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USS Jenkins, DD-42

WWI "Flivver Type" Destroyer


Displacement: 887 tons, length: 293'11", beam: 27'; draft: 8'4"; speed: 31.27 k, crew: 89 in peace time, 107 in war time, armament: 5 three-inch 50 cal. guns, 2 .30 cal. Machine guns, four 18-inch torpedo tubes in twin deck mountings, Machinery, 12,000 SHP; Parsons Turbines, 4 Normand boilers 2 screws, Fuel Oil Capacity: 222 tons Class: Paulding


USS Jenkins DD-42 under way in 1918

USS Jenkins (DD-42) was laid down March 24, 1911 by the Bath Iron Works of Bath Maine and launched April 29, 1912. Miss Alice Jenkins who was the daughter of Rear Admiral Jenkins had the honor of bestowing the name of USS Jenkins on the newly launched hull. USS Jenkins was commissioned on June 15, 1912 with Lt. Commander E. H. De Lany in command. On the government-measured course off the coast of Maine the Jenkins set a speed record on May 21, 1912. That day on her first speed trial she bested the navy’s fastest destroyer the USS Jouett, which had the record at 33.02 knots. The Jenkins turned in a speed of 33.119 knots to make her the fastest destroyer in the navy at the time.

The Jenkins was one of the 26 destroyers of 2 different classes that carried the nickname of “Flivver.” This nickname was given to these ships because they were smaller and rather inexpensive to build, and the technology they carried was on the simple side. These two classes of destroyers were the 5 ships in the Smith class and the 21 ships in the Paulding class. The term Flivver is an American slang term that came into fashion about 1910 and was used to describe the Ford Model T car, because it was a small, cheaply build mass produced car that gave a somewhat rough ride. So too were the 26 destroyers and the name stuck because they too were a rough ride, and cheap to build. About 1925 Ford took the idea of a mass produced car and applied it to an airplane, thus the birth of the ill-fated venture of the Ford Flivver Airplane. But by the late 1930’s the name of Flivver had given way to the use of the word “jalopy.”

The two classes of destroyers, Smith and Paulding, did however make use of a number of important advances in marine engineering of the time. They were the first U. S. Navy destroyers to be powered by steam turbines. The 5 Smith class destroyers were the last destroyers that used coal-fired boilers, and the 21 Paulding destroyers were the first to use oil-fired boilers. There were differences in these 26 destroyers that were built by five different builders, in that the funnel arrangements were different according to the builders, some had 2 funnels where others had 3 or 4 funnels.

The design of these ships provided for an open conning station above the pilot house. This meant that while standing watch in the open conning station, you were constantly getting wet from the spray of the ocean, and or fighting the smoke from the funnels if the wind was in the wrong direction. Additionally, the lower portholes needed to be kept closed at high speed and with anything more than a calm sea, otherwise the interior of the ship would get a bit wet.

The Jenkins was the last of the Flivver’s to be built, and she had the Normand boilers, which were the best ones of the Flivvers, but because all the Flivvers were not the top of the line ships all were decommissioned in 1919 after the end of the First World War. Only 12 of the Flivvers were used after the war and were given to the Coast Guard to be used as “Rum Patrol” boats. By 1935 all 26 of the Flivvers had been sent to the scrappers torches and were gone for good.

The Jenkins entered the Navy Yard at Boston on August 4, 1912 with damage reported to one of her propellers. It was thought that she had hit a submerged obstruction and the yard workers put her in dry-dock to access the damage and make repairs.

In October of 1912, the bulk of the United States Navy gathered in the Hudson River off Manhattan Island. There, on October 14, the fleet was reviewed by President William Howard Taft, who apparently had decided against campaigning in his re-election struggle against Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. (Ironically, Roosevelt would be shot that same day while campaigning in Milwaukee.) Taft, accompanied by Secretary of the Navy George von Lengerke Meyer, was able to view what the New York Times called "the greatest assemblage of naval strength ever assembled." While this may have been a hyperbolic exaggeration, the ships gathered at New York did represent a significant naval force. The vessels ranged from auxiliaries to the new "Super-Dreadnought" battleships Arkansas and Wyoming, both recent additions to the fleet. The 24 destroyers present at the review represented a cross-section of the US Navy's early efforts at ships of this class. Some were newly built modern vessels, and others had been languishing in the Reserve Fleet. During this Fleet Review the Jenkins was one of the 24 destroyers and she was still under command of Lt. Commander E. H. De Lany.

The Brazilian battleship Minas Geraes was being escorted out to sea from New York on July 17, 1913 by the battleships USS Arkansas and Delaware and the Destroyers USS Fanning, Jarvis and Jenkins. Once the Minas Geraes was given a departing salute by the American ships the fleet of escorts turned south for Newport. At about 11:30 that evening the Arkansas cut across the bow of the Fanning too quickly and the Captain of the Fanning orders his engines reversed. But a few moments later the Fanning struck what was believed to be unknown submerged wreckage. This was about 2 miles east of Fire Island and nearly 40 miles off the entrance of Ambrose Channel. The Jarvis and Jenkins escorted the Fanning safely back to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

In the years that preceded World War I Jenkins, based at Newport, R.I., trained with the Atlantic Fleet, sailing to the Caribbean for winter maneuvers, and operating along the East Coast in summer.

