Ens Henry Purefoy Whitehurst, Jr

Ens Henry Purefoy Whitehurst, Jr

Death 9 Aug 1942 (aged 22)
Burial New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina, USA
Plot 1258
Memorial ID 25315695 · View Source
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U S Navy
U S Naval Academy, Class of 1942
Killed in Action First Battle of Savo Island (Buried at Sea) World War II
Son of Henry P. and Robbie Sams Whitehurst
graduated from US Naval Academy, Class of 1942.

Henry Purefoy Whitehurst, Jr.—born on 16 February 1920 at New Bern, N.C.—was appointed a midshipman on 14 July 1938 and, because of the exigencies of war, graduated with the Naval Academy's Class of 1942 on 19 December 1941. He reported to the heavy cruiser Astoria (CA-34) on the morning of 18 January 1942 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Whitehurst served as a junior watch and division officer in Astoria as that ship took part in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, and was in the cruiser when she participated in the landings on Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942. The next day, Astoria screened the vital transports as they unloaded supplies and equipment for the marines ashore, and that evening stood out to a night retirement station off Savo Island.

A little after 0152 on the morning of 9 August, a Japanese force under Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa— which had slipped undetected into the waters south of Savo Island—unleashed a devastating night attack on the Southern and Northern Forces. In the former, Chicago (CA-29) was damaged and the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra crippled so badly that she later sank.

The Northern Force, unaware of the enemy's presence until too late, soon took staggering punishment. Vin-cennes (CA-44) and Quincy (CA-39) sank before daylight, but Astoria lingered on while her surviving officers and men labored to save their ship. However, the damage proved too great; and Astoria—like her two sister ships—eventually succumbed shortly after noon on 9 August. Among the dead suffered in the Battle of Savo Island was Ensign Whitehurst"

The above information was provided by Lindsay Thomas (#48256201).

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  • Created by: Bernd Doss
  • Added: 16 Mar 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 25315695
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ens Henry Purefoy Whitehurst, Jr (16 Feb 1920–9 Aug 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 25315695, citing Cedar Grove Cemetery, New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Bernd Doss (contributor 46966885) .