Jules James

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Jules James
Admiral Jules James portrait.jpg
Portrait of Admiral James while he commanded U.S. forces in Bermuda.
Born 15 February 1885
Danville, Virginia
Died 12 March 1957
Bethesda, Maryland
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1906 — 1946
Rank Vice admiral
Commands held USS Edsall (DD-219)
USS Philadelphia (CL-41)
Office of Naval Intelligence
Sixth naval district
United States Sixth Fleet
Awards Legion of Honour
Other work Special representative, National Lead Company

Jules James, (February 14, 1885 – March 12, 1957), was a career U.S. Naval officer. During World War II he commanded U.S. Naval forces in Bermuda and then later oversaw the construction of a large number of U.S. Navy ships while commanding the Sixth Naval District.


Admiral James and Mrs. William P. Liddle preparing to christen the USS Liddle (DE-206) at Charleston Navy Yard

He was born on 14 February 1885 in Danville, Virginia.

Jules James graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1910 and was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy. One of his early assignments was as a White House naval aide to President Woodrow Wilson from 1912 to 1913. The following year James had his first taste of combat, serving on the USS Florida during the Battle of Veracruz. Lieutenant Commander James served as Executive Officer aboard the USS Rochester (CA-2) during World War I as the ship escorted convoys to and from Europe. For his actions Jules was give a special letter of commendation. Later, during the 70th U.S. Congress, special dispensation allowed James to accept the French Legion of Honour for his World War I service.[1]

In 1921 LCDR James and was present at one of the key changing moments in naval history. United States Army General Billy Mitchell, an outspoken advocate for air power, led a series of tests off the Virginia coast in which the ex-German battleship SMS Ostfriesland and other ships were sunk by bomber aircraft. James served as Chief Censor, given responsibility for censoring what information about the tests were released to the news media.[2] After a tour aboard the USS Columbia in 1922, James served as Assistant Naval Attache to the American embassies in France, Spain, and Portugal from 1923 to 1926.

At times between 1926 and 1934 James was navigator on the USS Florida (BB-30); commanded the USS Edsall (DD-219), with which he participated in the Yangtze River patrol; served as naval aide for the Governor-General of the Philippines; attended the Naval War College; and commanded the Destroyer Division 6, Battle Force, U.S. Fleet. In 1933 James was head of the Department of Ordnance and Gunnery at the U.S. Naval Academy.[3] In 1937 he directed the fitting out of the light cruiser USS Philadelphia (CL-41), which he then commanded until mid-1939. From 1939 to 1941, he served as assistant director, and briefly acting director, of the Office of Naval Intelligence. In 1941 he became commander of the newly acquired U.S. Naval Operating Base on Bermuda, where he also commanded the combined U.S. and British local defense forces.

From May 1943 to September 1945, James commanded the Sixth Naval District, headquartered at Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, South Carolina.[4] In 1945 James received his final assignment, commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Mediterranean waters. He retired from active duty in 1946.

In addition to being a serving officer, James was an inventor and songwriter. During his time in Bermuda James wrote and published the tune "Traveling High". Earlier in his career he was responsible for the invention of a new type of gunsight for Navy machine guns and a naval mine.[5]

He died on 12 March 1957 in Bethesda, Maryland.


Jules James was born in Danville, Virginia, where he studied at Virginia Military Institute preparatory to entering the U. S. Naval Academy. In 1928 he married Eleanor Standish Gamble, niece of U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson. Gamble was also the great-great granddaughter of American founding father Roger Sherman. Following his retirement from the Navy in 1946, James became a special representative in Europe for the National Lead Company.[6]


  1. ^ "James, Jules VADM career". Together We Served website. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Naval Bombing Experiements off the Virginia Capes". U.S. Navy archives online. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Naval Ordnance Books". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Official Chroology of the US Navy in World War II: Appendix 1". United States Navy. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Guide to the Jules James Papers, 1907-1968". East Carolina University website. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Guide to the Jules James Papers, 1907-1968". East Carolina University website. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 

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