At the beginning of April 1914 the Jenkins and her destroyer flotilla were based at Pensacola, Florida. The flotilla under the command of rear Admiral Simms consisted of the Fanning, Beal, Jarvis, Jenkins, Jouett, Henley, Drayton, McCall, Warrington, Patterson, Spalding, Ammen, Burrows, and Trippe. About the same time in Washington DC, Congress had just passed a resolution justifying the President’s use of armed force in Mexico. And at the Navy Department the mid-night oil was burning as they were seen to be a major player in the Presidents use of armed forces. Rear Admiral Sims on April 20, was given orders to sail at best speed to Vera Cruz, Mexico to aid the United States naval forces already in the area. Aboard his flagship the USS Birmingham, Admiral Sims steamed south for Mexico. In a 2-day dash his flotilla of 14 destroyers arrived on station off Vera Cruz and Tampico.

On May 4, 1914 the Jenkins is just off the Panuco, River near Tampico. The Captain of the Jenkins is advised by the Constitutionalists ashore in Tampico that if any American ships came into the river they would empty and ignite the oil reserves held above the city of Tampico, which would cause certain destruction to the city. The Jenkins was reporting that little firing could be heard ashore and things seemed quiet. The rebels were reported to be bringing artillery they had captured at Monterey, but at the present time there was no signs of its arrival. The Navy Department advised the Jenkins that there were not any intentions for them to enter the river there.

For her Mexican service her crew is entitled to wear the Mexican Service Medal for the following dates of Mexican service:

April 22-May 10, 1914, and May 14-June 14, 1914

When released from this duty the Jenkins took a cruise eastward across the mid-Atlantic. By the beginning of June 1914 the Jenkins was in the waters of the Canary Islands just off the western coast of Africa. As she is anchored off Lobos Island the Captain of the Jenkins receives a dispatch from the Navy Department ordering him to sail to Tuxpan, Mexico to protect American’s living in that area of Mexico. Once her duties were finished in Mexican waters the Jenkins was ordered to report to the Boston Navy Yard.

For the most of 1916 the Jenkins operated out of the Boston and Portsmouth, NH Navy Yards under the command of Lt. Frederick Vallette McNair, Jr. Life was a routine of several days in port and then a few days out at sea. This is known from newspaper articles such as this notation from the Friday June 2, 1916 edition of The Portsmouth Herald. On June 1 she had arrived in Boston coming from Rockport, Maine. “Several of the crew of the destroyer Jenkins enjoyed shore liberty on Thursday evening. The ship will put to sea today.” At 1:00 O’clock on the afternoon of June 2 she sailed back north again for Portland, Maine.

The German U-boat U-53 in October of 1916 was operating in the waters off the east coast of the United States and Canada. The U-53 sinks several ships and on October 8 at 4:30 in the evening the U-53 sinks the SS Stephano on her way from St. Johns, N. F. bound for New York. The USS Balch rescues 140 passengers and crew from the sea and later transfers them to the USS Jenkins where she transported them to Newport News.

On the same day the SS Stephano was sunk the fishing vessel Victor and Ethan was accidentally sunk by the SS Harry Luchenbach, 30-miles south by east of the Light Ship off Providence, RI. The Harry Luchenbach picked up the 17 fishermen and placed them on the light ship. They spent 3 days there and while stranded witnessed the destruction the U-53 was causing in the area. The fishermen saw the U-53 sink several ships and say that they saw at least two different German U-boats. On the third day the Jenkins came to the light ship and picked up the stranded fishermen and took them to Newport.

At the opening of 1917 the Jenkins was in reduced commission at the Charleston Navy Yard. Due to recent tensions with Germany the US Navy gave orders for several ships to be ready for duty on Neutrality Patrols off the east coast of the United States. Yard workers were put on a 24-hour schedule to get several ships ready for sea. The schedule from the Charleston Yard was to have the USS Rhode Island ready by February 18, 1917, the Kearsage ready by February 21, the Jenkins ready by February 20 and the Nebraska ready on March 16.

As the war raged in Europe, Jenkins continued neutrality patrol operations along the North American coast in search of possible German U-boats. The patrols and maneuvers sharpened her war-readiness, so that, true to Navy tradition, she would be ready for any eventuality when she would be called on.

From excerpts of the USS Jenkins War Diary is this entry from May 19, 1917. “At the Navy Yard Boston. The crew is gradually taking shape. When we arrived at the yard we were short-handed and most of the men we had were raw recruits some of whom were enlisted in February and March on the ship and others were fresh from the Training Station after a short period of training. The fleet had been directed to fill out our complement but from the appearance of most of the men they sent they must have been unloading their sweepings on us.  A number of these men were transferred to the USS Virginia (Receiving Ship at Boston) as totally undesirable.”

