In Memoriam: Robert W. Naves

Memorial Street Signs


In observance of every Memorial Day, Hampton Veterans of Foreign Wars gave the supreme sacrifice in defense of their country, in WORLD WAR II, KOREA and VIETNAM and streets, bridges, parks & playgrounds in Hampton, were named in their honor.

Robert W. Naves
Robert W. Naves -- NAVES ROAD

Naves Road
In Memory of Robert W. Naves -- World War II
[Photo courtesy John Hirtle, Atlantic News]

[The following excerpt is from the Memorial Day Ceremony given at the
Hampton Academy Jr. High School on May 29, 1998,
produced and directed by Sheila Nudd, Music Director.]

3. ROBERT W. NAVES, offered by Emily Earle:

"Robert Naves was a commercial artist in civilian life. He had a shed at the rear of his house on Mill Road. When he went out to work on projects, he often brought out a heater. While working in the shed one afternoon, he accidentally tipped over the heater, and shed became engulfed in flames. The only way Robert could get out of the shed was to walk through the flames. Robert was severely burned and spent many months in the hospital. He healed so well that in March of 1942, he enlisted in the service. He received his basic training at Miami Beach, Florida, and Lowrie Field, Colorado. In September of 1942 he was sent over seas and was first located in India. On May 27, 1944, Naves was in a severe jeep accident. His wife received word of his injuries on July 4, 1944. He later died because of those injuries.

"Staff Sergeant Robert Naves was a native of Exeter and the son of Mrs. Frank Cilley. In civilian life, he was a commercial artist, and studied under Scott Carbee in Boston, Mass. For nearly a year before enlisting, he served a Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop No. 177 of Hampton. While serving with the 14th Air Force, he was one of the designers of the new emblem. He later married Janice Newton of Concord [an art teacher in the Hampton schools].

"When Robert Naves would walk through town, he would pick up girls quite literally. He would surprise them by throwing them over his shoulder like a sack and carrying them to their cars or bikes. He had a tremendous sense of fun. He also worked hard and played hard. His friends all called him a mountain of a man. People also called him a strapping young man.

"He was a member of Merrill's Marauders. Merrill's Marauders were also known as Merrill's Raiders. They were about 3000 United States Infantrymen, who fought under Brigadier General Frank Merrill during World War II. The Marauders were tough jungle fighters who won fame in the China/Burma/India theater. They went to India in October of 1943 after [President] Franklin Roosevelt called for volunteers to take part in a dangerous and hazardous mission.

"In March of 1944, after a 100 miles march, Merrill's Marauders surprised the enemy by blocking the only Japanese supply line in the Valley.

"Not many people remember Sergeant Naves, but those who do, think well of him. We hope that he rests in peace in Arlington National Cemetery."

[NAVES ROAD is named in his honor.]

Early Morning Blaze Destroys Barn-Studio

Faulty Oil Heater Said To Have Caused Blaze Which Severely Injures Mr. Naves

The Hampton Union, Thursday, February 6, 1941, Price: 5 Cents

HAMPTON -- Robert W. Naves, local artist, is at the Exeter Hospital suffering from severe burns about the hands and face, received when he ran through a wall of flames to escape the fire which destroyed his barn-studio on Mill Road early Monday morning.

The fire, which started from a faulty oil heater, raced, unchecked, through the old barn containing considerable paint and several canvases which caused a thick black smoke visible for miles and attracted hundreds of spectators.

Students on their way to school stopped to witness the fire and aid in the removal of furniture from the house delaying the opening of school nearly an hour.

A telephone call to the fire department at the town station came at 8:07 and while the call was being made, an alarm came from Box 55 at the corner of High street and Mill road. Within a very short space of time, Box 56 was sounded. After the firemen had responded to the alarm, chief of the department George Lamott, turned in a call from Box 66, calling additional assistance. This was considered a precautionary measure, as the scene of the fire was a thickly settled area.

Mr. Naves was in the studio at the time the fire started and attempted to smother it but was unsuccessful. Failing to check the fire, he attempted to get their car out of the barn but the machine failed to start and he was forced to flee to safety.

When help arrived he was taken across the street to the home of Mrs. Russell True, where he was treated by Dr. C. B. Bailey before being removed to the hospital by Chief of Police Jerome Harkness.

Fire spread to the ell of the house and it was only by the quick and efficient work of the firemen under Chief George Lamott, that the fire was checked at this point and the main part of the house saved.

The couple have resided in Hampton but two years, purchasing the property which is known as the Johnson-Garland place, from Mrs. Sarah Gookin shortly before their marriage.

The barn had been converted into a studio and garage. One car, belonging to Miss Muriel Angwin, was saved, but another machine, owned by the Naves was destroyed.

Dedication Marks Veterans Day Rites

Sgt. Robert W. Naves Honored

Hampton Union, Thursday, November 17, 1960

Naves Road in Hampton was formally dedicated Friday, Veterans' Day, to the memory of Robert W. Naves, who died while in the service during World War II.

Mrs. Frank Cilley of Exeter, mother of S/Sgt. Naves, was present for the unveiling of a bronze plaque established at the corner of Naves and Mace Roads by the American Legion Post 35 of the Hamptons.

In a brief dedication address Atty. H. Alfred Casassa said, "This program of honoring our departed servicemen was offered by our American Legion Post at a town meeting in 1951 and was so voted by the citizens of Hampton. Under the direction of the selectmen, the post has thus honored eight men.

"Today we honor the memory of Robert W. Naves. Born in Exeter, April 11, 1916, Bob Naves was a commercial artist by profession, and with his wife, operated a studio on Mill Road, Hampton. As a citizen of Hampton, he was active in community affairs and served as a scoutmaster for Troop 177.

"Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Mr. Naves enlisted in the Army Air Force in March of 1942. The following September, he was transferred for service in India and China with the Fourteenth Air Force. The young artist designed the emblem of the Fourteenth Air Force Flying Tigers.

"S/Sgt. Naves was seriously injured in a jeep accident in China, May 27, 1944. A month later he passed away and word of his death was received by his wife, Janice, July 4, 1944. S/Sgt. Naves was buried at Arlington National cemetery January 5, 1949.

"Bob was the son of Mrs. Frank Cilley of Exeter who is with us today. She has informed us of Bob's favorite quotation:

"Peace begets prosperity;
Prosperity begets pride;
Pride begets prejudice;
Prejudice begets war;
War begets poverty;
Poverty begets peace."

"Today, being Veterans' Day, I would like to join with all veterans who speak with the realization that veterans of our wars are today the strongest defense which our great nation has, not only against invasion by a foreign enemy, but against penetration into our politics and economy, into our schools and into our homes of foreign ideas and systems subversive to our American institutions and our American liberties.

"It is our veterans who stand constant guard over our liberties. It is our veterans who present an unbroken front."

The street dedication service was conducted by Post Commander John I. Hale and other members of the organization, who earlier in the day conducted Veterans' Day services in Hampton and surrounding towns. Rev. Dwight Blakeslee, rector of Trinity church gave the benediction.