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Site created 24th September 2002


Ships of the United States Navy in Cork Ireland during World War One
(For fleet list click here)

USS Trippe DD33
(Paulding Class, 1911)

USS Trippe :

On the 21st of  May 1917, the USS Trippe left Boston for Europe. This  ship was one of the fourth group of destroyers sent to fight alongside the British Navy in Europe. She sailed with USS Patterson, USS Paulding, USS Warrington, USS Drayton, and USS Jenkins.  On the first of June 1917, the group including Trippe arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of 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. The Trippe commenced operations on 6th of June, 1917.

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.

At 8.10pm, July 9, 1917,USS Trippe while on  patrol , sighted  wake of enemy submarine  in pos 51.01N, 11.58W. The Trippe sounded general alarm and sped for the  wake. She  dropped port depth charge (British type D) which was set for 80 feet. Calcium torch pot was also dropped at this time to mark the spot of dropping depth charge.  Shortly after explosion of charge, Trippe noticed oil and bubbles on the surface.  Trippe remained in near vicinity of oil slick, until 8.35pm. There was no more evidence of the enemy , and  the Trippe resumed patrol.

At 1.18am, July 11th, 1917, while patrolling off the Fastnet, the crew of Trippe heard a heavy explosion followed by three blasts on a ships whistle.  An SOS call was received from the British steamer SS Kioto. Trippe raced towards the source and found the Kioto in position 51.07N, 09.51W. At 1.30am officers on Trippe reported wake of torpedo heading towards Trippe and evasive action ws taken.  The source could not be found so Trippe circled the stricken ship. At 2.20am the Trippe picked up 59 survivors of the Kioto. HMS Peyton and USS Conyngham came into sight and stood by. At 3.20am the Kioto sank by the stern. HMS Peyton took on board the Trippe’s 59 survivors as well as 16 already on board.  The Trippe resumed patrol duty.

On July 28th 1917, USS Trippe,USS Wadsworth, USS McDougal, USS Porter, USS Wainwright, USS Jacob Jones, USS Shaw, and USS Ericsson, formed an escort for an incoming convoy of 19 ships.  On July 29th 1917,at 10.55pm, USS Wadsworth dropped a depth charge on a suspected submarine wake. 5 minutes later the nearby USS Trippe collided with an underwater object, no serious damage was done and nothing further was seen.

On the 9th of August, 1917, the SS Oakfield was torpedoed 8 miles south of Kinsale. The British sloop HMS Crocus went to her assistance. USS Wainwright and USS Trippe were escorting two oilers to Queenstown. The Trippe was ordered to stay as lone escort, and the Wainwright joined the Crocus, and caused the submarine to call off the attack. All of the ships involved were commended by Admiral Bayley for their prompt actions.

On the 19th of August, 1917,  USS Trippe, USS Rowan, USS Jacob Jones, USS Ericsson,  USS Shaw, and

USS Wainwright, were escorting a US Army convoy to St Nazaire, France. At 1.15pm Jacob Jones reported “periscope sighted”. At 1.34pm Ericsson dropped a depth charge, there was nothing further seen. On the 20th of August. Land was sighted near Belle Ile. At 8.17am one of the transports, the USS Finland opened fire with her stern gun. The Rowan and Trippe rushed to the spot and both dropped depth charges. The transports began firing in multiple directions as two French areoplanes flew over the convoy. USS Shaw was narrowly missed by firing and shrapnel landed within 200 yards of her. On later examination it was felt that the ships had been firing at schools of porpoises. The incident became known as the ‘Battle of Belle Ile’ and was an example of how easily crews were fooled into thinking submarines were attacking a


On the 18th of September 1917, USS Trippe and USS Jacob Jones encountered an enemy periscope off Brest, France. Trippe dropped depth charges, but there were no visible results. That night, heavy weather caused mountainous seas, which carried away her starboard waist gun platform. .

On the 1st of October, 1917,USS Trippe, USS Allen, USS Walke, USS Tucker, USS Shaw,  USS Cummings,  HMS P51, HMS P62, escorted incoming convoy of 28 merchant ships, with ocean escort HMS Antrim

On the 8th of October,1917, USS Trippe, USS Wadsworth, USS Cummings, USS Shaw, USS Walke,  and HMS Crocus, joined outward convoy from Queenstown to westward.  On 11th of October these ships met inward convoy and escorted until Queenstown.

