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Roger Welles Edit Profile

Naval officer

Roger Welles, American naval officer. Decorated Atlantic Battle Medal (Nipe Bay), Spanish-American War; Cuban and Philippine campaign medals; Commander Legion of Honor (French); Grand Officer Order of Leopold II (Belgian); 2d Order of the Rising Sun (Japanese); Grand Cross of Naval Merit and Efficiency (Spanish), 1926; Navy Cross (United States).


Welles, Roger was born on December 7, 1862 in Newington, Connecticut, United States. Son of Roger and Mercy Delano (Aiken) Welles.


Graduated from the United States Naval Academy, 1884.


Welles gave 33 years service to the navy in a variety of placements, eventually being promoted to Rear-Admiral. As an ensign he was engaged in surveys in Alaska, where he made a study of native peoples culture and language in his spare time. He served two years in the post of Special Counsel to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was awarded by its board for research on Orinoco River Indians.

A former commander of the Naval Training Center in Newport, his command of the Oklahoma was a short period of time mainly involving the command as a training ship. This was because the oil-fired boilers that she used were not able to be fueled in England, as German U-boats had drained their supply. After he gave command over to Rear Admiral Spencer K. Wood, he was appointed Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence (April 1917 – January 1919).

Welles married Harriet Deen Gardner on 17 October 1908, who followed her husband's ship to Asia and later published accounts of journeys in Scribner's Magazine and the popular book Anchors Aweigh.


  • He was entered on the Navy's Retired List on 7 December 1926, upon attaining the age of 64, and died in New York on 26 April 1932.


Served in McArthur, Vermont and Wasp during Spanish-American War, 1898. Member Board Inspector and Survey, Navy Department, Washington, District of Columbia, 1911. Mason. As a young man was sent as special commissioner, Columbian Exposition, to Venezuela, etc., and made ethnological collection (installed in Field Museum, Chicago), in interior of Venezuela, for which was awarded certificate and bronze medal.


Married Harriet Ogden Deen, October 17, 1908.

Roger Welles

Mercy Delano (Aiken) Welles

Harriet Ogden Deen