A group of British Darkstar technical divers have found and identified the wreck of the USS Jacob Jones, a 1917-era destroyer.
Near the English Channel at a depth of 120 meters, divers have found and identified the wreck of the destroyer USS Jacob Jones. Its mission from May 1917 was to protect convoys and patrol the coast. The ship sank as a result of hostile fire in late 1917 about 60 miles south of the coast of Newlyn, Cornwall.
Identification of the wreck did not cause any problems for the divers, as the name of the vessel is still very clearly visible.
Warships look very different underwater than cargo ships – we could see cannons, torpedo launchers and one of the propeller shafts that was bent 390°, which could have happened when it exploded or when it hit the bottom – Dominic Robinson, a member of the Darkstar group, said.
The destroyer was one of six Tucker-class vessels that Americans built before entering World War I. December 6, 1917. The USS Jacob Jones was spotted and attacked with torpedoes by the German submarine U-53. The attack and sinking of the ship resulted in the deaths of 66 of the 150 American sailors. Interestingly, the vessel was the first US Navy destroyer in history to be sunk by the enemy.
After the successful attack, U-boat commander Hans Rose informed the British base in Queenstown over the radio of the sinking. Thus, it was possible to send help to the sailors who survived the torpedo attack and found themselves in the water. It is worth mentioning that among those rescued was a young officer and later US Navy Rear Admiral Norman Scott. The deed of the German commander was extremely noble and crucial, as the American ship sank in just 8 minutes and did not have time to call for help.
A huge thank you goes to all the divers and crew for making it happen. Without a doubt, this was a challenging dive that was only made possible thanks to the expertise and enthusiasm of Mark Dixon, who delivered us safely to and from the site. We are also grateful to naval historian Michael Lowrey for his assistance. Nothing was taken from the wreck. Now, together with the U.S. Embassy, we will plan the next steps – said diver Steve Mortimer.
The destroyer USS Jacob Jones entered service in 1916. The ship measured 96 meters in length and 9.1 meters in width. It was equipped with four cal. 102 mm guns and eight cal. 533 mm torpedo launchers. The vessel was powered by two steam turbines, which allowed it to reach a top speed of 30 knots.
During its service in Europe, the ship took part in many rescue operations and contributed to the rescue of hundreds of survivors. Undoubtedly, the most famous of these was the rescue of more than 300 sailors from the sunken auxiliary cruiser “Orama” on October 19, 1917.
Photo by Richard Aytron/SWNS
The area around England’s Dover is undoubtedly famous for the shipwrecks sunk there. One of those worth exploring is certainly the Mindoro shipwreck. You can read more about it in Stefan Panis’ article, which we published in the 20th issue. DIVERS24 quarterly! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while you can purchase the printed version in our online store.
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