Jenkins sailed for Europe on May 26, 1917 with six other destroyers, the Paulding, Patterson, Drayton, Trippe, Warrington, and Walke. The fleet of 7 destroyers arrived in Queenstown, Ireland on June 1, 1917 and they began anti-submarine operations on the Western Approaches within a week. At first they were detailed in specific patrol areas along the Western Approaches looking for any stray incoming merchant ships and were to escort them to safety. But this proved to be a very inefficient use of the destroyers as the vastness of the Western Approaches gave then little likelihood of finding a straggler or even spotting a U-boat. By the early summer months of 1917 the convoy system had been put in place thereby giving these destroyers a real job of flanking and escorting the inbound convoys. They now had a real mission with three directives; 1) Destroy U-boats; 2) protect and escort Merchant Ships; 3) Save the crews and passengers of torpedoed ships. In the early days the only weapon the seven U. S. destroyers had to bring to bear against the U-boat was a particularly ineffective 50-pound depth charge, which was hand launched. But later on these destroyers were re-fitted with dual depth charge racks on the stern, and Thornycroft depth charge throwers and Y-guns to launch depth charges from the sides of the deck that finally gave the destroyers some teeth that could bite into the U-boats.

On June 10, 1917 while the Jenkins was convoying a merchant vessel, a British sloop, the HMS Laburnum came along to relieve her. The HMS Laburnum was a 250-foot Minesweeper of the British Royal Navy of the Acacia Class built in 1915. Being that it was very dark that day and although the Laburnum saw the Jenkins at least five minutes before the collision, it appears that the Jenkins did not see the Laburnum until they were right on top of one another and it was too late to avoid collision. The Laburnum struck the Jenkins abreast the forward fire-room, but was only going about 4 or 5 knots, the engines having been previously reversed. Only a few rivets were popped, and water flooded a few spaces on the Jenkins and there were no injuries. She steamed into St. Johns, Newfoundland and made repairs and was back in service in short order.

An unusual tribute was given to an American sailor in St. Johns, Newfoundland on June 11, 1917. Water Tender Edward Oliver Joy, USN of the USS Jenkins died of Lobar Pneumonia on May 28, 1917 while being treated in the Hospital at St. Johns. Edward O. Joy had enlisted into the United States Navy on September 8, 1915 and had been on active duty until his death. Joy was from Utica, New York, and his mother Rose Mitchel of 871 Bleecker Street in Utica was his next of kin.

But for an American bluejacket, Joy’s funeral was quite the event in St. Johns, there were representatives of the British Navy, the Newfoundland Colonial Government, the colony’s naval reserve, infantry forces and a forestry battalion who joined with citizens of the United States, and Newfoundland who all gathered under the direction of the American Consul, Mr. Benedict, in giving every honor to Water Tender Edward O. Joy, USN, and the navy and flag for which he served.

The Right Rev. Monsignor McDermott officiated at Joy’s naval funeral services, which were held in Counsel Hall of the Knights of Columbus. Premier Sir Edward P. Morris, Dr. P. T. McGrath, president of the legislative council; Commander McDermott and a squad from the British warship HMS Briston, detachments from the several colonial services, and American citizens residing in St. Johns, were among those present. The entire assemblage of people joined the procession which escorted the body to the railroad station.

As the casket, draped with the Stars and Stripes, was carried out and placed onto a gun carriage, a firing squad of British bluejackets presented arms. Floral wreaths were placed in such numbers as to cover the entire casket. One would think that the local St. Johns folks loved funerals, or maybe this was the most excitement they have had in a while and felt it was as good as any to come out and see what all the fuss was about.

On June 13, 1917 a "Court of Enquiry" to investigate the collision between the Jenkins and the Laburnum was begun. The court was composed of Captain C. D. Carpendale, Royal Navy (HMS Colleen) acting as the court’s President, with Commander Cochrane of the Myosotis, Royal Navy, and Captain Joseph Taussig, USN. It was what the navy called a Board of Investigation as no oaths were taken. It was thought that probably it is the first time in history that a court composed of British and American Naval Officers ever sat together. The procedure was carried out as contemplated, and the findings of the court were approved by both Admiral Bayly (RN), and Admiral Sims (USN). The Court stated the following, “We did not find anybody to blame, but laid it to one of those things that must be expected where a large number of ships are operating at night without navigation lights, and in a confined area.” The Court was only in session from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Jenkins makes port in Cork, Ireland and there is some time to give parts of her crew liberty on June 23, 1917. Liberty parties depart the Jenkins in the morning, but liberty parties were recalled due to troubles in Cork. This was noted in the ships War Diary, “23 June 1917 – In dock, Haul bow line, Queenstown, Ireland. Made all preparations to grant leave, but during the afternoon watch received orders from Vice-Admiral not to grant permission of officers or enlisted men to visit Cork on account of the expected trouble upon return of the prisoners in England.”

Once again the Jenkins was back on duty status and she was again out at sea protecting the convoys. Action against the Germans was not long in waiting for the crew of the Jenkins. On July 17, 1917 at 3:55 in the afternoon the Jenkins is at position 50.40N 12.30W and sights a German U-boat on the surface heading northeast. The U-boat quickly pulls the plug and submerged. Jenkins heads at flank speed for the spot the German was last seen and drops depth charges, but no result to the attack.

Six days later on July 23, 1917 the U-54 under command of Commander Kurt Heeseler sank the British steamer Huelva, and left 31 survivors alone on the sea. The Jenkins picked up the Huelva survivors at 2:30 on the afternoon of the 23rd of July.

