Jacob Jones I

(DD-61: dp. 1,160; 1. 316'3"; b. 30'7"; dr. 9'9"; s. 30 k..cpl. 99; a. 4 4", 8 21" tt.; cl. Tucker)

The first Jacob Jones (DD-61) was laid down 3 August 1914 by New York Shipbuilding Corp.. Camden, N.J.: launched 29 May 1916; sponsored by Mrs. Jerome Parker Crittendon, great-granddaughter of Jacob Jones; and commissioned 10 February 1917, Lt. Comdr. W. S. Pye in command.

After shakedown, Jacob Jones began training exercises off the New England coast until entering the Philadelphia Navy Yard for repairs. Upon the outbreak of war between the United States and Germany 6 April 1917, Jacob Jones patrolled off the Virginia coast before departing Boston for Europe 7 May.

Arriving Queenstown, Ireland, 17 May, she immediately began patrol and convoy escort duty in waters of the United Kingdom. On 8 July she picked up 44 survivors of the British steamship Valetta, the victim of a German U-boat. Two weeks later, while escorting British steamship Dafila, Jacob Jones sighted a periscope; but the steamship was torpedoed before an attack on the submarine could be launched. Once again a rescue ship, Jacob Jones took on board 25 survivors of the stricken Dapfila.

Throughout the summer the destroyer escorted supply laden convoys and continued rescue operations in submarine-infested waters. On 19 October she picked up 305 survivors of torpedoed British cruiser Orama. After special escort duty between Ireland and France, she departed Brest, France, 6 December on her return run to Queenstown. At 1621, as she steamed independently in the vicinity of the Isles of Scilly, her watch sighted a torpedo wake about a thousand yards distant. Although the destroyer maneuvered to escape, the high-speed torpedo struck her starboard side, rupturing her fuel oil tank. The crew worked courageously to save the ship; but as the stern sank, her depth charges exploded. Realizing the situation hopeless, Comdr. Bagley reluctantly ordered the ship abandoned. Eight minutes after being torpedoed, Jacob Jones sank with 64 men still on board.

The 38 survivors huddled together on rafts and boats in frigid Atlantic waters off the southwest coast of England. Two of her crew were taken prisoner by attacking submarine U-58 commanded by Kapitan Hans Rose. In a humanitarian gesture rare in modern war, Rose radioed the American base at Queenstown the approximate location and drift of the survivors. Throughout the night of 6 to 7 December British sloop-of-war Camellia and British liner Catalina conducted rescue operations. By 0830 the following morning HMS Insolent picked up the last survivors of Jacob Jones.