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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)

(Caldwell Class, 1917)

USS Stockton moored in Monkstown Bay, Cork Harbour.

In December, 1917, USS Stockton arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland.  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  30th of  March, 1918, USS Stevens and Ericsson were escorting the troopship St. Paul on the Queenstown-Liverpool circuit, when Ericsson opened fire on a German submarine. The submerged enemy launched a torpedo at Stockton almost immediately thereafter, and the destroyer narrowly evaded the "fish." The two destroyers dropped patterns of depth charges, but the U-boat managed to evade their attack and escaped. Later that night, Stockton collided with SS Slieve Bloom, 6 miles west of  South Stack Light. The destroyer had to put into Liverpool for repairs and the merchantman sank.

On the 27th of June, 1918, Hospital ship Landovery 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 apparaently shelling the boats as they were trying to get away from the sinking ship. 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 23rd of July, 1918, in position 50.41N, 08.36W, 15.40hrs. HMS Marmora was torpedoed. USS Stockton USS Downes, tugs Warrior and Cynic went to her assistance. Marmora eventually sank at 17.35hrs. Survivors were taken to Milford Haven by HMS P67. USS Sterett searched for raft supposed to contain one man.  Later that day, in position 50.59N, 08.34W, USS Stockton sighted submarine which immediately submerged. Location of submarine unclear, so no depth charges were used. 

On the 25th of July, 1918, USS Stockton, Balch, Duncan, Trippe, and Sampson, escorted HMS Aquitania from Liverpool to 8.00W (owing to bad weather).

On the 03rd of August 1918, USS Stockton, Downes, Sampson, Cassin, Ammen, escorted HMS Mauretania from 15.00W, to Liverpool. 

On the 27th of August 1918, USS Stockton, Rowan escorted SS Defender from Queenstown to Barry Roads  

On the 31st of Aug 1918, in position 48.54N, 07.45W USS Stockton sighted enemy submarine.  

On the 7th of September 1918, USS Stockton, Shaw, Conyngham, Rowan, escorted US Battleship Utah from 17.00W to Berehaven.  

On the 15th of September 1918, USS Stockton escorted SS Glamorgan from Westward to Queenstown

On the 8th of October, 1918, USS Stockton,Rowan, Wilkes, Ammen, HMS Sir Bevis, Camellia, and Heather, escorted convoy HH71 safely to Brest, in France.

On the 26th of December, 1918. The last of the United States destroyers departed Queenstown (Cobh), on route to the USA, via the Azores. The flotilla included USS Beale, Stockton, Wilkes, Duncan, Rowan, Kimberley, Allen, Davis, Sampson and Duncan. They 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.

USS Sampson arrived in New York on the 7th of January 1919.

Commanding Officer,
Commander H.A.Baldridge,USN,

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

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