A group of U.K. divers known as Darkstar announced on August 11th that they’ve discovered the wreck of the USS Jacob Jones, the first U.S. Navy Destroyer sunk by enemy fire. The boat was discovered 60 miles south of Newlyn, Cornwall, on the southwestern tip of Great Britain, under 120 meters (~393 feet) of ocean water.
The USS Jacob Jones departed for Europe on May 7th, 1917, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. The destroyer was powered by two Curtis steam turbines, allowing her to reach 30.32 knots, and armed with 4 x 4″/50 calibre guns and 8 x 21″ torpedo tubes. Throughout the rest of 1917, the crew managed to perform several successful rescue missions, including the rescue of 305 survivors from the sinking British cruiser Omara.
On December 6th, 1917, the ship was on a return trip to Queenstown, Ireland, when it was struck by a torpedo launched by the German U-53. A total of 64 men, including 2 officers, died in the sinking, with 46 men successfully abandoning ship and surviving the incident. Lieutenant Stanton F. Kalk, the officer-on-deck at the time of the sinking, died of exhaustion and exposure while helping men into life rafts and boats. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal and has had two destroyers named after him.
The Darkstar dive group has stated that nothing was removed from the wreck and that they will be liaising with the US Embassy from here on out.