Battle worn and stained flag and commissioning pennant from the Admiral Hopwood archive for the Light Cruiser USS Cleveland commanded by Hopwood flown during the period of Bombardment and capture of Angaur Island, Polau Island Group, from Sept 15- Oct. 1, 1944.
This lot was part of the Admiral Herbert Gladstone Hopwood Archive, containing the battle flag and commissioning pennant from the U.S.S. Cleveland, CL-55, flown on board that ship during the period of Hopwood’s command. Feeling that there was too much material for one group, I have divided up certain items making it possible for more collectors to have a piece or two at more affordable prices.
Admiral Hopwood was born November 23, 1898 in Mt. Carmel, PA. He attended public schools in Shamokin, Pa and made it his home of record. He was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate Class of 1919. While a midshipman, he served on active duty during WWI with the Atlantic Fleet, later graduating and commissioned Ensign.
From 1919 to 1925 Admiral Hopwood served on the USS America, USS Florida, and USS Hopkins, the served in the Department of Ordnance and Gunnery at Annapolis. Returning to sea duty in 1927, he was assigned to the Asiatic Station on the USS Hart until March of 1930, then transferred to USS Ramapo. Returning to the States in 1930, Hopwood was assigned as Aide to Commandant of Fourth Naval District, Philadelphia, until August of 1932.
His next duty was in connection with fitting out the USS Indianapolis, and served on the Cruiser as communication officer from Dec. of 1932 until June 1934. Hopwood was then detached from the USS Indianapolis to become the aide and flag lieutenant on the staff of Rear Admiral Arthur J. Hepburn, commander, Destroyers, Battle Force, Flagship USS Detroit. He remained in that position until assuming the command of the Scouting Force, Pacific Fleet, hoisting his flag on the USS Indianapolis.
In 1936, Admiral Hopwood was assigned to the Planning Division of the Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. (later re-designated Bureau of Naval Personnel). Returning to sea duty in 1938 he assumed command of the USS Mahan, serving there until June 1939. He was transferred to the USS Melville as executive officer until mid 1940.
Returning to Washington, he was once again with the Bureau of Naval Personnel (as of 1942). During this assignment he served in the Records Section and in the Central Division, later becoming Director of the latter. In Oct. 1942 he was assigned additional duty as a member of the Joint Staff Planners.
1944 found Hopwood aboard the Light Cruiser USS Cleveland, commanding that ship from August 1944 to July 3, 1945. His citation for Legion of Merit reads:
Gold Star in lieu of the second Legion of Merit. “For exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer of the USS Cleveland during operations against Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific Area, from August 14, 1944, to July 3, 1945. Employing his ship with maximum effectiveness, Captain Hopwood conducted devastating bombardments of hostile shore installations in support of our landings on enemy-held territory, maintaining a high standard of fighting efficiency throughout a prolonged period of intensive combat. A brilliant leader, Captain Hopwood assured the precise execution of each important assignment and, by his alert and cool command of the CLEVELAND, contributed immeasurably to the success of many Allied campaigns in a vital theater of war. His expert seammanship, resolute determination and unwavering devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.”
Hopwood’s first mission on Cleveland was to cover the invasion of the southern Palau Islands which included Pelieu, Anguar, and Ngesbus Islands. American troops encountered Japanese Imperial Marines, many in the six foot range and hurled some of the hardest resistance since the taking of Tarawa. The big guns on the Cleveland had become well worn, exceeding their normal life, and along with other needed repairs, she headed for the west coast and went into drydock at San Pedro, California on October 21, 1944.
Admireal Hopwood reported on August 13, 1945 for duty as Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington. In January 1946 he was ordered to duty as Assistant Chief of Naval Operation (Personnel) Navy Department, and assigned additional duty as a member of the Navy Board Formulating Post-War Policy on Promotion and Retirement of Officers.
On July 30, 1946, Rear Admiral Hopwood was nominated by the Senate of the US “to be Director of Budget and Reports in the Department of the Navy, with the rank of Rear Admiral, for a term of three years.” On August 9, 1949, he was reassigned to that post for an additional three-year period.
In 1952 to 1953 Admiral Hopwood took command of Cruiser Division Three and Cruiser Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet, and latter was assigned as chief of staff and aide to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet from 1953-1955. Hopwood received his third star becoming Vice Admiral in 1955 as Commander of the First Fleet; and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (logistics) from 1957 to 1958.
On 1 February, 1958, he was awarded his fourth star and became Commander In Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT). He would hold that command until his retirement from active duty on August 31, 1960, and awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Admiral Hopwood served in the Navy for 44 years. He past away at the age of 66, in September of 1966.
The flag and pennant are in very good condition, with each one having that battle look, with a heavy gray patina to the bunting of engine and gun smoke (camera flash makes the smokey color less prominent). Some of the stitching on the flag has popped in three places; some stars show wear, tears, little bits of material gone. The pennant is in the same condition, with the forked tail rather thread bare and tattered from snapping about in the wind and elements. The tag on the flag reads, “Battle flag flown by the USS Cleveland during the following Period Bombardment & Capture of Anguar Island, Polau Island group from- Sept 15th 44 to Oct 1st- 44.” The commissioning pennant tag reads, “Commission Pennant U.S.S. Cleveland Palau Islands Campaign Angaur- Peleliu Islands.”
Included is some paper work documents, etc from Hopwood’s day on the Cleveland and a few other pieces just after.
Finally, is the only framed photo from the archive of Admiral Hopwood from the WWII period. The mat is signed by, “Lt. Maurice Constant USNR” most likely the photographer. Framing was done by John Wanamaker, Philadelphia.”
A great historic American naval flag used by a known admiral during crucial engagements in the Pacific war.