USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

Henry Purefoy Whitehurst Jr.

16 February 1920 -- 9 August 1942

Henry Purefoy Whitehurst Jr. was born in New Bern, N.C. and died in action during the Battle of Savo Island in the U.S. Navy's first year in WWII.

Appointed midshipman 14 July 1938, graduated from the Naval Academy, 19 December 1941 and reported aboard the heavy cruiser Astoria, 18 January 1942 in Pearl Harbor Hawaii.

He served as junior watch and division officer aboard Astoria during the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway and during the landings on Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942. The next day the Astoria screened for 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.

In the early hours of 9 August, a Japanese force under Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawawhich unleashed a devastating night attack on the Southern and Northern Forces.
In the Southern Force, Chicago (CA-29) was damaged and the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra was crippled so badly that she later sunk.

The Northern Force, unaware of the enemy's presence until too late, soon took staggering punishment. Vincennes (CA-44) and Quincy (CA-39) sank before daylight. 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.

Midshipman Henry P. Whitehurst, 1938 and as an Upperclassman

Robbie Sams Whitehurst christens the ship named after her son, September 5th, 1943, Bethlehem Shipyard, San Francisco, CA.

Whitehurst slides into the waters of San Francisco Bay.

We express our gratitude to Mary Carter Guion, sister of Henry Whitehurst, for preserving and providing the above photos, and to her son-in-law, Mike Monkusky who scanned and uploaded them to me.  max crow, site author

20 August 2010  I received  e-mail from Tom Faulkenberry, Auctioneer, telling me of the upcoming Estate Auction of Mary Carter Guion, sister of Ens. Whitehurst, which included several items which had belonged to Henry Purefoy Whitehurst.  A few of photos of his personal property are shown below.  Using Tom's online facilities, I placed a couple of modest bids and was quite surprised to win the bid for the lighter.  It will become a display item for the Whitehurst reunions. 

The same e-mail which notified me of my winning bid contained this paragraph.
Fortunately, many of Hank's items were purchased by Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens, a large local museum complex (New Bern, NC), who are going to display them locally.  I also spoke with another buyer who had already done some research on Henry, Jr. We spoke this AM and he is spearheading a movement to get a local street name changed to honor Henry.  I guess it's about time he got the recognition he deserved for his sacrifice. Their web site is 
You can find the address and phone numbers on this page.  mc

Ronson Cigarette Lighter with initials.  note: the lighter is all chrome.  The brown
color shown is the reflection from wood surface below it. mc

The following pictures of the Lighter Display were prepared after I received it. mc

Other items which were in the Estate Auction

Henry P. Whitehurst's Officer's Sword and Case

Henry P. Whitehurst's Midshipman's uniform

USS Whitehurst Launch Souvenirs

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