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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)

(Roe Class, 1910)

USS Perkins in Harbour, 1918
Picture Source USNHHC

USS Perkins arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland in 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 Perkins commenced operations almost 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 7th of July, 1917, in pos 10 miles south of the Bull Rock, the merchantman SS Tarquah was torpedoed and sunk. USS Perkins and USS Cushing proceeded to the position. 154 survivors were picked up by Cushing and Perkins. All survivors were transferred to Perkins and landed by her at Queenstown.  

On the 8th of July 1917, USS  Perkins, while escorting SS Coniston, 51.29N 12.15W, saw explosion at 6.45pm aboard SS Valetta, 3 miles distant. Reaching her 12 minutes later, found crew had abandoned ship, which was slightly down by the stern. Ship could apparently be saved by prompt action, so crew were ordered back aboard: But before crew reached Valetta she was sinking fast, and disappeared at 8.50. Jacob Jones appeared and picked up survivors.

On the 9th of July, 1917, in pos 51.49N, 12.38W, a torpedo was fired at USS Perkins. It passed under the ship and submarine was not seen.  

On the 10th of July, 1917, Perkins proceeding at 25 knots from patrol to rescue SS King David, at 2.55pm struck a submerged object, but sustained no damage. Noon position 51.49N, 13.20W. Next day was forced o give up search for lack of fuel being nearly 500 miles from Beehaven, which could be reached only at very low speeds and without zig zagging. Six days later crew of King David, except 37, were rescued. Visibility bad throughout.  

On the 23rd of July, 1917, USS Perkins picked up 31 survivors of the SS Huelva.  

On the 28th of September, 1917, USS Perkins sighted submarine which submerged. 

In December 1917, USS Perkins left the Queenstown Command for New York, USA.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant P.M. Knox ,

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