On August 16, 1917 a new Ensign reports for duty aboard the Jenkins. He is Ensign Paul Lyman Hammond, USNRF, and he was made the Signal and Radio Officer. Hammond was born in Egypt, Massachusetts in 1882, and was a Harvard Graduate with the class of 1906.

The SS Cento on September 11, 1917 was 11-miles southeast of the old Head of Kinsale forming for an outbound convoy escorted by the Jenkins, and the HMS Snowdrop, when at 3:00 in the afternoon the Centro was torpedoed. She floundered but still was seaworthy and two armed trawlers came out and escorted the Centro back to Queenstown safely. Several days later on September 28 the Q-ship HMS Cullist had caught a German U-boat and damaged it. The U-boat made a run for it but unknown to the U-boat was heading in the direction of the USS Ericsson and USS Jenkins. Promptly both the Ericsson and Jenkins gave chase, and in fading light the boys from the Ericsson got off two shots, which missed. The Skipper of the Ericsson then attempted to ram the injured U-boat but this too was a miss. It was believed that the German got away.

On September 23, 1917 the SS Philadelphia had left the States with 37 Medical Corps Officers and supplies bound for England. She was steaming in convoy with at least the Lenape, Antilles, and Finland but somehow had been separated. By now she was in the Western Approaches and the USS Ericsson and Jenkins come to her rescue and escorts the lonely Philadelphia to safety.

By October of 1917 as seen from a typical entry in her War Diary, her days were filled with reports of U-boat attacks and rescues.

19 October 1917 - Steaming as before in column with other destroyers of division. Received orders that convoy was five hours ahead of time in arriving at rendezvous “B”, altered course and speed to comply with same.

0755 hrs. – Joined convoy “H.D. 7” and took assigned position on port quarter of rear ship of left hand column.  The convoy consisted of 20 merchant ships as shown in appended sailing orders under the Ocean Escort of HMS Orama, auxiliary cruiser. During the forenoon watch intercepted radio message from (U.S.) S.S. J. Luchenbach which stated she was being shelled by submarine in a position about 509 miles ahead directly in our prescribed route. USS Nicholson was ordered to the relief of the S.S. Luchenbach. During the afternoon watch went alongside USS Conyngham and was ordered to take (under escort) British S.S. City of Chester, which had boiler trouble, and British S.S. Oakland Grange, which was short handed on account of 24 fever cases on board.  The Oakland Grange, however, could still make sufficient speed to remain with the convoy, while the City of Chester could only make good 4 knots. So we permitted the Oakland Grange to remain with the convoy and remained with the City of Chester. She stopped to make repairs, this vessel circling her as protection against attack.

1800 hrs. – We received message stating that HMS Orama had been torpedoed and had been abandoned.  After we received orders to go to the assistance of the Orama

2152 hrs. – Arrived

2156 hrs. – Orama sank, leaving no survivors as they had all been received previously, 473 in number, by the USS Jacob Jones and Conyngham. We remained in vicinity searching for survivors until 2330 hrs., in company with Conyngham and HMS Aubrietia (Special service ship), when we were ordered by the Conyngham to go to the assistance of the City of Chester. About 0030 hrs., we were orders to rejoin the convoy, leaving the Aubrietia to pick up the City of Chester.

On November 15, 1917 at 5:25 in the evening the SS St. Louis steams out of New York bound for England carrying 47 Signal Corps officers, 15 Medical Corps officers, and another 15 casual officers. By November 21 the St. Louis is in the Western approaches and is being escorted by the destroyers Wadsworth and Jenkins. About 3:30 in the afternoon the Jenkins was struck on her port side amidships by an unknown underwater object. No apparent damage was seen and nothing more was seen on or in the water. But there was a report that a U-boat had been seen in the same area, so it may have been possible she was struck by the U-boat itself or could have been a glancing blow from a fired dud torpedo. Anyway Luck was with the crew of the Jenkins that day.

In mid-December 1917, the fourteenth troop convoy consisting of the Adratic, Pocahontas, Susquehanna, Antigone, President Lincoln, Covington and Dekalb steam out of New York under escort. Among the escorts was the Jenkins. On December 27 as the convoy is in the danger zone the Dekalb at 40-minutes past noon gave six blasts of her whistle, thereby giving notice to the convoy she has sighted a U-boat. The Jenkins at the time was near the Dekalb and rings up flank speed and rushed to the spot of the sighting, and drops a pattern of depth charges. In short order the Jenkins discovers they have depth charged a floating spar from a previous wreckage that had been floating vertically in the water, which to the lookouts aboard the Dekalb looked just like a German U-boat periscope.

On the second day of January 1918 Lt. Commander Timothy Jerome Keleher relinquishes his command of the Jenkins to Lt. Commander J. L. Kauffman. He would command the Jenkins for the rest of the war and was her last active duty commanding officer.

In the second week of January 1918 a 14-ship convoy leaves Halifax, Nova Scotia bound east out into the open Atlantic. In this convoy was the 560-foot American Line SS New York carrying 143 casual officers and 2 casual enlisted men. The SS New York was originally built for the Inman Line in 1888 and was then named the SS City of New York. In February 1893, the Inman Line was merged into the American Line and by an act of Congress the renamed New York was transferred to the US flag. She served the United States Navy as the USS Harvard during the Spanish American War and the USS Plattsburg later in World War I, and she is also remembered for nearly colliding with the HMS Titanic.

