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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Jacob Jones

 

Jacob Jones was born near Smyrna, Del., in March 1768. Appointed Midshipman 10 April 1799, he served in United States during the quasi-war with France. In 1803 he sailed in frigate Philadelphia to the Barbary coast. On 31 October, when Philadelphia ran aground near Tripoli harbor, Jones was captured by the Tripoli-tans and held prisoner for 20 months. Upon his return to the United States, he served in Adams and Argus and on 4 June 1810 took command of sloop Wasp.

 

After the outbreak of war with England, Wasp captured brig Dolphin 13 October 1812; and defeated British ship-of-war Frolic in a bitter struggle off the Delaware capes on the 18th. Commissioned Captain 3 March 1813, Jones then commanded Macedonian and later in the war rendered valuable service to Commodore Chauncey on Lake Ontario.

 

Upon the return of peace with England, he again commanded Macedonian, joined the Mediterranean Squadron under Commodore Decatur, and took part in securing lasting peace with the Barbary powers. Captain Jones assumed command of the Mediterranean Squadron in 1821; and in 1824 he was appointed to the Board of Navy Commissioners. Two years later he became commander of the U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific. At the time of his death, 3 August 1850, Commodore Jones was the commandant of the Naval Asylum in Philadelphia.

 

I

 

(DD-61: dp. 1,150; l. 315'3"; 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 1915; sponsored by Mrs. Jerome Parker Crittendon, great-granddaughter of Jacob Jones; and commissioned 10 February 1916, 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 off 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 26 survivors of the stricken Dafila.

 

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 Queens-town. 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 V-5S commanded by Kapitan Hans Hose. 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.