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James Patrick Sinnott Devereux (February 20, 1903 – August 5, 1988) was a United States Marine Corps general, Navy Cross recipient, and Republican congressman. He was the commanding officer of the 1st Defense Battalion during the defense of Wake Island in December 1941. He was captured on Wake Island as a prisoner of war, along with his men, after a 15-day battle with the Japanese. After his release in September 1945, he concluded his military career in 1948 and represented the second congressional district of the state of Maryland in the United States House of Representatives for four terms from 1951 to 1959. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election as Governor of Maryland in 1958.
James P. S. Devereux
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Maryland's 2nd district
January 3, 1951 – January 3, 1959
|Preceded by||William P. Bolton|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Baugh Brewster|
James Patrick Sinnott Devereux
February 20, 1903
|Died||August 5, 1988 (aged 85)|
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
|Branch/service||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1923–1948|
World War II
*Battle of Wake Island
Devereux was born in Cabana, Cuba, where his father, a U.S. Army surgeon, was stationed. In 1910, the family moved to Chevy Chase, Maryland, on the north border of the District of Columbia with Washington, D.C. There, Devereux, one of ten children, rode to hounds in Rock Creek Park and played polo. At age 10 he obtained a driver's license from the District of Columbia, which had no age requirement at the time.
Devereux also attended the Army and Navy Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., then the Tome School overlooking the Susquehanna River at Port Deposit, Maryland, LaVilla in Lausanne, Switzerland (when his parents lived in Vienna, Austria), and later Loyola College of Baltimore, a "Jesuit" Roman Catholic institution in Maryland.
Marine Corps careerEdit
Devereux enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in July 1923 at age 20, was commissioned a second lieutenant in February 1925, and then was assigned to duty in Norfolk, Virginia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Marine barracks at Quantico, Virginia, and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 1926, he was detailed to the mail guard detachment in New York City and later was transferred to the force of Marines then serving in Nicaragua as a company officer.
Returning to the United States early in 1927, he was assigned to the USS Utah and subsequently was transferred ashore again to Nicaragua. Shortly thereafter he was ordered to the Orient and while in China was promoted to first lieutenant. Other duty in China included command of the Mounted Detachment of the U.S. Legation Guard at Peking.
In 1933, following a year's tour of duty at Quantico, he was assigned to the Coast Artillery School at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Following his promotion to captain in December 1935, he was ordered back to Quantico, where, until 1936, he instructed in the Base Defense Weapons School and aided in the preparation of a Marine Corps manual on Base Defense Weapons.
In 1938, following a tour of duty with the Marine detachment on board the USS Utah, Devereux was transferred to the Marine Corps Base at San Diego.
Defense of Wake IslandEdit
In January 1941, Devereux was ordered to Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands and later assumed command of the First Marine Defense Battalion on Wake Island in the northwest Pacific Ocean. On the morning of Monday, December 8, 1941, he received the message that Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Japanese a few hours earlier (Sunday, December 7, 1941). In the fight that followed, (the Battle of Wake Island) then-Major Devereux and his men damaged two cruisers, sank two destroyers, one escort vessel, and destroyed or damaged a total of 72 aircraft, and probably sank one submarine. Two more destroyers were damaged the last day. However, later, after a second more intensive larger invasion force attacked, after days of bitter fighting, the 449 Marines surrendered to the Japanese on December 23, 1941.
Prisoner of warEdit
After his capture, he remained on Wake Island until January 12, 1942, when he was sent away with his men on the Nita Maru. He stopped at Yokohama, where some American officers debarked, but later arrived at Woosung, China, located downriver from Shanghai, on January, 24. He remained there until December 9, 1942, when he was transferred to Kiangwan, where he spent 29 months imprisoned. For five weeks, he stayed at Fungtai, near Peiping, and then was transferred to camps in central Hokkaidō, northern island of Japan.
Devereux was released from the Hokkaidō Island prison camp on September 15, 1945.
After World War IIEdit
After a brief rehabilitation leave, he was assigned as a student in the Senior Course at the Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico from September 1946 to May 1947. Upon completion of his studies, he was detached to the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California, and was serving with that organization when he concluded his 25-year career on August 1, 1948. In 1947, his book, Story of Wake Island, was published.
Devereux was advanced to the rank of brigadier general upon retirement in accordance with law, having been specially commended for the performance of duty in actual combat. For his leadership in defending the tiny American outpost for 15 days against overwhelming odds, Devereux was awarded the Navy Cross. His citation reads:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Major James Patrick Sinnott Devereux, United States Marine Corps, for distinguished and heroic conduct in the line of his profession, as Commanding Officer of the First Marine Defense Battalion, Naval Air Station, Wake Island. Major Devereux was responsible for directing defenses of that post during the Japanese siege from 7 through December 22, 1941, against impossible odds. Major Devereux's inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.
