USS Jacob Jones was the first American destroyer to be lost during the First World War, when she was torpedoed off the Isles of Scilly by U-53.
Job: Destroyer Shipping Company: US Navy Launched: 3 August 1914 Date of incident: 6 December 1917 Shipping route: France to Ireland Passengers & cargo: 102 crew Ran aground: Torpedoed
Built by New York Shipbuilding Corp., she was launched in New York on 3 August 1914. She was ready for service by 10 February, 1917.
USS Jacob Jones was working as a rescue ship between July and October picking up 44 British survivors of ‘Valetta’, sunk by U-Boat; 25 people from the ‘Dapfila’, sunk by torpedo; and 305 people from the British cruiser Orama. She was then used as an escort ship between Ireland and France.
On her return from France, bound for Queenstown, Ireland, whilst sailing close to the Islands, her watch sighted a torpedo wake. U-53’s torpedo hit Jacob Jones starboard fuel oil tank at 1621 hours. Despite best efforts from the crew, as her stern sank, her depth charges went off. Eight minutes later the order to abondon was made by Commander Bagley.
She sank with 64 men still onboard. 38 men used rafts to get to shore. Two men were taken prisoner by U-53 by Kaptain Hans Rose.
In a kind gesture, Kaptain Rose radioed the American base at Queenstown so that a rescue ship could be sent to pick up the survivors. British sloop-of-war Camellia, British liner Catalina and HMS Insolent picked up the survivors by the following morning.