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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)

(Paulding Class, 19##)

In July 1917, USS Burrows arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland. This was the centre for anti-submarine forces, on the Western Approaches, under the command of Admiral Lewis Bayley, Commander in Chief , Coast of Ireland. The Burrows 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 destroyer 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 20th of July, 1917,  SS Nevisbrook was sunk by submarine, in pos 50.33N, 12.11W. USS Burrows picked up 23 survivors.  

On the 27th of July, 1917, in pos 51.20N, 14.20W, USS Burrows sighted submarine. No attack was reported.  

On the 29th of July, 1917, in position 51.22N, 14.41W, SS Cornishman sighted submarine. USS Burrows went to her assistance. Burrows cruised the vicinity, but nothing reported

On the 12th of  January, 1918, USS Allen, USS Burrows, USS Rowan and HMS Heather, escorted incoming convoy. On the night of the 12th, , the steam casing of a turbo generator on the Rowan burst, killing WM Goodrow, CMM. The remains were buried at sea at 1.16pm, 13th January.  The convoy dispersed on the 16th of January, and the destroyer escort returned to Queenstown.

On the 19th of January, 1918, an oil line ruptured in the after fireroom of USS Burrows. It was thought to be extinguished, when it flared up again. The fire was eventually put out by shutting off the area and depriving it of oxygen. Two men, Charles Edward Bourke, Water Tender), and Martin O’Callaghan, (Water Tender), were killed in the fire.

On the 4th of February, 1918,in pos52.09N,05.43W, USS McDougal was rammed by an unknown steamer, cutting her stern off abaft the after bulkhead and por propellor. Paulding went to her assistance and Burrows joined her later. Armed yacht Beryl took McDougal in tow until tug Paladin ll arrived. McDougal eventually arrived at Liverpool at 17.00hrs on the 5th.

On the 5th of February, 1918, in pos 53.34N, 04.14W, USS Burrows heard submarine on hydrophone

Between the 6th and 12th of February, 1918, USS Parker and Burrows operated as a hunting flotilla in the Irish Sea. Operating using oscillators, they cruised, stopping periodically to track submarine sounds.

On the 20th of February,1918, in pos 52.53N, 04.51W, USS Burrows and USS Parker heard submarine on Hydrophones. 

On the 23rd of February, 1918, in pos 53.30N, 04.55W, SS Birchleaf was sunk. USS Burrows raced to the spot and observed disturbances in water. Dropped depth charge, no result.  

On the 26th of Feb, 1918, in pos 53.32N, 04.32W, USS Burrows observed moving wake. Dropped two depth charges. Heavy oil came to surface.  

On the 16th of March, 1918, in pos 52.46N, 05.28W, USS Burrows sighted periscope of submarine and dropped four depth charges. No results were seen. 

On the 19th of May, 1918, a torpedo wake was seen crossing in front of Burrows. Ship turned hard to port and spotting conning tower dropped depth charges. Submarine submerged and escaped. Later the same day, Patterson, Allen, Beale, Burrows and two British destroyers, depth charged contact off Bardsey Island, in Wales. Oil came to surface, but no other results seen.

On the 20th of May 1918, USS Burrows and the British patrol boat P62 collided. Burrows was damaged and after repairs in Liverpool returned to Queenstown.

In June 1918, USS Burrows was transferred to Brest in France. She operated out of there until the Armistice in November 1918.

Commanding Officer, Lieut H.V.McKitterick , 1917,

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


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