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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Simons

Birthplace: Charleston, SC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Bentham

Date of Birth: 29 April 1888

Date of Death: 19 July 1971

Rank or Rate: Rear Admiral

Years Served:
Robert Bentham Simons

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Robert Bentham Simons
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Robert Bentham Simons was born on 29 April 1888 in Charleston, SC. Simons was educated in the Charleston city schools, attending Charleston High School and the College of Charleston.

Simons graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1911. His first duty assignment was on board the battleship USS Ohio. He was a member of the landing force from the ship in Cuba in 1912 and was in Haiti and Santo Domingo during the revolution of 1913. In 1914 he was assigned to the battleship USS Florida and during World War I, he served aboard her in the North Sea. Prior to World War II, his assignments included being the Commanding Officer of USS Harding, USS Simpson and USS Lavaliette; and was Executive Officer of the USS Texas and USS Arkansas.

On 7 December 1941, Simons was Commanding Officer of the cruiser USS Raleigh when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Though his ship was hit by a torpedo, a bomb and other fire, the Raleigh did not sink and her crew is credited with shooting down five enemy aircraft. Simons was awarded the Legion of Merit and Combat "V" and his citation said that "his ship fought gallantly as the furious bombing continued for two hours and by his effective maintenance of material readiness and his resourcefulness in damage control measures, he succeeded in holding to a minimum the damage to the Raleigh."

In addition to his war time duty, he served as Commanding Officer of the Torpedo Station and Proving Range in Alexandria, VA, and on the staff of the Commander of the Philippine Sea Frontier in Manila. In 1946 he returned to Charleston as Commander of the Charleston Ammunition Department, a post he held until his retirement.

Effective 1 January 1947, Simons was promoted to Rear Admiral and he retired from the Navy the same day.

In Retirement

After retiring from the Navy, he was named as the resident manager of the Charleston Municipal Airport and remained in that position until 1949 when he joined the faculty of the Gaud School of Charleston. Later he authored several publications on the history of the American Revolution and South Carolina's part in it. He was elected president of the South Carolina Historical Society in 1954 and governor of the Society for Colonial Wars in the State of South Carolina in 1962.

Death and Burial

Rear Admiral Robert Bentham Simons died on 19 July 1971 in Charleston, SC. He is buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, SC

Honoree ID: 3086   Created by: MHOH




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