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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 KIMBERLY  DD80
(Wickes  Class, 1918)


USS Kimberly moored in Berehaven Harbour, 1918.

USS Kimberly arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland, in June 1918.  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 Kimberly commenced operations immediately.

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 the 27th of June, 1918, Hospital ship Llandovery Castle was torpedoed and sunk in pos 116 miles 247deg from Fastnet Rock. HMS Lysander picked up one boat containing 24 survivors. When last seen submarine was apparantly shelling the boats as they were trying to get away from the sinking ship (this was later refuted). HMS Snowdrop, HMS Safeguard, and USS Cassin searched for survivors. USS Kimberley, USS Stockton and USS Sterrett joined Snowdrop in search at 7am on June 30th.

On the 30th of June 1918, in position  50.34N, 11.04W, USS Kimberley sighted enemy submarine . No report of attack being made.

On the 17th of July, 1918, SS Carpathia was torpedoed in pos 49.30N, 10.32W. USS Kimberley, HMS Snowdrop, HMS Bluebell, and HMS Sir Bevis went to her assistance. Carpathia eventually sank at 12.45hrs. Snowdrop picked up 213 survivors, including 13 women and children and landed them at Liverpool. 

On the 15th of July, 1918,  USS Kimberley and sloop HMS Bluebell escorted SS War Wager from Queenstown to 12.00W. They then escorted SS Rathlin Head from Berehaven to Belfast.  

On the 12th of September, 1918, SS Galway Castle was sunk in position 48.52N, 10.58W. She had 400 invalids and 400 women on board. Survivors were picked up and landed at Devonport. USS Kimberley, USS Allen, and USS Caldwell were sent from Berehaven, and HMS Jessamine from Queenstown to her assistance. Jessamine and Caldwell were recalled - remainder searched for survivors. Tugs Cartmell and Cynic sent from Queenstown and Berehaven. They took Galway Castle in tow, and towed her approxomately 120 miles towards Devonport. Galway Castle sank at 6am 15th of September in position 49.10N, 08.00W.  

On the 29th of September, 1918, USS Kimberley escorted SS Maindy Court from Queenstown to Barry Roads.  

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

On the 19th of October, 1918, USS Kimberley and HMS Camellia escorted oiler Appalachee from Queenstown to  position 14.00W.

On the 26th of December, 1918. The last of the United States destroyers departed Queenstown (Cobh), on route to the USA, via the Azores. They were the Beale, Stockton, Wilkes, Duncan, Rowan, Kimberley, Allen, Davis, Sampson and Duncan. The ships were accompanied by the US tug Genesee. The press reported that the harbour was full of the whistles of other ships as the destroyers, flying their pennants were overflown by US Flying boats as they disappeared into the morning fog.


The only United States Naval Ship remaining in harbour, by this date, was USS Melville, the destroyer tender, and Flagship of Admiral Sims.


Notes:
Commanding Officer,
Commander  A.W.Johnson, 1918,
Commanding Officer, C.J.Davy, 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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