Awards and decorationsEdit
BGen Devereux's awards include:
Devereux became eligible for the Prisoner of War Service Medal when it was authorized on November 8, 1985.
Post-military career – farming, Congress, public safetyEdit
Devereux took up horse farming – with a farm near Glyndon, Maryland, in suburban Baltimore County; and following his retirement from the Marine Corps, Devereux moved to a 200-acre (0.81 km2) farm at Stevenson, Maryland.
In 1950, Devereux was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Congress for Maryland's 2nd Congressional District by defeating incumbent Democratic Rep. William P. Bolton. Devereux would serve four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 3, 1951, to January 3, 1959. During his Congressional career, he supported public school desegregation and ending racial discrimination in employment. He served on the House Armed Services Committee from July 3, 1952 (replacing John Anderson (R-Calif.)) until he left Congress. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1958, but was an unsuccessful candidate for election as Governor of Maryland against Democrat J. Millard Tawes from Crisfield on Maryland's lower Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. In 1960, he was named Republican Party chairman in his congressional district.
He later served as Director of Public Safety for Baltimore County, Maryland from December 1962 to 1966, supervising the police and fire departments.
He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
He was resident of Ruxton, Maryland until his death.
While stationed in the Philippines, Devereux met Mary Brush Welch, the daughter of an American missionary. They were married in 1932. They had one son and one daughter who died at birth (1934). Mrs. Devereux died of complications from diabetes in 1942, shortly after his capture by the Japanese on Wake Island. She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In 1946, he married Rachel Clarke Cooke and they had two sons. The second Mrs. Devereux died in 1977. He married a third time, to Edna Burnside Howard – in 1978, gaining a stepson and three stepdaughters. His sister, Margaret, married Brigadier General Richard H. Jeschke, USMC.
Death and burialEdit
Brigadier General Devereux died at age 85 in Stella Maris Hospice in the county seat of Towson, Maryland, just north of Baltimore on August 5, 1988, from pneumonia. He is interred in Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia overlooking the Potomac River.
|Democratic||William Bolton (Incumbent)||96,498||48.7|
|Republican||James Devereux (Incumbent)||95,811||50.2|
|Democratic||A. Gordon Boone||60,121||38.6|
|Republican||James Devereux (Incumbent)||67,179||56.1|
|Republican||James Devereux (Incumbent)||103,103||58.1|
|Democratic||A. Gordon Boone||74,224||41.9|
|Democratic||J. Millard Tawes||485,061||63.6|
- Wise, James E.; Scott Baron (2007). Navy Cross. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-59114-945-3. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- Uhlig, Mark (August 8, 1988). "James Devereux is dead at 85; War hero and a Congressman". New York Times.
- "Historical Full Committee Membership: 1951–1960". House Armed Services Committee, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- "James Patrick Sinnott Devereux, Brigadier General, United States Marine Corps". ArlingtonCemetery.net. January 3, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
- This article incorporates text in the public domain from the U.S. Government.
- United States Congress. "James Devereux (id: D000278)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2008-02-07
- "Brigadier General James P. S. Devereux, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- Eugene L. Meyer, "A Hero's Welcome", Bethesda Magazine, July/August 2007
- Uhlig, Mark (August 8, 1988). "James Devereux is dead at 85; War hero and a Congresman". New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- Heinl, Lieutenant Colonel R.D., Jr., USMC (1947). The Defense of Wake. Marines in World War II. Historical Section, Division of Public Information, U.S. Marine Corps. ISBN 0-89839-155-5. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- Urwin, Professor Gregory J.W. (Spring 2005). "Discipline, Camaraderie, and Luck: A Tale of POW Survival". Strategic Visions Magazine. Center of the Study of Force and Diplomacy, Temple University. 6 (1).
'...we had our own military discipline regardless of the fact that we were POWs....And I think this is one of the things that held our men together, held our camp together – tighter, and gave us a sense of respectability even though we were prisoners.'... The person most responsible for fostering this spirit of order, pride, and self-respect was Wake's senior Marine, Major James P. S. Devereux. In the prewar Marine Corps, Devereux earned a reputation as a humorless martinet, and most of his enlisted subordinates disliked him for his aloof manner and nitpicking command style.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
William P. Bolton
| U.S. Congressman, Maryland 2nd District
Daniel B. Brewster
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Maryland
Frank Small, Jr.