Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060
Robert M. Morris was born on 18 April 1901 in New York, New York. He attended high school in Harrodsburg, Kentucky before being appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1919. He graduated and was commissioned an Ensign on 7 June 1923.
Following graduation, Morris was assigned to USS Texas, flagship of Battleship Division Three, and in 1924 transferred to the destroyer Bainbridge where he served until 1929. For ten months in 1929 and 1930 he served on the oiler Sapelo, operating between Norfolk and Newport, Virginia, and Manila. He returned to the U.S. in June 1930, and attended the General Line course at the Navy Postgraduate School in Annapolis, Maryland. His graduate work in organization, administration, and the psychology of leadership continued through June 1932.
After completing his graduate studies and work in recruit training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Morris reported to the destroyer Greer in 1932. The following year he was assigned to USS Herbert, flagship of Destroyer Division One. He served on Herbert until June 1935, when he departed for a year of training at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
In June 1936, Morris reported to Third Naval District Headquarters in New York as Assistant Naval Intelligence Officer and Officer in Charge of the Public Relations Bureau. As Public Relations Officer, he aided the Commandant of the District and the Navy Department in maintaining relations with foreign officials, the public, and the press.
Morris's service with the Third Naval District ended in July 1937 when he was assigned to USS West Virginia. In 1939, he left West Virginia to assume command of USS Borie, where he took part in amphibious exercises, training cruises, and neutrality patrol operations in the Caribbean. Morris left Borie in 1940 to assume duties on the staff of the Naval Postgraduate School in Annapolis.
During 1942 and 1943, he spent six months as Division Commander onboard USS Moffett, operating as an escort commander and in hunter-killer groups between Trinidad and South American ports. This duty culminated with the task of planning the voyage of the French battleship Richelieu from Dakar to New York in early 1943.
On 1 May 1943, Morris was promoted to the rank of Captain. From that year until 1945, he served in LSTs and participated in various amphibious operations as an Attack Group Commander and later as Commander Advanced Amphibious Landings for Flag Officer, Western Italy. This included command of a combined force in a successful feint behind German lines north of Naples. In August 1944, he participated in the Allied landings in Southern France, commanding the Beach Assault Group of Camel Force Green under Rear Admiral Spencer S. Lewis.
After the war, Morris served as Secretary of the Academic Board at the U.S. Naval Academy and Officer in Charge of Outside Courses for the Naval Postgraduate School until late 1946. He was next assigned as Operations Officer at Pearl Harbor, with the additional duties of Port Director.
Detached in June 1948, Morris became Chief of Staff to Commander Amphibious Training Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Admiral J. H. Doyle. He held that post until 1949, when he was named Chief of Staff to Rear Admiral L. A. Thackrey, Commander Amphibious Group Four. In August 1950, Group Four became Group Three, and proceeded to the Western Pacific for participation in the Inchon Landings. While in this assignment, Morris also participated in the landings at Iwon on the northeastern coast of Korea and in the redeployment of civilians and elements of the Eighth Army December 1950 and March 1951.
Beginning in March 1951, Morris served as Chief of Staff to Commandant of the Sixth Naval District. Five months later, he was reassigned to the Joint Amphibious Board, where he spent the next year before being transferred to the Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals.
Captain Morris was transferred to the retired list 1 July 1953, with the tombstone rank of Rear Admiral. Admiral Morris died in March 1984 in Annapolis, Maryland.
Scope and Content Note
The year 1994 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Allied landings in France during World War II. Celebrations marking the occasion were held throughout the country, beginning with the anniversary of the Normandy landing in June and continuing through the summer. Many towns and cities in southern France took part in the commemoration, celebrating the anniversary of the August 1944 landings.
This collection contains materials on the anniversary of the August 1944 landings in southern France. The material was collected by Patricia Ganter, Admiral Morris's daughter, while attending the celebrations and the naming of a street in honor of Admiral Morris. Most of the items in this collection relate to the history of the landings in the Saint-Raphael area on 15 August 1944, the celebration, and reminiscences of veterans and civilians living in the area. Most of the collection is in French.
There are three series in the collection. Series I, Publications, contains published histories of the landings in southern France and programs and descriptions of the events scheduled as part of the anniversary celebration. The publications include Aout 1944: Premieres Victoires en Provence, Armées d'Aujourd'hui, Celebration of Allied Landing in Provence, and Les Fêtes de la Libération. They are arranged alphabetically by title.
During the anniversary celebration, the town of Boulouris, near Saint-Raphael, named a street "Rue Amiral Morris" in honor of U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Morris. Series II contains photographs of the 13 August 1994 dedication ceremony and the street. Also included are photos of Mayor of Saint-Raphael M. Charles Omédé; Morris's executive officer, George Delhomme; and his grandson, Carl Ganter, on the French aircraft carrier Foch.
In the third series, Miscellaneous Documents, are clippings from French newspapers about the anniversary celebrations and a copy of the invitation to the dedication ceremony for Rue Amiral Morris.
This collection should be cited as Papers of the Family of Robert M. Morris, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.
0.25 cubic feet
3 July 2003