Divers say they’ve found wreckage of the first U.S. Navy destroyer ever sunk by enemy fire

Divers off the southwest coast of England have reported finding a World War I US Navy destroyer that was sunk by a German submarine a century ago. The USS Jacob Jones, which was hit by a torpedo in the English Channel on December 6, 1917, has the distinction of being the first US Navy destroyer to be sunk by enemy fire. Accordingly Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC).

Sixty-four of the destroyer’s 110 officers and crew died when the ship went down.

A group of specialist divers from Darkstar, UK, found the wreck about 400 feet underwater and 60 miles south of Newlyn, Cornwall, dive team member Steve Mortimer said on Facebook. Post.

We are very pleased to announce that we have identified the wreckage of the USS Jacob Jones, the first US destroyer to be sunk…

Posted by Steve Mortimer above Thursday, August 11, 2022

The team said they had not disturbed the site and had contacted the US State Department to alert them to their discovery.

On April 6, 1917, the USS Jacob Jones was patrolling the coast of Virginia when war broke out between the United States and Germany. According to NHHC. The ship was eventually deployed to escort supply convoys around the United Kingdom and would rescue hundreds of survivors from British warships caught in enemy fire – picking up 305 survivors from the torpedoed British cruiser Orama.

But on December 6, 1917, a German torpedo hit the ship 20 miles east of the start point in England. According to the NHHC, as the hard drowned, Cmdr David W. Bagley Ordered all life rafts to be launched and ship was abandoned. Eight minutes after being hit by a torpedo, the destroyer sank with two officers and 62 crew members on board.

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USS Jacob Jones sank off the Isles of Scilly, England, on December 6, 1917, after being torpedoed by the German submarine U-53.

Seaman William G. Photographed by Ellis. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.


According to the NHHC’s account, the commander of the attacking submarine, Captain Hans Rose, took two wounded surviving prisoners. Meanwhile, two British warships began rescue operations and managed to save a total of 39 people out of 103 on board.

Lieutenant Stanton F. CalcWho was the officer of the deck when the torpedo hit? Displayed “extraordinary gallantry”. Helping people out of the water and into rafts and boats, the NHHC said. He died of exhaustion and exposure and was posthumously awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Two naval destroyers were later named after Kalk.

Among the 39 survivors, according to the dive team, was Lt. Commander Norman Scott, who was killed in World War II, eventually receiving a Medal of Honor.

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USS Jacob Jones (Destroyer #61) survivors after their rescue. Commander Donald J. Courtesy of Robinson, USN (retired), 1981.

NHHC photograph NH 92064


Diver Dominic Robinson said the team had to overcome strong, moving currents to find the remains of the iconic warship.

“Without a doubt, one of the most satisfying dives I’ve done in a while,” he wrote. Facebook. “Identifying a wreck of historical significance is always going to be a great experience, but to do it over 100 meters away and so far out at sea makes it even greater.”

The discovery comes less than two months after a sunken World War II US Navy destroyer Escort was found about 23,000 feet below sea level off the Philippines. Deepest shipwreck located at any time.



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