Four days after leaving the relative safety of Halifax, the convoy in which the SS New York is steaming in the mid-Atlantic in dangerous waters. On the evening of January 15, 1918 at 7:40 in the evening the USS Jenkins steaming with her lights darkened approaches the area where the SS New York was in the convoy, and her gunners who were a bit on edge due to the darkness of the evening believes she is a German U-boat and opens fire on the Jenkins. This causes the captain of the Jenkins to switch on his running lights to identify himself to the New York. But by then the gunners aboard the New York got off one shot, which hit the Jenkins before they realized whom they were shooting at. The shell from the New York hits the water just short of the Jenkins and ricocheted off the surface and hits a stanchion and the Number 5 gun shield aboard the Jenkins.

At the No. 5 gun on the Jenkins the shell hits Seaman 2c William Lusso who is instantly killed. Seaman O. H. Davis was struck on his inner left thigh, tearing an area about as large as the palm of the hand, severing three leg muscles, and lacerating the scrotum but not entirely through. Chief Boatswain’s Mate H. D. Krieg was struck by a fragment on the right foot, severing three toes; also two superficial scalp wounds on the left side of his head. Coxswain H. H. Berg was struck by fragments, one in the right leg above the knee causing a minor abrasion, one on the end of the left little finger, and on his right cheek, none of which were very serious. Gunners Mate 2c A. N. Neas was struck on his right thigh, making a shallow gash about one and one half inches in length. Chief Boatswain’s Mate Kreig was from Garber, Iowa and was the first man from Iowa to be injured during the war. He was serving in his third enlistment at the time of the accident and had served a total of 14-months on active service during the war. By December of 1918 Kreig had recovered from his injuries and was ready to again join the crew of the Jenkins.

A call for medical help is sent out from the Jenkins and the USS Shaw, another of the escorting destroyers, comes to the aid of the Jenkins. Commander M. S. Davis on the Shaw brings his destroyer quickly alongside of the Jenkins and passes a line and rigs for a transfer of men. Commander Davis sends over to the Jenkins his Assist. Surgeon and a Chief Pharmacists mate. This effort likely saved the lives of those injured aboard the Jenkins. Commander Davis was later awarded a commendation from Vice-Admiral Sims who expressed appreciation and satisfaction of seamanship of Commander Davis in displaying skillful handling of the Shaw when placed along side of the Jenkins on a dark and rough sea.

The destroyers Jenkins and Sterett escorted the USS Bridge from Queenstown to Westward on January 26 and the following day they escorted the SS St. Louis into Liverpool. And on February 9, 1918 the destroyers Jenkins, Allen, Wainwright, Sterett and HMS Crocus, escorted convoy HE-5 to Devonport, England. Five days later on February 14 the Jenkins, Allen, Wainwright, Sterett, and HMS Crocus, and Aubretia escorted convoy HD22 to Folkstone. Jenkins finished out the month of February by escorting the SS Innisfallen from Queenstown to Liverpool on the 21st.

On June 6, 1918 the Jenkins is operating off the old Head of Kinsale when she again strikes something submerged in the water. Commander Kauffman orders depth charges dropped but nothing is seen. Again luck was still riding with the crew.

While working out of Queenstown, another death among the crew occurred. Watertender James Conrad Mullen passes away on July 23, 1918 from Respiratory disease.

Early in the morning of August 13, 1918 a field of seventeen transports under the escort of HMS Roxburgh, is sighted. The destroyer’s consisting of the USS Terry DD-25 and the USS Jenkins, joins with the convoy to add extra protection. Two of the ships in the convoy were the HMS Margha and the HMS Anselm, both ships carried units of the 71st Artillery CAC. On Thursday August 15, the convoy safely sailed into Liverpool, with flags flying and the band playing on the deck for the first time since leaving Halifax.

Within 3-days the Jenkins is escorting another convoy. August 18 the Jenkins, Trippe, Terry, and HMS Snowdrop escort outbound convoy OL30 from Liverpool bound westward. The Q-ship HMS Heather shadowed the convoy observing for U-boats.

The Jenkins, and the Paulding along with the HMS Flying Fox on September 5, 1918 were escorting the United States storeship Proteus and oiler Kanawha outbound from Queenstown to the relative safety zone of position 16.00 West before turning back.

On October 6, 1918 the SS Tintoretto was at position 50.15N, 12.33W and reports by radio they have engine troubles. The Jenkins, Trippe and HMS Jessamine are dispatched to seek her out and assist. At the time there was a heavy gale blowing but the 3 ships succeed in finding the Tintoretto and escorted her into Queenstown before she was attacked by a U-boat.

Following the signing of the Armistice November 11, 1918, Jenkins sailed for home, arriving in Boston January 3, 1919. Jenkins operated along the Atlantic coast until arriving at Philadelphia July 20, and she remained there until her decommissioning on October 31, 1919. There after she was berthed with the reserve fleet until she was sold for scrap in 1935. Jenkins was part of the 85 destroyers of the “Red Lead Fleet” anchored in the Reserve Basin of the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The fleet got its name from the red rust-preventing paint slapped on the ships when decommissioned. Her name was stricken from the navy on March 8, 1935. Jenkins was scrapped in 1935 in accordance with the Treaty of London.

