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USS Allen (DD66)
(Sampson Class, 1917)

On the 14th of June 1917, USS Allen (DD66),sailed from New York for Europe, with one of the first American troop convoys for the war. She remained based in Queenstown, Ireland,  for the duration, and her duties included convoy escorts and anti-submarine patrols’ . Queenstown - now Cobh, in Ireland,  was the centre for anti-submarine forces, on the Western Approaches, under the command of Admiral Lewis Bayley, Commander in Chief , Coast of Ireland.

Initially there was uncertainty as to the most effective use of  destroyers. At first they were given patrol areas which they would scout, singly or in pairs. Any stray incoming merchantmen seen, were to be escorted to near their destinations. This was a most ineffective use of the force, as the chances of coming across, and destroying a lone submarine in the vastness of the Western Approaches was virtually nil.

By Summer 1917, under the urging of commanders such as Admiral Sims, Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe, the convoy system was initiated. Groups of merchantmen were escorted through the war zone by flanking destroyer screens. This had the dual effect of reducing the amount of targets for German u-boats, and allowing destroyers and sloops to attack the harassing submarines.  The priorities of the destroyers were to:

Destroy Submarines.

Protect and escort Merchantmen.

Save the crews and passengers of torpedoed ships.

Anti-submarine patrols did continue also for the duration of the war, especially in the Irish Sea and close to the coast of France, where u-boats would try to sink merchantmen as the convoys dispersed.  In 1918, any destroyer in the Irish Sea, which was not actively convoying, came under the orders of The Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla, under the command of Captain Gordon Campbell VC based in Holyhead, Wales.  US destroyers  were also used to patrol the west coast of Ireland to hunt suspected gun-running ships, for Irish Republicans.

The destroyers , initially, were ill-equipped to fight submerged submarines. When they arrived in Europe they were armed with guns and torpedoes. The only undersea weapons supplied were single hand-launched 50lb depth charges which were particularly ineffective. It was the later fitting of dual depth charge racks on the sterns of the ships, Thornycroft depth charge throwers, and Y shaped charge throwers that turned them into a dangerous force. These were capable of dropping and firing a continuous patterned barrage  of 200lb, charges around a submarine's suspected position. Most of the retro-fitting of these armaments was done at Cammel Laird in Birkenhead, England.

On the 31st of July, 1917, in pos 53.20N, SS Beacon Grange was chased and shelled by enemy submarine.  USS Allen went to her assistance and submarine disappeared.  Three men were injured on the Beacon Grange, these were brought to Queenstown by the Allen.

On the 9th of August, 1917, in pos 50.00N, 04.30W, USS Allen sighted submarine on the surface. Allen chased her but submarine immediately submerged.

On the 3rd of September, 1917, in pos 48.16N, 09.06W, USS Allen reported that a torpedo had been fired at convoy, which missed.

In the week of the 15th of January 1918, USS Allen and USS Downes escorted SS Philadelphia from 48.50N, 16.00W to Liverpool

On the 12th of January, 1918, USS Allen, with  USS Rowan, USS Burrows, and  Q-Ship HMS Heather  left Queenstown to meet and escort the Homeward bound Dakar Convoy (HD8).During the night 12 to 13th January, the steam casing of a turbo generator on the Rowan burst, killing WM Goodrow, CMM.His remains were buried at sea.   On the 13th of January,the escort joined the convoy,  When the convoy dispersed The destroyer escort returned to Queeenstown , arriving at destination at 6pm, 16th January.

On 02nd Feb 1918, in pos 53.46N, 04.55W, USS Allen sighted submarine and dropped 3 depth charges. No positive result observed.

On the 10th of February 1918, USS Allen, Wainwright, Sampson, Sterrett, Jenkins, and HMS Crocus, escorted incoming convoy HE5. The convoy consisted of 16 ships, arranged in eight columns.  On February 11th, Devonport detroyers met the convoy and the US Destroyers left for Queenstown.

