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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 Winslow  DD53
(O'Brien Class, 1915)


USS Winslow on builders trials

USS Winslow arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland, on the 17th of May, 1917. She was in company of Rowan, Tucker, Ericsson, Cassin and Jacob Jones. 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 Winslow commenced operations on the 21st of May, 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.

On the 11th of June, 1917, at 1.38am,  USS Winslow was 7 miles south of Galley Head, in West Cork, when the lookout spotted the conning tower of a submarine. As the submarine submerged, Winslow turned and dropped one depth charge. The Winslow remained in the area for another 20 minutes, but nothing further was seen.

On the 30th of July, 1917, Winslow picked up the captain and 12 crewmen from the torpedoed SS Whitehall and brought them safely into Queenstown

On August 16th, 1917. Winslow was in position 51.09N, 13.30W, when submarine was sighted on the surface. Winslow sped towards the enemy who submerged. Due to rough seas it was impossible to tell the spot where submarine had dived, so no depth charges were launched.

On the 24th of September, 1917, Winslow went to the aid of the US schooner Henry Lippett, which was being shelled by submarine. The schooner was destroyed, and the Winslow dropped one depth charge, without result. She then rescued the crew of the Henry Lippett

On the 11th of Ocotber, 1917, USS Winslow was on anti-submarine patrol in Irish Sea with Wilkes and Rowan.  At 10.15am, Winslow sighted submarine ner the Coningbeg Light Ship.  The submarine disappeared. Winslow aced to the spot and dropped depth charge, but no result was seen. Later sighted SS Rhodesia, which had been torpedoed.

In April 1918, USS Winslow was transferred to the US Naval Force, in Brest France. She served there until the Armistice in November 1918. Winslow left Brest, for the USA on the 28th of December 1918.

Notes:

Commanding Officer, Lieut R.C. Parker ,1917,
Commanding Officer, Lieut Commander N.R. Nichols,1917,






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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USS Winslow on builders trials