Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Devereux, James P. S. (1903–1988)

U.S. Marine officer and commander on Wake Island. Born 20 February 1903 in Cabana, Cuba, to a military family, James Devereux attended numerous preparatory schools and studied in Switzerland before enlisting in the U.S. Marines in 1923. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1925, he served in a variety of assignments afloat and ashore, including in Nicaragua and Cuba. Promoted to captain in 1935, he was assigned to the Base Defense Weapons School, where he assisted in writing the basic doctrine for defense battalions.

In October 1941, Devereux arrived on Wake Island to take command of the Marine Detachment there under the overall command of U.S. Navy Commander Winfield S. Cunningham. The Marines were still in the process of improving their defenses when the Japanese attacked beginning on 8 December (7 December in Hawaii). For 15 days, the defenders held off the Japanese, but the Marines eventually fell to overwhelming odds. Devereux and the other survivors spent the next four years in captivity.

All of the Wake Island prisoners of war were released in September 1945. While in captivity, Devereux had been promoted to lieutenant colonel, and he was advanced to colonel in January 1946. After attending the Senior Amphibious Warfare School, Devereux ended his military career serving with the 1st Marine Division. He was promoted to brigadier general on his retirement in August 1948. Devereux served eight years as a U.S. congressman from Maryland and ran unsuccessfully for governor. He died 5 August 1988 at Baltimore, Maryland.

M. R. Pierce


Further Reading
Cressman, Robert J. The Battle for Wake Island: A Magnificent Fight. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.; Devereux, James P. S. The Story of Wake Island. New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1947.; Schultz, Duane. Wake Island: The Heroic, Gallant Fight. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1978.
 

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