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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)

(Paulding Class, 1911)

USS Warrington
Picture Source USNHHC

On the 1st of June, 1917, USS Warrington, Drayton, Jenkins, Patterson, Paulding, and Trippe arrived for duty 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 9th of June, 1917,   SS Orator was torpedoed and sunk. HMS Musketeer picked up 11 survivors, in position 51.20N, 10.50,W. USS Warrington rescued 15 survivors in position 51.28N, 10.30W.  The survivors ware landed at Bantry Co.Cork.

On the 11th of June, 1917, in pos 51.28N, 14.56W, the Q-Ship HMS Zylpha was torpedoed by enemy submarine,which was not seen again. Ship was totally disabled. USS Warrington proceeded to her assistance and stood by until 2pm, the 13th, when she had to return for fuel. Whilst waiting for arrival of USS Drayton and two tugs. Zylpha made one and a half knots under sail. She was picked up by HMS Daffodil at noon on the 14th and taken in tow, escorted by USS Conyngham, USS Drayton, and HMS Zinnia. The tugs arrived on the 15th, but the Zylpha sank at 11.20pm on the 15th in pos 9 miles ENE of the Great Skelligs

At 1.18pm, July 13th,1917, in position 51.20N, 08.52W, Warrington sighted submarine on surface, 4 miles away, on port beam. Conning tower plain; bow showed when on crest of wave. Headed for her a full speed: at 2.5 miles distance.  The u-boat submerged. Warrington found elliptical oil slick all over place, 150 x 75 yards with narrower we heading south. Bubbles visible. Dropped depth charge at its end. Functioned and discoloured water rose in area 50 square yards. In two hours searching 7 mile radius no other evidence appeared.

At 9.30pm, in same area, Warrington sighted large slick, 1.5 miles long 100 yards wide. When 50 yards from windward end, where oil thickest and seemed to originate, ship struck a submerged object. Shock not felt on bridge, but turned out men sleeping in after compartments, who declared blow pronounced:After end of ship distinctly lifted. Warrington turned, and running again over spot, dropped depth charge. It did not explode. Made another circle, again dropping charge over apparent origin of oil  

Second charge exploded. Oil soon spread over surface 200 yards square, giving off strong odor fuel oil. Searched neighbourhood for half hour, ill dark. No further evidence. 

On the 15th of July, in position 15 miles from Galley Head, USS Warrington sighted submarine which submerged.  

The Warrington operated out of Queenstown until late November 1917 when she was ordered to France. On the 27th of November, 1917, USS Warrington left the Queenstown Command and was attached to the Command at Brest, France. Warrington left for the USA in early 1919.

Warrington Notes:

Commanding Officer, V.A.Dortch,1917,

Commanding Officer,  Lieutenant I.V.Dowton,August 1917,

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

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