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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 JARVIS   DD38
(Monagahan Class, 1912)




USS Jarvis arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland on the 11th of June 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 Jarvis commenced operations within a week.

Initially there was uncertainty as to the most effective use of  destroyers. From May 1917, 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 June 20th, 1917, USS Jarvis was escorting SS Mechinician. When in pos 51.54N, 07.28W, Jarvis spotted submarine headed for convoy. The Jarvis headed for enemy which submerged and was not seen again. 

On the 8th of July, 1917, in pos 51.03N, 10.34W, USS Jarvis sighted submarine.  

USS Jarvis. Burning Schooner –July 8.  

On July, 8th, 1917, Jarvis, at 9.29pm, 51.00N, 10.49W, found hulk of burning schooner, with boats and masts gone. No clue to her name, whereabouts of crew, tor source of disaster.  

USS JARVIS – Russian transport unsupplied with code radio – July 18.  

Jarvis escorting Russian transport Dwinsk, 49.00N 15.00W (July 18) reports: Comunication with Dwinsk possible means of semaphore and international flags. Dwinsk not supplied with any code for radio communication. This is a severe handicap.  

 

On the 25th of July, 1917, in pos 48.08N, 11.35W, USS Wilkes picked up 23 survivors of the SS Purley, sunk in this position. On the same day USS Jarvis picked up 32 survivors from the same ship and landed them at Queenstown.  

On the week of the 27th of July, 1917 four ships containing valuable stores for the United States Army were met and safely escorted to their destination by USS Wilkes, Benham, Jarvis, Paulding, Ammen, and Perkins.  


USS Jarvis, - Pursuit of reported submarine – Nov 3rd, 1917.  
Jarvis, (Lt Commander L.P.Davis), of HS14 convoy after parting company a noon, received signal at 1.10pm that HMS Aubretia had sighted a submarine in pos 49.20N, 05.48W. This vessel ordered to chase. Joined Aubretia at 3pm. Submarine had submerged at 1.50pm and was not seen again

USS Jarvis – Submaine Sighted – Nov 13.1917  
Jarvis, (Lt Cdr L.P.Davis), Returning Brest to Queenstown after escorting troop convoy #10, at 7.45am, in foggy weather, sighted submarine broad on starboard bow, distant 1500 yards, just emerging from a fog bank. Submaine submerged at once. Headed for it but could find no trace of wake or oil slick. Due to fog, distance could not be judged with any accuracy. Searched vicinity till noon. Nothing further seen.  

On the 19th of June, 1917, SS Batoum was sunk six miles south of Fastnet Rock. USS Jarvis rescued

Notes:
Commanding Officer, Lieut Commander L.P.Davis





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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