British divers find US shipwreck from First World War, missing since 1917

British divers have finally found a US shipwreck from WW1 that has been missing under the ocean since 1917.

British divers have finally found a US shipwreck from WW1 which has been missing under the ocean since 1917.
British divers have finally found a US shipwreck from WW1 which has been missing under the ocean since 1917.

A team of experienced deep divers were able to locate the missing vessel, 40 miles off the coast of the Isles of Scilly.

The USS Jacob Jones was one of six vessels named Tucker-class destroyers, designed by and built for the US Navy before the nation entered the war.

The impressive vessel was the first of the American destroyers ever to be sunk by enemy action - and was torpedoed by a German submarine.

With 150 onboard, 66 men met their fateful end on 6 December 1917.

One of the divers who took part in the expedition, Dominic Robinson, noted the importance of the discovery mainly for its historical significance.

Mr Robinson, 52, said: "This is such an exciting find - Jacob Jones was the first ship of its kind to be lost to enemy action.

"The ship, lost for over 100 years, has been on a lot of people's wish lists because of its historical weight.

"It has a particular interest in America given the amount they spent on designing the destroyers."

Once the US entered the war in April 1917, the USS Jacob Jones was sent overseas.

Upon its return to Ireland, the vessel was travelling around 40 miles away from the Isles of Scilly when she was spotted by the German submarine.

Mr Robinson and his team at Dark Star have a long history of deep diving exploration, and have identified wrecks from all over the UK, including the HMS Jason in Scotland and HMS B1 Submarine.

The diver from Plymouth, added: "One of the most interesting things about this vessel was the remarkable stories that came with its sinking.

"The destroyer's commander ordered all life rafts and boats launched, but as the ship was sinking the armed depth charges began to explode - which is what killed most of the men who had been unable to escape the ship initially.

"A few of the crew and officers also tried to get men out of the water and into the life rafts.

"One name in particular was Stanton F. Kalk, who spent his time swimming between the rafts in the freezing Atlantic water.

"But he ended up dying of cold and exhaustion - he was awarded the Navy's Distinguished Service Medal for his heroic actions that day.

"The German submarine commander, Captain Hans Rose, showed an incredible act of kindness - he actually saw all the Jacob Jones men in the water and took two badly injured crewmen aboard his own submarine.

"He then radioed his enemies at the US base in Queenstown with their coordinates to come and rescue the survivors."

Jacob Jones sank in eight minutes without issuing a distress call.

Mr Robinson, who has been completing deep sea divers for over 30 years said: "We had already decided we were going to look for the vessel, but because of its depth and remoteness it is very difficult tog et to.

"So we spent this week going to different GPS locations - provided by the UK hydrographic office - who have information on the location of shipwrecks upon the seabed, but do not know which ones they are.

"We found the vessel on our second day of diving to other wrecks in the area, but there had been many hours of research before hand.”