The USS Jacob Jones sank on 6 December, 1917, 30 miles south of the Isles of Scilly.

Based in Ireland, the warship had been involved in patrols, convoy escorts and rescues since May that year and was credited with rescuing the greatest number of survivors from torpedoed ships – 374.

A torpedo fired from the German U-boat U-53 caused extensive damage to the Jacob Jones’ starboard side. The stern went down rapidly and her depth charges were detonated. She sank within eight minutes, with the loss of 66 of the crew of 110.

There would have been even fewer survivors had the U-boat commander not radioed the position of sinking to the vessel’s base in what the MAT describes as “a rare humane gesture in time of war”.

The MAT has now produced “Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War: USS Jacob Jones, the First US Destroyer Sunk by Enemy Action”. A transcription of information held in the UK’s National Archives has also been made available here.

The wreck is marked as lying in 110m. There has been no underwater investigation to date but MAT says it now hopes to survey the site and collect photographic data to create a 3D model of the remains.

The Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War project aims to raise the profile of a currently under-represented aspect of the war, says the MAT. 

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