main radio antennae were partly shot away on two of the ships, probably by their own machine gun fire and the Gamble had a foremast stay stranded by enemy machine gun bullet. Enemy action caused no injury to personnel either on board ship or in boats returning to the berth.
  4. Shortly after the Gamble got underway a number of communications were received. The Curtiss reported a submarine in sight and submarines were reported both inside and outside the harbor. Japanese planes were dropping heavy charges which did not explode off the harbor entrance, and vessels were warned to watch for mines. Battleships were ordered to stay in the harbor while destroyers were to proceed to sea in order to destroy submarines. It was apparent that the term destroyer included minelayers, and the last two ships of the Division cleared the harbor at speeds up to fifteen knots. Just the previous day, Commanding Officers of the Division had been informed that they would be assigned duty with the Off-shore Patrol on M-day, and they accordingly proceeded to search for submarines off Pearl Harbor entrance in the Off-shore area. All ships of the Division made repeated depth charge attacks during the next few days on supersonic indication of the presence of submarines. While submarines may have been destroyed during these attacks, positive proof is lacking. The deterrent effect on any enemy submarine present, however, must have been considerable.
  5. While conducting a depth charge attack shortly after noon off Diamond Head, the Gamble received three dispatches from the Commander-in-Chief addressed to All Ships Present in the Hawaiian Area. Ships were ordered to attack transports reported four miles off Barber’s Point. All vessels which had departed from Pearl Harbor were to organize as Task Force ONE with Commander Destroyers assuming command and reporting to Commander Task Force EIGHT. Ships of Task Force ONE were ordered to take course West after clearing the harbor entrance and to report position, composition and speed. The Gamble continued with the depth charge attack until all contact was lost and then proceeded toward Barber’s Point where no transports were found. She continued westward until at 1735 contact was made with the Enterprise and Commander Aircraft Battle Force ordered her to join that vessel as part of the anti-submarine screen. This duty continued until 0723 the following morning when orders were received to report to the Off-shore Patrol at Pearl entrance, informing the Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District and the Commander-in-Chief. By this time temporary emergency repairs had been made to the main radio antenna and communications were reestablished. it was learned that the other three ships of the Division had received orders to maintain stations with the Off-shore Patrol. The Division continued with this duty making investigations and anti-submarine search and attacks until shortage of fuel required return to port on the evening of December 12, 1941.
  6. While no individual were conspicuous or distinguished in their action during the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor, the conduct of the personnel was uniformly courageous, energetic, steady and effective. Without exception, the behavior of the crews under fire was excellent.
[signed]
ROSS P. WHITEMARSH.
   
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 Duty Stations
Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)USS Texas (BB-35)US Navy
Naval War College (Faculty Staff)Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic (COMNAVSURFLANT)/COMMINEWARCOMMine Force Pacific Fleet (MINEPAC)Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)
Mine Warfare Inspection Group
  1918-1918, 111X, Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)/Commander, Mine and Minesweeping Division, Atlantic Fleet
  1922-1923, 111X, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1923-1924, 111X, USS Texas (BB-35)
  1925-1928, 111X, USS Meyer (DD-279)
  1929-1930, 111X, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1930-1931, 111X, Naval War College (Faculty Staff)
  1931-1934, 111X, USS Ramapo (AO-12)
  1935-1937, 111X, USS Hale (DD-133)
  1938-1939, 111X, 6th Naval District
  1941-1942, 111X, COMINERON 2/MINEDIV 127
  1942-1945, 114X, Mine Force Pacific Fleet (MINEPAC)
  1943-1944, 111X, Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)/Commander, Special Service Squadron
  1946-1949, 114X, Mine Warfare Inspection Group
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1918-1918 World War I/Atlantic Convoy
  1941-1941 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Attack on Pearl Harbor
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1914-1918, United States Naval Academy4
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Whitemarsh's documentation of a 112 foot wave. 1
  Nov 19, 1919, Foreign Award: British Silver Medal for gallantry
  Jul 01, 2016, General Photos2
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