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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 McCALL  DD28
(Roe Class, 1911)


USS McCall, refuelling from USS Maumee, in a beam sea. 1917
Picture source USNHC website

USS McCall arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland, on the 22nd of February, 1918.   Queenstown in Cork Harbour, 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 MCall commenced operations soon after.

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 31st of May, 1918, in pos 51.03, 9.09 USS Sterrett sighted periscope of submarine. Sterrett at the time was escorting oiler Astrakhan, with McCall. The Sterrett dropped depth charges. Oil and bubbles came to surface and Sterrett was able to trail submarine by these. Sterrett had no depth charges left. USS Porter, HMS Jessamine and 3 motor launches went to Sterretts assistance but Porter had to give up the search due to lack o fuel.At 4.35am on 1st June submarine came to surface and after engagement with Sterrett dived again. HMS Jessamine arrived at this point and dropped two depth charges with no apparent result. USS Wilkes, USS Ericsson, USS Shaw, and USS Terry joined up and continued the search, but nothing further was seen.  

On the 15th of July, 1918, in position 49.26N, 05.34W, USS McCall sighted continuous oil slick with bubbles. McCall dropped depth charges. No apparent result.  

On the 19th of July 1918, USS McCall and two trawlers escorted SS War Country, SS Aquarius, and SS Westwood, from Queenstown to Barry Roads.  

On the  30th of July 1918, USS McCall, and Pauding escorted oiler Crenella westward in Convoy HS 31 (11.00W) to Queenstown.  

On the 8th of September, 1918, SS Missanabie was torpedoed and sunk in position 51.02N, 07.17W. British sloop, HMS Bluebell and USS McCall picked up 284 survivors and safely landed them at Milford Haven.  

30th Septemebr 1918, USS Cassin and McCall escorted hay transport Penare from Queenstown to Falmouth.  

On the 16th of December, 1918, USS McCall left Queenstown to return to  the USA


Notes:
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant, E.K.Lang, 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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