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Site Last Updated October 2016

Ships of the United States Navy in Cork Ireland during World War One
(For fleet list click here)

USS Beale DD40
(Paulding Class, 1912)

USS Beale in Queenstown (Cobh) 1918.
Picture source USNHHC

USS Beale arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland, on the 5th of February 1918. Queenstown was the centre for anti-submarine forces, on the Western Approaches, under the command of Admiral Lewis Bayley, Commander in Chief , Coast of Ireland.  Beale commenced operations within a week.

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.

These 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 27th Feb, 1918, in position 53.02⁰N, 05.19⁰W, USS Beale sighted submarine on surface. Two depth charges were dropped. Some oil was seen to rise to the surface, but nothing more was seen. 

On the 25th of April, 1918, in position 51.20⁰N, 08.21⁰W,  Beale passed through well defined oil patch. Dropped 4 depth charges. No result was seen. 

On the 16th of May, 1918, in position 51.40⁰N, 07.40⁰W, USS O'Brien sighted submarine. USS Allen and USS Beale came to assist. Together they dropped 24 depth charges. No apparent result.  

On the 16th of May, 1918, in position 53.10⁰N, 05.40⁰W, USS Beale dropped 12 depth charges on well defined wake. There was no  apparent result.  

On the 25th of June 1918, in position 30 miles 144⁰  T from Minehead, USS Beale observed moving wake and dropped 19 depth charges. No result seen.  

On the 17th of July, 1918, USS Beale, and USS Ammen escorted HMS Virginian from 15.00⁰W to Avonmouth

On the 25th of July 1918, USS Conyngham, and USS Beale, escorted oiler Kanawha from Queenstown to 14.00W  

On the 10th of August 1918, USS Stevens, USS Cassin, USS Sampson, USS Balch, and  USS Beale, escorted HMS Aquitania from 15.00W to Liverpool.  

On the  21st of August 1918 USS Aylwyn, USS Shaw, and USS Beale escorted HMS Aquitania from 15.00W to Liverpool.  

On the 1st of September, 1918, SS City of Glasgow and SS Mesaba were torpedoed and sunk in position, 52.17N, 05.38W. They had been proceeding in combined convoys OL32 and OE21. USS Beale picked up 28 survivors and landed them at Queenstown (Cobh). 

On the 12th of November 1918, USS Sterett and Beale, escorted US Storeship Bath from Queenstown to 14.00W.

On the 20th of November, 1918, USS Rowan, USS Wilkes, and USS Beale, escorted HMS Olympic from 15.00W to Southampton.

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. The ships 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.

The only United States Naval Ship remaining in harbour, by this date, was USS Melville, the destroyer tender, and Flagship of Admiral Sims.


Commanding Officer . Commander  C.T. Blackburn, 1918.

The US Naval History and Heritage Website has a comprehensive history of this ship, which can be found


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