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USS Cummings (DD44)
(Cassin Class

Pre-War photo of USS Cummings (From Navy Historical Centre)

available HERE

USS Cummings arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland, on the 26th of May, 1917. 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. The Cummings commenced operations on convoy duties as well as anti-submarine patrols.

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.

In the week of the 9th of June 1917, USS Conyngham, Benham, Ericsson and Cummings safely escorted HMS Olympic to Liverpool.

At 11.12am, 18 June, in position 51.44N 11.41W, the Officer of he Watch and Quartrmaster, of USS Cummings sighted periscope of submarine about 300 yards on the starboard bow. The periscope was about two feet above the water and submerged immediately, bobbed up again in about three seconds then disappeared. Cummings dropped two depth charges, but no result was seen

On the 22nd of June, 1917, in pos 51.03N, 10.50W, USS Cummings sighted submarine which submerged immediately.  

On the 26th of June, 1917, USS Cummings was escorting the American Expeditionary Force. In pos 47.10N, 06.00W, Cummings sighted periscope off port bow. Cummings sped to attack and dropped depth charge and released buoy. Pieces of debris and large quantities of air came to surface, but nothing further seen.  

On the 12th of August, 1917, near Kinsale Head, USS Cummings sighted moving oil slick. Cummings dropped depth charge, with no apparent result.  

On the 17th of November, 1917, the escort for convoy OQ 20, consisted of USS Nicholson (Flag), Conyngham, Cummings, Warrington, Jacob Jones, HMS Zinnia & HMS Cullist. Near the Daunt Rock Lightship. USS Fanning, aided by USS Nicholson, captured the German submarine U-58. This submarine was later scuttled by her crew. The 4 officers and 36 crew were were picked up by Fanning.

On the 11th of December, 1917, in position 51.37N, 05.20W, USS Cummings and USS Conyngham saw suspicious patch of oil. Both ships dropped depth charges, but no results seen.

On Feb 03rd, 1918, USS O’Brien, Cummings, escorted SS Philadelphia from 48.40N, 15.20W, to Liverpool.  

On the 13th of May, 1918, in position 50.00N, 4.58W, USS Cummings dropped three depth charges on oil spot. No apparent result was seen.

On the 7th of June, 1918, in position 10 miles, 212deg from Hook Head, USS Cummings was missed by a torpedo. 16 depth charges were dropped. No definite result was seen.

6th October 1918, USS Shaw,Downes, Conyngham, Duncan, Kimberley, escorted HMS Aquitania from Westward to Southampton.

On the 12th  and 13th of  December 1918, Cummings was chosen as one of the escort for the George Washington, carrying President Woodrow Wilson into Brest, France, for his attendance at the Versailles Peace Conference.  

She left for America on the 16th of December, 1918.


Commanding Officer, G.J.Paul, 1917,

Commanding Officer G.F, Beal, 1917,

Commanding Officer O.Bartlett, 1918,