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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)

(Monaghan  Class, 1912)

USS Jenkins, DD42, in Cork Harbour, Haulbowline Dockyard in Background.
Picture Source: USNHC available HERE

USS Jenkins arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland, on the 1st of June 1917. She was accompanied by USS Paulding, Patterson, Drayton, Trippe, Warrington, and Walke.  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. Jenkins 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.

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 10, 1917, USS Jenkins collided with the British sloop, HMS Laburnum, while on convoy duty. Damage was not severe and repairs were quickly made. An enquiry absolved the commanders of both ships of blame

On the 17th of July,1917, in position 50.40N, 12.30W, USS Jenkins sighted an enemy submarine heading NE which submerged immediately. Jenkins dropped depth charge with no result seen.

On July 23, USS Jenkins picked up 31 survivors of SS Huelva, sunk by U-54, in pos 47.15N, 12.28W, the same day.

On the 11th of September, 1917, the SS Cento was torpedoed 11 miles south of the Old Head of Kinsale, while part of an outward convoy, escorted by HMS Snowdrop and USS Jenkins. Two armed trawlers safely brought the ship into Queenstown

On the 28th of September, USS Jenkins and USS Ericsson made an unscuccessful attack on a u-boat. Ericsson fired shots and attampted a ramming, but to no avail.  

On the week of the 28th of September, 1917, USS Ericsson and USS Jenkins, safely escorted the inbound SS Philadelphia..

On November 21st, 1917, USS Jenkins and Wadsworth were escorting SS St Louis. About 3.30pm Jenkins was struck on the port side amidships by an underwater object. There was nothing further seen, and later reports stated a submarine was in the area.

On December 27th, 1917, Jenkins was part of the escort for troop convoy #14, to France. Ships escorted included USS President Lincoln, Covington, Pocohontas, Susquehanna, De Kalb and Anagon. At 12.40pm De Kalb gave six blasts on her whistle, the sign of a submarine sighted.  Jenkins raced to the spot and dropped depth charge. It was then discovered that there was a spar from some wreckage floating in the water vertically. It was thought  that this was mistaken for a periscope.

On January 15, 1918, USS Jenkins was a victim of 'friendly fire' from the steamer New York. The Jenkins was due to meet a convoy including the new York. Contact was made in darkness, and gunners on the New York, mistook the Jenkins for a submarine. One shot was fired, which connected with the Jenkins. One man was killed, William Lusso, seaman 2c, and four men were injured . In a great feat of seamanship, USS Shaw (Commander Davis) manoeuvred alonside Jenkins and transferred her assistant surgeon, and chief pharmacist's mate onboard the Jenkins. This action probably saved some of those lives.

A letter of commendation was given to Commander M.S. Davis USN for this action by Admiraly Lewis bayley Commander in Chief, Coast of Ireland. This was concurred with,  and forwarded by Admiral Sims.

On the 26th of January, 1918, USS Strerett,  and Jenkins, escorted USS Bridge from Queenstown to Westward.  On the 27th the two ships escorted SS St Louis from 48.20N, 15.00W, to Liverpool.

On the 9th of February, 1918, USS Jenkins, Allen, Wainwright, Sterett  and HMS Crocus, safely escorted convoy HE 5,  to Devonport, England.

On the 14th of February, 1918, USS Allen, Wainwright, Jenkins, Patterson, HMS Crocus, and HMS Aubretia escorted homeward Dakar convoy HD22 to Folkstone.

21st February, 1918, USS Jenkins escorted SS innisfallen from Queenstown to Liverpool  

On the 6th oif June 1918, in pos 140 deg T from Old Head of Kinsale, USS Jenkins struck submerged object. Dropped depth charges but nothing seen.  

On the 18th of August, 1918, outbound Convoy OL30, was escorted from Liverpool to westward. The escort consisted of USS Trippe, Jenkins, Terry, and HMS Snowdrop. HMS Heather, a Q-Ship shadowed the convoy

5th September, USS Jenkins, Paulding , HMS Flying Fox escorted US Storeship Proteus and oiler Kanawha from Queenstown to 16.00W.  

On the 6th of October 1918, in pos 50.15N, 12.33W, SS Tintoretto reported engine trouble. HMS Jessamine, USS Jenkins and USS Trippe went to her assistance, and inspite of the heavy gale succeeded in finding the vessel and brought her safely into Queenstown. 

USS Jenkins left Queenstown for Boston, USA, in December 1918.

Commanding Officer, Commander W.H.Lee, 1917,
Commanding Officer, Commander H.D. Cooke, 1917,
Commanding Officer, Commander T.J.Keleher, 1917,
Commanding Officer, Commander  J.L.Kauffman, 1918,

Deaths on board USS Jenkins

Lusso, William , Sea2c,   January 15, 1918, due to fire from SS New York.
Mullen,James, Conrad,, WT, July 23, 1918, pneumonia.

Injured in attack by SS New York, January 15, 1918

Berg, H.H. Cox,    USN
Neas, A.N. GM2c  USN
Krieg, H.D CBM    USN
Davis, O.H. Sea    USN

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

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Site created 24th September 2002