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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 Patterson  DD36
(Roe Class, 1911)


USS Patterson
Picture Source USNHHC

On the 1st  of June 1917, USS Patterson arrived for duty in Queenstown (now Cobh) on the south coast of Ireland. She was in company with, USS Drayton, Jenkins, Paulding ,Trippe, and Warrington.   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.

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 12th of June, 1917, SS Indian, with especially valuable cargo was attacked by submarine in pos 51.10N, 11.03W. USS Patterson and USS Tucker proceeded to her assistance. Submarine was fired on by Patterson and promptly submerged. Tucker picked up Indian and escorted her until relieved by USS Ericsson.

On the 12th of July, 1917, at 5pm, USS Drayton picked up SS Phidias and SS Patani in pos 50.00N, 15.56W. The SS Navarino joined them at 5.30pm. Later sighted two more steamers who also joined the convoy at 7.30pm. At 11pm Conyngham and McDougal joined. Later again USS Patterson who was escorting SS Kansas City joined the other ships. At this point there was a convoy of 6 merchant ships escorted by four US destroyers. Admiral Bayley Commander in Chief, Coast of Ireland, praised the innovative skills of the destroyers in forming up this ‘ad-hoc’ convoy.

On the 16th of August, 1917, USS Patterson was  escorting the  SS New York. About 10am the New York, opened fire with her stern gun . One shot was fired. Signal received from New York that periscope had been sighted. Patterson proceeded to spot at full speed. Found a moderate oil slick, in position 51.29N, 08.22W.Patterson  dropped one depth charge, with no apparent result.  

On the 1st of January, 1918, at 8pm, USS Patterson, which was leaving Berehaven, was in collision with the Rescue tug Dreadful. Both ships were damaged and sent to Queenstown for repairs 

On the 18th of January, 1918, USS Nicholson and Patterson escorted Oiler Minhla from Queenstown to Berehaven  

On the 7th of February,1918, USS Patterson and Burrows were on anti-submarine patrol in Irish Sea, USS Patterson picked up one boat containing 12 survivors of SS Mexico City, and landed them at Holyhead. Ship was torpedoed in postion 53.10N, 05.03W, 5th February, 19.05hrs. 

On the 8th of February, 1918, USS Patterson and Burrows escorted the British submarines L2 and  L7 from Greenock to Milford Haven. They were then brought by British sloop, HMS Snowdrop,  to Berehaven.

On the 23rd of February, 1918, USS Patterson and sloop HMS Viola escorted SS Centro from Queenstown to 04.30W. 

On the 19th of May, 1918, in position 52.42N, USS Patterson dropped 6 depth charges on suspicious oil wake. No result observed.

On the 4th of June 1918, USS Patterson returned to the USA.  


Notes:
Commanding Officer, Lieut Commander J. H. Benton,






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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