On Feb 15th, 1918, USS Allen,  Wainwright,  Jenkins,  Perkins, HMS Crocus,and HMS Aubretia escorted homeward Dakar convoy HD22 . the  convoy consisted of 15 ships in six columns, escorted by HMS Hildebrand. Two tugs from Queenstown and two trawlers from Devonport joined to render assistance to Highland Pride, ship carrying valuable cargo which had been having machinery trouble. On the 16th convoy dispersed at Folkstone and destroyers returned to Queenstown.

On the 3rd of March, 1918, USS Allen, USS Cushing, HMS Bluebell, HMS Aubretia, and HMS Heather, escorted homeward Dakar convoy HD24. USS Fanning was due to join, but stayed behind due to poor fuel oil (later joining convoy).  Tugs Palladin ll and Genesee also joined convoy,  to assist and tow SS Buranda, which had lost a rudder.

On the 24th of February, 1918, USS Allen, Fanning,Tucker, Beale, HMS Crocus, and HMS Aubretia escorted convoy HE6. Convoy steamed on until the morning of the 25th, when SS Eumaeus was torpedoed. Convoy scattered and rejoined later. That night, USS Allen dropped two depth charges, and fired one shot at suspicious object seen in moonlight, then rejoined convoy. HMS Crocus assigned to stand by torpedoed ship. By daylight convoy had reformed except for straggler SS Malta. At 8.30am convoy escort relieved by 6 destroyers from Devonport. USS Fanning and HMS Aubretia were despatched to assist HMS Crocus as screen for torpedoed ship, the tow parted however, and the SS Eumaeus was scuttled.  

At 5.515pm on 11th March while Allen was on patrol in the Irish Sea, a periscope was sighted in pos 52.26N, 5.25W. Full speed rung up and Allen turned with left rudder, but periscope was inside turning circle for ramming. Depth charge was dropped. Ship turned and three more charges were dropped. Nothing further seen. Allen stayed on location until relieved by HMS Sprightly.

On 16th Mar while escorting convoy HE7 in pos 52.44N, 5.35W, USS Allen, who was ahead of convoy signalled periscope or torpedo spotted. Immediately after, Allen, Downes, and Rowan dropped a succession of depth charges. HMS Aubrietia spotted disturbance in water and dropped one charge. Oil rose to surface, and Aubrietia dropped two more charges.  

Admiral Lewis Bayley, in his report stated 'USS Allen showed great promptitiute in sighting and chasing submarine away from Convoy. USS Downes protecting barrage was very well thought out and probably saved convoy. Both ships deserve great credit for their smartness'.

On 23rd April 1918, in pos 51.30N, 07.25W, USS Allen sighted submarine on surface. Dropped depth charges.

20th April, USS Wilkes, Allen, Downes, and Benham escorted SS Aquitania from Liverpool to 15.00W

21st April USS Allen escorted SS Sheerness from Queenstown to Liverpool.

At 6.57am 23rd April, 1918, Allen was escorting convoy OE13 when enemy submarine was sighted in pos 51.21N, 07.10W. Lookout Chief Quartermaster PD Butler spotted it with binoculars from  Lookout. Warnings given by Allen and two shots fired, which passed close to conning tower. Submarine dived. A barrage of 19 depth charges was laid, 8 charges laid utilising newly fitted Y gun. No result seen.

USS Allen left Queenstown 21st April and escorted SS Sheerness from Waterford to Liverpool

On the 10th of May, 1918, in pos 51.27N, 08.42 W, USS Allen and tug Genesee sighted submarine on surface. Allen closed position and dropped depth charge on suspicious oil slicks. No definite results.

On the 16th of May, 1918, USS Allen , USS Beale, and USS O’Brien were escorting  a convoy. O’Brien sighted submarine on Stb side and dropped depth charges. Allen joined and dropped five charges, then followed by  another eight. No result seen. Beale and Allen then left for Irish Sea area.