USS Jenkins wartime commanding Officers:

Commander W. H. Lee 1917

Commander H. D. Cooke 1917

Commander T. J. Keleher, 1917

Commander J. L. Kauffman 1918

An undated war-time photo of the Jenkins

Another undated photo of the Jenkins. In this view she does not have her war-time paint and this may be a pre-war photo. An interesting tidbit about this photo is that it is reversed. If you look closely at the hull number near the bow on the origional photo you can see that the numbers "42" are reversed so this negative was flipped the wrong way. This was noticed by someone who lives near where this photo was taken. The Jenkins is passing Cobh, leaving Cork Harbor outward bound. During WWI this was known as Queenstown. The person who noticed this lives just at the top of the hill in this photo. Additionally the church steeple seen on the left side of this photo is Scots Church, which is presently a local museum.


The Crews Muster

As I find information and stories of former crewmen of the USS Jenkins I will post them in this section. If you have a family menber who served on the USS Jenkins please e-mail me at: Joe Hartwell


Chief Watertender John J. McCauley

In the Beverly National Cemetery, located in Burlington County, New Jersey there rests a white marble military grave marker, with the name of John Joseph McCauley inscribed on the face. Who was this man and what story does his grave marker tell us? This is who John Joseph McCauley, a man who served in two World Wars was.

McCauley was born on April 12, 1887 to Catherine Veronica Lavin and John McCauley of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Growing up in Philadelphia John Joseph McCauley likely saw many ships coming and going along the Delaware River, and in the various ship yards along the river front of the city. Likely they had a calling to him and possibly he may have as a young boy thought that he one day would sail on these ships. Just a few months shy of being 22-years old McCauley entered the Navy Recruiting station in Philadelphia on January 20, 1909 and joined the navy.

Likely the first ship McCauley was assigned to was, the pre-dreadnaught battleship USS Wisconsin BB-9. In May of 1910 he is listed as a member of the crew as a coal passer. The Wisconsin was then in the Portsmouth Navy Yard at Kittery, Maine and was being placed into reserve. The Wisconsin had been in Cuban waters in the previous months and Coal Passer McCauley likely was aboard the Wisconsin during the Cuban cruise. After being placed in reserve the Wisconsin was transferred down to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Likely McCauley was aboard on the trip down to Philadelphia.

McCauley remained on Active Service in the navy after that and very little is known about his duty until he was assigned to the destroyer USS Jenkins DD-42 on January 21, 1916 at his present rating of Watertender First Class. McCauley would serve during the war aboard the Jenkins until September 11, 1918.  He briefly served aboard the battleship USS Maine from November 3-6, 1918. On November 6 he was assigned to the Receiving Ship at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and was still there until about April 20, 1919.

He may have been assigned to another ship as on the 1920 Federal Census he was listed as living in the home of Henry Geier, who was his father-in-law, in Philadelphia and was listed as being a Watertender at a ship yard, which was likely the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

On July 9, 1919 while in the Navy and serving at the Philadelphia Navy Yard McCauley married Martha Margaret Geier (1890-1964). Martha and John McCauley during their first years of marriage lived in the home of Martha’s father Henry Geier who ran his own shoe repair shop in Philadelphia. On March 9, 1920 Martha gave birth to their first child a son they aptly named John Joseph McCauley, Jr. Their second son was born in September of 1921 and was named Henry J. McCauley, who was named in honor of Martha’s father Henry. Little Henry died during his first year of an unknown cause. Martha and John had a third son named Robert who was born about 1924.

McCauley had been advanced to the rating of Chief Watertender and served on Active Duty in the navy until April 15, 1925. Now a civilian McCauley took over the Geier home located at 3404 Emerald Street in Philadelphia with his wife Martha and the 2 boys. Henry Geier, Martha’s father, who was then in his late 70’s lived with them, along with a 20-year old niece named Agnes who was also living in the home.

John McCauley worked as a conductor for a local Philadelphia transit company for many years. During the Second World War, John J. McCauley was called back to Active Duty with the Navy. On March 23, 1942 he reported for duty at the Philadelphia Navy Yard with the Reserve Fleet and was then a Fireman Third Class. Throughout the war he served at the Philadelphia Navy Yard until his discharge on July 3, 1945.

Once again a civilian he returned to his home located at 6101 Hawthorne Street in Philadelphia, and began again life without the navy. Martha and John McCauley would live the rest of their lives in Philadelphia. Martha passed away on May 23, 1964 and John would continue on alone for another 5 years.

John would pass away at the age of 82-years on October 25, 1969 and was buried on October 31 in the Beverly National Cemetery located in Beverly, New Jersey.

Gravestone of

John Joseph McCauley

Pennsylvania

CWT

US Navy

World War I & II

April 12, 1887

October 25, 1969

Walter Glenn Barker

Carole Barker contacted me about her great-uncle Walter Glenn Barker who was a crewman on the USS Jenkins during WWI. She shared this information about Walter.

