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Clifford Harris Roper

Clifford H Roper
Clifford H Roper

Clifford Harris Roper, seen here as a Captain, was born Oct 16, 1894 in Napa, California to Clifford Alvin Roper (1870 – 1942) and Mabel Eva Lovejoy Roper (1870 – 1954). His father owned a grocery store in Napa. In 1910 at age 15 he worked as a messenger boy in the Post Office. He had a younger brother named Foster (named for his grandfather whose middle name was Harris) and an even younger sister named Lotus.

Roper was a 1916 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and soon after married Catherine A. Parker on June 3, 1916. They soon had a daughter Catherine named for her mother.

He had been serving aboard the battleship USS Maine (Battleship No. 10) in February 1919 but was detached to be an aid and staff lieutenant to Admiral Wells, commander of Battleship Division #1, Atlantic Fleet. In September 1919 he was assigned to the battleship USS New Hampshire (Battleship No. 25), but quickly volunteered for submarine duty because by 1921 he was aboard the USS R-13 (SS-90) stationed out of Pearl Harbor. He was transferred on May 26, 1921 to command of the USS R-14 (SS-91) relieving Vincent A. Clarke, Jr. in the aftermath of the famous R-14 under sail incident.

He was again transferred, this time as the commissioning CO of the USS S-38 (SS-143) built at Bethlehem San Francisco. The S-38 was commissioned on May 11, 1923.

In 1926 daughter Ruth A. Roper was born and later in life was married to Clark P. Jeffers.

Under Instruction Naval War College 1938 - 1 Jan 1939
Staff Naval War College July 1, 1939 - October 1, 1939
Commander Submarine Division Twelve July 1, 1940 - November 12, 1940
Commander Submarine Division Forty Two October 1, 1941
Commander Submarine Squadron Eight Apr 1942 - October 12, 1942
Commanding Officer USS New Orleans (CA-32) Nov 1942 - Apr 1943
Captain of the Yard Portsmouth Navy Yard Jun 1943 - Feb 1946
Commander Naval Ordnance Plant Pocatello 1 Nov 1946 - 1948

On July 1, 1936 he was promoted to Commander and in July 1940 he was relieved of his position on the Staff of the Naval War College and replaced CDR Scott Umsted as Commander of Submarine Division 12 and held that position until November of 1940 when he was moved to COMSUBDIV 42.

On January 1, 1942 he was promoted to full Captain and later that year was given command of the heavy cruiser USS New Orleans (CA-32) and was awarded a Navy Cross for his part in the Battle of Tassafaronga where the New Orleans, though heavily damaged, continued to fight the enemy to the end of the battle. Roper's crew saved the ship despite her damage.

In 1944 Roper was photographed (above) at the commissioning of the USS Sea Devil (SS-400).

Clifford H. Roper retired from the Navy as a Rear Admiral and lived in San Francisco, Calif until his death on January 22, 1971.

He is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Plot: Section X Site 5303. Wife, daughter and son-in-law are all buried in the same plot.

Thanks to Jim Haas for adding detail to this Bio.

US Navy Photo

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