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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 CUSHING DD55
(O'Brien Class, 1915)


USS Cushing in Queenstown, 1917

USS Cushing arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland, on the 24th 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 Cushing commenced operations on convoy duty and hunting submarines.

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.

A valuable ship, the SS Fernley was torpedoed at 9.45am on the 30th of May,1917, in position 51.50N, 11.40W. She proceeded into Berehaven under her own steam, escorted by USS Cushing, HMS Myotosis, and HMS Parthian. She was patched up and sent to Queenstown.  

On the 4th of June, 1917, in position 51.00N, 13.00W, USS Cushing picked up 13 survivors of the Italian Brigantine Luise, sunk by enemy submarine on the 3rd of September, in position 51.00N, 15.00W.  

ON the 7th of June 1917, Q-Ship HMS Pargust sank German submarine u---, but was badly damaged, with engines out of action. She was taken in tow by HMS Crocus, with USS Cushing escorting. They reached Queenstown at 3pm, June 8th.  

On the 7th of July, 1917, in position 10 miles south of the Bull Rock, the SS Tarquah was torpedoed and sunk. USS Perkins and USS Cushing proceeded to the position. 154 survivors were picked up by Cushing and Perkins. All survivors were transferred to Perkins and landed by her at Queenstown.

On the 8th of July, 1917, an SOS was received from SS Onitsha, in position 52.26N, 17.45W. USS Cushing proceeded to her assistance but found on arriving that it was the SS Obuasi, which had been sunk. Cushing picked up 54 survivors and landed them at Queenstown.  

On the 16th of July, 1917, in position 50.35N, 14.05W, USS Cushing sighted two submarines.  

On the 16th of July in position 50.37N, 14.13W, USS Cushing, returning to patrol sighted steamer being shelled by wo submarines. Cushing opened fire at a range of 14,000 yards compelling submarines to submerge. Italian SS Lamial sank as Cushing arrived and Cushing picked up 27 survivors. The 2nd ship SS Korana escaped and was escorted to her destination. 

In the week of the 21st of July, 1917, USS Cushing, USS Sampson, USS Ammen, and USS Jarvis met and escorted three Russian Troopships to Brest.  

On the 10th of September, 1917, SS Vienna was torpedoed and sunk. USS Cushing picked up 5 survivors in pos 46.50N, 13.20W, and landed them at Queenstown. 

In the week of 28th of September, 1917, Cushing Wilkes Sampson and Davis, escorted USS Huntington and St Louis from 48.30N, 17.00W to Liverpool and returned.  

On the 15th of October, 1917, in pos 20 miles south of Mine Head, USS Cassin was torpedoed. HMS Tamarisk proceeded to her assistance and arrived about 9pm. Weather and sea bad and getting worse. At 2am, after failing to drift a line, Tamarisk lowered a boat with volunteer crew and got a line to Cassin. At 2.30am Tamarisk towed Casssin for an hour before tow parted. She again got Cassin in tow, but tow again parted. When daylight came, trawlers HMT Heron and HMT James Johnson took Cassin in tow until relieved by HMS Snowdrop who towed Cassin to Queenstown, escorted by USS Cushing, USS Porter, HMS Jessamine and HMS Tamarisk.  

On October 17th 1917, Cushing left Queenstown, scouting for submarines. Intercepted radio transmissions of torpedoing of SS Madura off Scillies and went to assist. Found Fanning picking up survivors with HMS Defender. Stood by, until rescue complete then returned to Queenstown.

On November 6th, 1917, USS Cushing,Wilkes, Davis and Sampson, met and escorted USS Huntington and USS St Louis to Devonport. The ships were carrying the Commission from from the United States to the Allied Conference in Paris. Upon completion the following message was received – Admiral Benson thanks you for services and congratulates you and your force for the splendid manner in which your duty was performed.

On November 18th, 1917, Davis,Cushing, and Sampson were escorting  convoy HS16, . At.12.25pm, Cushing sighted periscope and made smoke screen. Convoy turned away 8 points but nothing further seen. At 3.20pm a heavy oil slick was spotted and Cushing dropped depth charge. There was no apparent result.

On November 19th, 1917, at 1.30pm, Cushing dropped depth charge  on slick in position 48.25N, 05.15W. Charge failed to explode.

On the 26th of November 1917, Convoy OQ 22 was nearing point of dispersal when SS Crenella was torpedoed. Cushing opened fire, and Drayton dropped depth charge. Cushing escorted the damaged Crenella safely to Queenstown.

On November , 27th, On the journey to Queenstown with Crenella, when 9 miles from the Old Head of Kinsale, Cushing dropped two depth charges on oil patch. No result was observed.

Admiral Bayley commended the Cushing as having saved the Crenella, as the merchantman was dead in the water for 10 minutes after the torpedo attack.

On December 13th, 1917, USS Cushing , while escorting convoy, sighted suspicious object on port bow. Dropped one depth charge, but no result was seen.

On the 5th of January, 1918, in pos, 51.54N, 07.34W, USS Cushing sighted submarine on surface. No attack was reported.

On the 17th of January, 1918, USS McDougal and Cushing, escorted SS Philadelphia from Liverpool to 17.00W

On Feb 5 1918, USS Manley,Cushing,, HMT Cynic ,US Tug Genesee, escorted the damaged United States Q-Ship, SS Santee from Queenstown to Devonport.

On the 23rd of April 1918. Cushing  dropped 15 depth charges on U-104, damaging her severely.

Cushing operated out of Brest, France, after June 11th, 1918. She left for the USA on Dec 21st 1918.


Notes:

Commanding Officer, Captain Hanrahan, 1917
Commanding Officer, Commander
W.D.Puleston, 1918





The US Naval History and Heritage Website has a comprehensive history of this ship, which can be found at
http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs.html

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