Walter Glenn Barker was born January 17, 1897 in Meridian, Ms. to William Anderson Barker and Lou Delia Vinson Barker both of whom were born in MS. Wm Anderson Barker was a retail merchant. Walter Glenn Barker was found to be a graduate of Meridian High School for the year 1915-1916. He has two sisters, Kate May and Nellie M. who were both younger than he. He also had two half siblings, Lawrence Wellington Barker (my grandfather) and Birdie Belle. Their mother was Kate Belle Vinson. Walter's draft registration card describes him as stout, blue eyes and with light colored hair. A service record shows him assigned to the USS Jenkins May 31, 1919. The 1920 Lauderdale Co., MS census lists him as Glen W. Barker and a clerk in his father's store. On his mother's obituary of 1946 it says that he was living in Pascagoula, MS. He died Dec 2, 1952 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Meridian, MS.

Boatswain Mate First Class, William Joseph Hurst

As told by Sandra Hurst Mader, William was her Great Uncle.

William Joseph Hurst was born May 9, 1892 in Cleveland, Ohio to James Hurst and Catherine McCormick. James was a ship's carpenter on the Cleveland shipyards. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1871 to Irish immigrants. Catherine was born in Northern Ireland in 1865 and came to America in 1885. They were married in 1889 and had five children, James John born 1889 (my Grandpa), William born 1892, Hugh born 1894, Hattie born 1896, and Frank born 1898.

William received his draft notice for the U.S. Army shortly before June 5, 1917, the date the second draft registration was to be held of men in William's age group. The next day he went downtown and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve Forces. By April 10, 1917, he was signed up and by May 11, 1917, William was aboard the U.S.S. Jenkins in Philadelphia as a seaman. On March 1, 1918 he was promoted to coxswain until the end of the war.

After the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918 the U.S.S. Jenkins would soon be sailing back to America, but William stayed in Queenstown, Ireland where the Jenkins was based out of during the war. It seems the lad got into a bit of trouble in Queenstown, having to do with alcohol and the hospital but his enlistment was extended until May 8, 1920. From the end of the war, William was assigned to the U.S.S. Dixie, AD1, an auxiliary cruiser and The U.S.S. Santa Malta SP3125, a troop ship bringing soldiers back home from France. Within that time he straightened up and by July 1, 1919 was promoted to Boatswain Mate First Class, after his last trip on the Santa Malta. On October 24, 1919, he was rewarded with his separation with an honorable discharge at the Pittsburgh Demobilization Station.

In civilian life, William was a printer and never married. He died April 17, 1936 of tuberculosis. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. His military record states he was 5 feet, 5 1/2 inches tall and 158 pounds with brown eyes and dark brown hair with a ruddy or reddish complexion. He must have been a heck of a guy because on June 11, 1920, his big brother James John Hurst had a son (my Dad) and named him William Joseph Hurst after his uncle.

On June 30, 2006 William Joseph Hurst's Veterans Admistration military headstone was placed. The order from Calvary Cemetery to the VA for the headstone was placed on April 17, 2006 which, was exactly 60 years to the day that William Joseph Hurst passed away.

Watertender James Conrad Mullen

I doing research for the history of Boatswain William Joseph Hurst, profiled above, Mike and Sandy Mader discovered another one of the Jenkins crew, Watertender James Conrad Mullen, who had passed away on July 23, 1918 of Pneumonia. Sandy commented about Watertender Mullen, "We feel bad for this young man who gave his life to America but is all but forgotton." All that can be found about Mullen is from the listing of WWI Navy Deaths and Sandy continued with "We searched everywhere we could think of, but besides the document attached, we found he enlisted 2 Dec 1917 and is not buried at an American military cemetery overseas. We can't find an age, place of birth, family members or burial place." Information from the WWI Navy Death index states that Watertender James Conrad Mullen was born in New York and died on July 23, 1918 in Queenstown, Ireland of Pneumonia. His next of kin was his cousin Mary A. Waley of 402 13th St. in Brooklyn, NY.

All that can be said about Watertender Mullen is that 92-years after his death he is remembered here with his shipmates.
Watertender James Conrad Mullen, Rest Ye Oars Sailor

Seaman 2c William Lusso

William Lusso, born July 1898 in Wyandotte Township, Wyandotte County, Kansas was the son of John and Barbra Lusso, John an Italian and Barbara a Swiss immigrant. He lived in Wyandotte, Kansas until 1910 and moved to Kansas City, Kansas by 1910 with his family. Before William registered for the World War 1 draft, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After training in Great Lakes and Philidelphia, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Jenkins DD-42. On January 15, 1918, during convoy escort a shell fired from the steamship SS New York was accidently fired at the Jenkins. Seaman 2nd. Class William Lusso died from his injuries during the friendly fire.

Information on Seaman Lusso and the SS New York collision supplied by Heather McCauley who is the granddaughter of John Joseph McCauley, Fireman 1st Class, who also served on the USS Jenkins at the same time.

Carl Henderson Simpson

Carl Henderson Simpson was born in Mecklenburg County, NC, which is close to Monroe, NC on April 12, 1900. Carl died of a stroke on June 28, 1952 in Cleveland County, NC.

Carl H. Simpson served in both the US Navy and the US Army. He enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 7, 1917, and he served aboard the USS Jenkins and the USS Missouri (BB11). While serving in the navy his highest rank was Fireman Second Class, and he served in the US Navy until Honorably Discharged on June 26, 1919.