Convoy OQ15 sailed from Queenstown on the 20th of October 1917. The escort consisted of USS Trippe, USS Porter, USS Wainwright, USS Drayton,USS Walkes, USS Cummings, HMS Camellia, HMS Zinnia. The British Q-Ship HMS Heather was positioned in front of the Convoy as bait. The merchant ships escorted were; Baron Napier,Hyacinthus,Thorpe Grange, Amiral Rigault de Genouilly, Ingleside, Glenaffric,W.I.Radcliffe, Zingara, American Transport, Brod Liffe, Highland Loch, Medomsley. The convoy dispersed in position 50.30N, 17.00W

Convoy OQ 18 sailed fromQueesntown on the 1st of November  1917. The escort consisted of  USS Trippe, USS Porter, USS Wainwright,USS Drayton, USS Burrows, USS Cummings. The British Q-Ship HMS Heather shadowed the convoy. Ships escorted were: Roselands, Brunswick, Welbeck Hall, Havo, Singapore, Booral,  Poplar Branch, Keyingham,Port Chalmers.

On the 13th  of November, 1917, in a position 11 miles from Daunt Light Vessel. USS Trippe sighted oil patch and dropped depth charge which functioned. Oil bubbles came to surface, but nothing further was seen.

Convoy OQ24  sailed from Queenstown on December 3rd  1917. It was escorted by USS Trippe, USS Balch,USS Duncan, USS Sterett, USS Burrows, and USS Winslow. The ships escorted were ; Chicago Grange, Beacon Grange, Cedar Branch, Highland Branch, Comte de Flandre. The convoy dispersed in position 48.20N, 14.00W.

 On December 8th , 1917, USS Trippe (Lt R.C. Giffen), was part of escort to Convoy HD 3 from Dakar, West Africa. At 3.28pm Trippe sighted a very marked disturbance in the sea near the convoy. She made for the spot and dropped one depth charge. No positive result was seen, and the Trippe returned to the convoy.

Between the 14th  and 21st  of December 1917, USS Trippe was one of the destroyer escorts to troop convoy #13, which included the SS George Washington and the USS Montana. Weather conditions were terrible, with winds of force 10 to 11 by the 17th . The convoy was making only 3 knots of speed. On the 19th  of December. Initial reports stated that two men were washed overboard from Trippe with only one recovered alive. This is not borne out by casualty lists

From the 7th  to the 9th of January. USS Trippe,USS Duncan, USS Ammen, USS Paulding and USS Davis escorted convoy OQ31, consisting of five merchantmen, Cornishman, Melania, Cowrie C, Munardan,  from Milford Haven to 15 degrees West. This convoy was shadowed by the Q-Ships HMS Tamarisk and HMS Aubretia. The convoy dispersed in position 50.40N, 14.00W.

On the 26th of  Jan, 1918. USS Trippe escorted SS Machaon from Queenstown to Westward.

On the 7th of Feb, 1918, USS Trippe, USS Davis, USS Porter, USS Cushing, escorted SS Leviathian from Liverpool to 17.00N.

On the 19th  of February, 1918, in position, 51.39N, 08.06W, USS Trippe sighted moving wake. Dropped three depth charges. No results seen.

On the 20th of February, 1918, USS Trippe escorted SS Kenmare from Queenstown to Liverpool

On 25th of February, 1918, USS Trippe, USS Davis, USS Rowan,  USS Cummings, USS Duncan, USS Ericsson, escorted SS Olympic from  Liverpool to 49.50N, 17.00W. and HMS Alsatian from 15.00W, to Liverpool.

On the 29th of February 1918. USS Trippe,USS Paulding, and USS Davis, sighted a U-boat on the surface and proceeded to attack her with their guns. This forced the submarine to crash dive. She returned to the surface moments later and her crew managed to deploy a white ensign. This boat was the British submarine L2,  and was lucky not to have been destroyed.

On 4th of March, 1918, in pos 49.47N, 10.05W, USS Davis and USS Trippe sighted two submarines. Trippe dropped depth charge,no apparent result.

