|USS Jacob Jones
|U-53 on an Earlier Visit to the United States
They were able to make a positive identification of the wreckage by locating the warship’s bell. In the water for more than 100 years, they turned it over and cleared some mud, and could clearly read the word "Jacob". They also saw other identifiable sections such as the base of a gun mount on the deck of the ship. The team did not remove anything from the wreck site and intends to liaise with U.S. authorities over the next steps.
Jacob Jones was a Tucker-class destroyer commissioned into the U.S Navy in 1916. Built as one of the six vessels, the ship was mainly involved in patrols, convoy escorts, and rescues, sailing from the U.S base in Ireland. Of all destroyers in European waters, she was credited with rescuing the greatest number of survivors, a total of 374, from torpedoed ships, before she met her own demise from a torpedo,
Among the heroic rescue operations of Jacob Jones in the submarine-infested waters was picking up 44 survivors from the British steamship Valetta that had been the victim of a U-boat on 8 July, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Later that same month, the destroyer sighted a periscope while escorting the British steamship Dafila, but a torpedo hit the steamship before the destroyer could attack. She was able to rescue 25 survivors from the sinking Dafila. Later, she picked up 305 survivors from torpedoed British cruiser Orama while conducting special escort duty between Ireland and France.
She maneuvered to escape, but the torpedo struck her starboard side causing extensive damage. With the stern sinking rapidly it was not possible to make safe the depth charges which were triggered, hastening the loss of the vessel, which sank below the waves only eight minutes after the torpedo struck. From the crew of 110, 64 men were lost during the sinking with the total likely to have been higher if the German U-boat commander had not radioed the position of sinking to the vessel’s base. Historians have termed this as a rare humane gesture in a time of war.
By the end of World War I in November 1918, it is believed Germany was responsible for sinking more than 5,000 merchant ships and around 100 warships.
This article and video are from the BBC. To read more about the sinking of the USS Jacob Jones, visit our earlier article HERE.