Simpson when discharged from the Navy immediately enlisted in the US Calvary. During his tour in the Calvary he served in Troop "L" 3rd Calvary from July 17, 1919 through July 16 1920, and with Troop "E" 16th Calvary from July 23, 1920 through July 22, 1921. His vocation was listed as Carpenter. After the Calvary, he served in the regular Army with the 1st Observation (Flash) Battery at Ft. Bragg, NC. His final discharge was August 24, 1925.

He married Ruth Viola Moore, soon after his discharge in 1925. They were married at Ruth’s parents house in Shelby, NC. Together Carl and Ruth would have 12 children, 3 of which died early on.

Carl’s son Steve Simpson, of Lattimore, NC tells of his father, “My dad was a policeman in Shelby, NC at some point but mostly he was a sharecropper in the Zion Church Community north of Shelby. He was proud of his 8 plus years service to his country. He would have probably retired from the military if he had not gotten married. I don't remember him because he died just short of my 3rd birthday in 1952. I know he was a hard worker and loved his God, Country, and Family.”

Other Men who served on the USS Jenkins

Mike and Sandy Mader who provided the information on Watertender Mullen supplied the folowing list of men who also served on the USS Jenkins.

Watertender, Charles Vernon Gettinger
Born Blackwood, PA
Residence Shadyside, OH.
Enlisted 10 Apr 1914 Pittsburgh, PA
USS Jenkins 11 Apr 1917-14 Mar 1918
Seaman, William Trieschman
Born Cincinnatti, OH
Residence Cincinnatti, OH
Enlisted 18 Jan 1917 Cincinnatti, OH
USS Jenkins 6 Apr 1917-14 Dec 1917
Engineman, Ralph Desautels
Residence Biddeford, ME
Enlisted 14 Jan 1916 Portland, ME
USS Jenkins 2 Jun 1918-7 Aug 1918
Coxwain, Edward Leroy Wildman
Born Jackson, OH
Residence Dayton, OH
Enlisted 20 Jan 1915 Cincinnatti, OH
USS Jenkins 18 May 1917-11 Nov 1918
Seaman, Douglas Donald Meek
Born Toledo, OH
Residence Toledo, OH
Enlisted 8 May 1918 Detroit, MI
USS Jenkins 11 Jul 1918-20 Aug 1918
Electrician Mate, Joseph Cooney
Residence Baltimore, MD
Enlisted 27 Jul 1917 Baltimore, MD
USS Jenkins 19 Jan 1918-28 Nov 1918
Carpenters Mate, Fred Eickbusch
Born Cincinnatti, OH
Residence Cheviat, OH
Enlisted 12 Jul 1916 Cincinnatti, OH
USS Jenkins 27 Apr 1917-11 Nov 1918
Engineman, Albert J. Jones
Residence Orono, ME
Enlisted 5 Jul 1917 Lowell, MA
USS Jenkins 6 Apr 1918-11 Nov 1918
Yeoman, Charles Wellford Fox
Residence Baltimore, MD
Enlistment Unknown
USS Jenkins 10 Oct 1917-15 Dec 1918
Fireman, Charles Elmer Cheshier
Born Haydenville, OH
Residence Akron, OH
Enlisted 29 Jun 1917 Minneapolis, MN
USS Jenkins 28 Sep 1917-5 Jun 1918
Seaman, Thomas J. Mooney
Residence Portland, ME
Enlisted 19 Feb 1917 Boston, MA
USS Jenkins 18 Oct 1917-16 May 1918
Engineman, Walter August Laspe
Residence Baltimore, MD
Enlisted 6 Apr 1917 Baltimore, MD
USS Jenkins 16 May 1919-13 Jun 1919
Boatswain Mate, George Walter Hickman
Born Roam County, TN
Residence Cincinnatti, OH
Enlisted 18 Jan 1917 Cincinnatti, OH
USS Jenkins 6 Apr 1917-11 Nov 1918
Lieutenant, Edmund J. Kidder
Residence Houlton, ME
Enlisted 25 Jan 1914 Annapolis, MD
USS Jenkins 20 Sep 1918-14 Mar 1919
Pharmacists Mate, Alvin Merle Johnson
Residence Baltimore, MD
Enlisted Unknown date Baltimore, MD
USS Jenkins 7 Jan 1917-8 Oct 1919
Watertender, Emanuel Himmel
Residence Baltimore, MD
USS Jenkins 18 May 1917- 11 Dec 1917
Seaman, John William Friel
Residence Baltimore, MD
USS Jenkins 16 May 1919-13 Jun 1919
Seaman, James Joseph Driscoll
Residence Baltimore, MD
USS Jenkins 16 May 1919-23 Jun 1919
John Earl Thompson
Residence Baltimore, MD
USS Jenkins 1 Jun 1918-11 Jul 1919
Fireman 1st class, McCauley John Joseph
Born Philadelphia PA
Residence Philadelphia PA
USS Jenkins 21 January 1916-11 September 1918
John's career in the Navy spanned 1909-1925...
and
also served during WWII when he was recalled
to active duty.

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This page was created on 12 March, 2004 and last modified on: Thu, Jun 16, 2016

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