On the 16th of June, 1918, USS Davis, Allen, Caldwell, Sampson, Wilkes and Trippe left Brest 20.00hrs 16 June to escort  convoy HE13. At 17.17hrs 17th June Trippe sighted periscope and dropped 12 depth charges on same. No result. One vessel went to Avonmouth, USS Tampa went to Milford Haven. Rest of Convoy proceeded to Liverpool.

On the  11th of June 1918, USS Davis, Allen, Caldwell, Sampson, Wilkes and Trippe left Queenstown  to meet convoy HS 42.  At 2135hrs began escorting HMS Patia and 34 merchant vessels. At 1910hrs 12th June HMS Obedient and Loyal joined. At 0535hrs 13th of June seven destroyers from Devonport joined. On the 13th , Convoy separated. Wilkes and Trippe with HMS Patia to Avonmouth, Queenstown destroyers and Obedient and Loyal escorting 14 merchantmen to Brest, remainder to east coast ports. At 1155hrs Davis sighted oil slick ahead of convoy and dropped 15 depth charges on same. Oil and a cask came to the surface.

On the 27th of June, 1918.  USS Allen and Sampson escorted SS War Hermit from Queenstown to 13.00W.

At 5.25pm, 29th of June, 1918, in pos 50.03N, 09.15W, USS Allen was patrolling in front of convoy HS44, of 40 ships. Allen spotted periscope off starboard beam. 15 depth charges laid including two from Y gun. USS Davis joined in and dropped unknown number of charges. No apparent result.

15th July, 1918,  USS Davis,  Allen,  Cassin,  Conyngham, and Sampson, escorted HMS Mauretania from Liverpool to 15.00W.  

On the 17th of July, 1918, USS Davis, Cassin, Allen, and Conyngham escorted HMS Aquitania from 15.00W to Liverpool.  

On 12th September 1918, in pos 48.14N, 08.27W, USS Allen sighted enemy submarine on the surface.  

On 12th September 1918, in pos 48.52N, 10.50W, SS Galway Castle was torpedoed, with 400 invalids and 400 women on board. Survivors picked up and landed at Devonport. USS Kimberley Allen and Caldwell were sent from Berehaven and HMS Jessamine from Queenstown to her assistance. Jessamine and Caldwell were recalled – remainder searched for survivors. Tugs Cartmell and Cynic sent from Queenstown and Berehaven took Galway Castle in tow, and towed her approximately 120 miles towards Devonport. Galway Castle sank at 6am 15th September in pos 49.10N, 08.00W.  

15th September 1918, USS Allen, and HMS Snowdrop, escorted oiler Bramble Leaf from Queenstown to Liverpool.  

On the 28th of October,  1918, USS Allen,Sampson, Kimberley,  Conyngham, and Jenkins escorted HMS Mauretania from Liverpool to 15.00W.  

On the 14th of November, 1918, USS Allen, Rowan, Caldwell, and Wilkes, escorted HMS Mauretania from 15.00W to Liverpool.  

On the 13th of December, 1918, USS Allen was part of the escort for SS George Washington to Brest, carrying US President, Woodrow Wilson.

On the 26th of December, 1918. The last of the United States destroyers departed Queenstown (Cobh), on route to the USA, via the Azores. They were the Beale, Stockton, Wilkes, Duncan, Rowan,Kimberley, Allen, Davis, Sampson and Duncan. They were accompanied by the US tug Genesee. The press reported that the harbour was full of the whistles of other ships as the destroyers, flying their pennants were overflown by US Flying boats as they disappeared into the morning fog.

USS Allen  arrived in New York on the 7th of January 1919.

USS Allen Notes

Commanding Officer S.W.Bryant Aug  Sep to Dec  1917

Commanding Officer J.F.Daniels Dec 1917

Commanding Officer H.D.Cooke Jan to April 1918

Commanding Officer JC Farley, May to November  1918


WM Goodrow, CMM. January 13, 1918.  Due to the bursting of a steam casing on a turbo generator.

His remains were buried at sea.

USS Allen Escorting USS Leviathan (oil by Burnell Poole)

Picture Source USNHHC

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