First U.S. Navy ship sunk by the enemy in World War I is finally found, ending 105-year mystery
By Lauren Beavis
via the StudyFinds web site
LONDON — The first U.S. Navy ship sunk by the enemy in World War I has finally been found, ending 105-year mystery. A team of experienced deep divers were able to locate the missing USS Jacob Jones on August 11, about 40 miles off the coast of the Isles of Scilly in the United Kingdom.
The USS Jacob Jones was one of six vessels called “Tucker-class” destroyers, designed by and built for the Navy before the nation entered World War I. The impressive ship was the first of the American destroyers ever to be sunk by enemy action. It was torpedoed off the Isles of Scilly in 1917 by a German submarine.
With 150 onboard, 66 men met their fateful end on December 6, 1917.
Dominic Robinson from the team of UK “Darkstar” divers, notes the importance of the discovery mainly for its historical significance. “This is such an exciting find – Jacob Jones was the first ship of its kind to be lost to enemy action,” the 52-year-old tells South West News Service. “The ship, lost for over 100 years, has been on a lot of people’s wish lists because of its historical weight. It has a particular interest in America given the amount they spent on designing the destroyers.”
Once the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, the USS Jacob Jones was sent overseas. Upon its return to Ireland, the vessel was traveling around 40 miles away from the Isles of Scilly until she was spotted by the German submarine.
Robinson and his team at Darkstar have a long history of deep diving exploration. They have identified wrecks from all over the UK, including the HMS Jason in Scotland and HMS B1 Submarine.
“One of the most interesting things about this vessel was the remarkable stories that came with its sinking. The destroyer’s commander ordered all life rafts and boats launched, but as the ship was sinking the armed depth charges began to explode – which is what killed most of the men who had been unable to escape the ship initially,” adds the diver from Plymouth, Devon in England. “A few of the crew and officers also tried to get men out of the water and into the life rafts. One name in particular was Stanton F. Kalk, who spent his time swimming between the rafts in the freezing Atlantic water. But he ended up dying of cold and exhaustion – he was awarded the Navy’s Distinguished Service Medal for his heroic actions that day.
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