On the 4th of May,1918,  USS Shaw, USS Trippe, USS Wainwright, USS Cushing, escorted HMS Mauretania from 15.00W to Liverpool.

 On 10th of May USS Trippe, USS Cushing, USS Wainwright, USS Sampson, USS Tucker escorted HMS Aquitania from 15.00W, to Liverpool.

On the 27th of May 1918 USS Trippe escorted SS Pylades from Liverpool to Queenstown.

On the 29th  of May 1918, in position 30 miles, from Hook Head, the barque Souvenir was sunk. USS Trippe picked up 12 survivors and landed them at Queenstown.

USS Trippe,USS Davis, USS Allen, USS Caldwell, USS Sampson, USS Wilkes,  left Queenstown on the 11th  of June 1918 and went to southwest to meet convoy HS 42. At 21.35hrs began escorting HMS Patia and 34 merchant vessels. At 1910hrs 12th of June HMS Obedient and HMS Loyal joined convoy. At 0535hrs 13th  of June seven destroyers from Devonport joined. On the13th Convoy separated. Wilkes and Trippe with HMS Patia to Avonmouth, Queenstown destroyers and Obedient and Loyal escorting 14 merchantmen to Brest, remainder to east coast ports. At 1155hrs Davis sighted oil slick ahead of convoy and dropped 15 depth charges on same.

On the 13th  of June 1918, in pos 40 miles south of the Smalls, HMS Patia  - Ocean escort of convoy HS42 was torpedoed and sunk. USS Wilke and USS Trippe picked up survivors and landed them at Falmouth.

USS Trippe, USS Davis, USS Allen,USS Caldwell, USS Sampson, USS Wilkes, left Brest 20.00hrs 16th  of June to escort convoy HE13. This convoy consisted  of 10 merchant vessels and USS Tampa. At 17.17hrs 17th June, Trippe sighted periscope and dropped 12 depth charges on same. No result. One vessel went to Avonmouth, USS Tampa went to Milford Haven. Rest of Convoy proceeded to Liverpool.

On the 25th  of July 1918, USS Trippe, USS Stockton, USS Balch, USS Duncan,  USS Sampson, escorted HMS Aquitania from Liverpool to the Westward. Escort had to be abandoned at 8 degrees West due to rough weather.

On the 30th  of July 1918, USS Trippe,USS Stevens, USS Rowan, USS Allen, USS Conyngham, USS Beale,HMS Jessamine and HMS Heather, were escorting convoy HC 10. This convoy consisted of 15 troop and merchant vessels. At 4.30pm a suspicious object was sighted near the convoy. USS Allen laid a barrage of eight depth charges. Trippe followed suit with a parallel barrage of another eight charges. Following this Trippe laid another fifteen charges over the spot. No results observed.

On the 2nd  of September 1918, USS Trippe, USS Kimberley, USS Allen,, and USS Cassin escorted HMS Mauretania from Westward to Liverpool. The convoy arrived at Liverpool Bar on the 3rd of September without incident.

On the 7th  of September 1918, USS Trippe, USS Alwyn, USS Cassin, USS Sampson, , escorted HMS Aquitania from 15.00W to Southampton.

On the 6th of October 1918, in position, 50.15N, 12.33W, SS Tintoretto reported engine trouble. USS Trippe, HMS Jessamine, and USS Jenkins  went to her assistance, and in spite of the heavy gale succeeded in finding the vessel and brought her safely into Queenstown.

On the 22nd  of October 1918, USS Trippe, USS Jenkins, and HMS Zinnia, escorted USS Culgoa and SS Tintoretto from Queenstown to 15.00W.

Throughout 1918, the overwhelming forces of the Allies meant that more and more troops and supplies were getting through to England and France. By the Armistice  on November 11th 1918, Queenstown vessels received orders to cease hostilities.

By the 26th  of December 1918, all the United States  destroyers had left Ireland, along with the destroyer tenders USS Melville and USS Dixie.


Commanding Officer, Lieut G.W.Giffen Aug  to Dec 1917

Commanding Officer, V.A.Richardson, 1918,


USS Trippe Notes:

Commanding Officer 1917 -1917, Lieutenant R.C.Giffen.

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