Vice Admiral Robert C. Giffen, USN
(29 June 1886 - 10 December 1962)
An Inventory of His Collection
|Repository:||Navy Department Library|
|Creator:||Robert C. Giffen|
|Title:||Robert C. Giffen Collection|
|Abstract:||This collection consists of official documents and correspondence retained by Admiral Giffen during his thirty-nine year career in the United States Navy. A major portion of this material consists of planning documents and after action reports for Operation Torch, the 1942 invasion of North Africa. Admiral Giffen, then a rear admiral, commanded the covering force (Task Force 34.1) in that operation. Other documents of particular interest include a series of daily diaries prepared by Admiral Giffen while he was serving on the China Station in the late 1920's and a report describing the 1927 Peasants Revolt in Canton, China.|
|Language:||The records are in English.|
Vice Admiral Robert C. Giffen, USN (1886-1962)
Robert Carlisle Giffen was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, on 29 June 1886. He attended the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana, before appointment to the US Naval Academy from the State of Nebraska in 1903. Midshipman Giffen graduated with the Academy's class of 1907 and was assigned to the battleship Virginia, in which he voyaged around the world with the "Great White Fleet" between late 1907 and early 1909. During the next four years, Giffen served on several ships and also participated regularly in the National Rifle Matches. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Giffen served at the Washington Navy Yard from 1913-1915 and was then assigned to the new destroyer Wainwright.
During 1917-1918, Lieutenant Commander Giffen commanded the destroyer Trippe in European Waters and served with the Sixth Battle Squadron, attached to the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea. In mid-1918 he took command of the new destroyer Schley, serving on her at Gibraltar and in the Mediterranean Sea until August 1919. From then until the middle 1930s he had shore duty at San Francisco, California, at the Naval Academy and at Keyport, Washington; served afloat as Executive Officer of USS Huron; and was Commanding Officer of the gunboat Sacramento, a Destroyer Squadron, and the oiler Neches. Between 1934 and 1937, Captain Giffen was again stationed at the Naval Academy, followed by a tour in command of the light cruiser Savannah in 1938-1940.
Giffen attended the Naval War College in 1940 and spent several months in Washington, DC, as Director of the Naval Reserve Policy Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In March 1941, Rear Admiral Giffen became commander of a cruiser division. He led the North Atlantic Neutrality Patrol on increasingly "warlike" operations during the latter part of 1941, and, once war formally began in December, commanded surface forces that escorted convoys and, at times, operated with the British Home Fleet. In November 1942, he participated in the North Africa invasion, during which his task force actively engaged French warships and aircraft off Casablanca, Morocco.
During 1943 and into 1944, Rear Admiral
Giffen commanded battleship and cruiser task forces in the Pacific,
participating in the latter stages of the fight for
Guadalcanal, the Aleutians campaign, the invasions of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and raids against Japanese bases in the central Pacific. In May 1944, with the rank of Vice Admiral, he became Commandant of the Tenth Naval District and Commander, Caribbean Sea Frontier, with headquarters at San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was Commander, Service Force, US Atlantic Fleet, from August 1945. Vice Admiral Robert C. Giffen retired from active duty at the beginning of September 1946. He died at Annapolis, Maryland, on 10 December 1962.
The bulk of this collection consists of material documenting Admiral Giffen's thirty-nine year career in the United States Navy. Included are documents relating to his service in the Queenstown Patrol during World War I, his activities while serving with the Asiatic Fleet on the China Station in the inter war years, and his command of the Neutrality Patrol in 1941. The remainder of the collection contains a battle plan used to prepare for Operation Torch.
The collection is organized by subject folders, arranged in chronological order. The battle plan is housed in its own box.
|Official Orders Issued by the Navy Department for Robert C. Giffen.|
World War I Documents Relating to Destroyer Service
Proceedings of Allied ships showing attacks and losses to enemy actions, May - September 1917.
Schedule of employment ("Destroyer Program") for US destroyers at Queenstown.
Orders, 13 September 1940 - 19 November 1942.
Official orders issued by the Navy Department for Robert C. Giffen.
Semiofficial Correspondence, 24 September 1940 - 26 March 1941
Routine correspondence received and sent by Rear Admiral Giffen.
Incoming Correspondence, 28 February - 28 December 1941.
Letters and semiofficial correspondence received by Rear Admiral Giffen.
Neutrality Patrol Radio Messages, April - December 1941.
Message flimsies addressed to Admiral Giffen's commands.
War Diary - USS Wichita, Flagship, Cruiser Division Seven
War Diary for period 1 October - 31 October 1942.
Operation Torch - After Action Reports
After action reports filed by the following ships and commands: Destroyer Division Eight Wichita (CA-45) Tuscaloosa (CA-37) Rhind (DD-404) Jenkins (DD-447) Mayrant (DD-402)
Unrelated correspondence, memoranda, message flimsies, and personal letters found in the collection.
Robert C. Giffen Collection
Naval History and Heritage Command
Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC
Torpedo Town U.S.A.
Historical Naval Ships Society Web Page
Restrictions on Use
Manuscripts are unavailable for loan and must be consulted in the library. Photocopying of manuscripts is generally prohibited, though the use of digital cameras by researchers to reproduce non-copyrighted materials is permitted. Permission to photocopy a limited number of pages may be granted by the reference staff, contingent upon the physical state of items. All photocopying of materials shall be done by the reference staff, or under their close supervision. The use of personal scanners by non-library staff personnel must be approved by the reference staff on a document-by-document basis (Reference: Naval History and Heritage Command Instruction [NAVHISTCENTINST] 5070.1C.).
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Giffen, Richard C.
Navy. Asiatic Fleet
World War II, Naval Operations, Neutrality Patrol
World War II, Naval Operations, Operaton Torch
Cite as: Historical Manuscripts, Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington DC, Robert C. Giffen Collection.
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Thomas Wildenberg in July 2006.