Skip to main content

Chief Gunner Bernard P. Donnelly to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

June 17, 1917.

From:     B.P.Donnelly, Chief Gunner, U.S.Navy, in Charge Armed Guard Schooner “GLYNN”.

To:              Secretary of the Navy.

                   Bureau of Navigation.

SUBJECT:   Engagement of Submarine.

1.   The Schooner “GLYNN” in Lat. 36° 44' S., Long. 00° 22' W.,1 at 6:45 P.M. June 14, 1917, sighted submarine approaching from southwesternly direction at high speed. At 6:55 P.M. submarine opened fire at about 4500 yards distance, closing rapidly to what I estimated to be 3000 to 3600 yards. The submarine fired five shots before getting our range. The sixth exploded about 50 feet off our starboard beam, fragments going through the foresail, foretopsail and jib. The seventh exploded about 100 feet off our port quarter.

     2.   We then engaged, having held fire until the enemy came to its closest range. Our first shot ranged 3000 yards, deflection 48,2 fell short and to the right. Brought the range up to 3200 and then to 3500 yards, deflection 46 to 43. The shots then fell close aboard the submarine, which immediately began diving to evade fire. Last shots I believed took effect, but the enemy was evading fire by diving rapidly. Action over at 7:15 P.M.

     The enemy failed to return to surface. We stood by loaded throughout the night. At 3:45 A.M., June 15th, no further signs of enemy.

     3.   At the time of attack the “GLYNN” was under full sail on port tack working eastward. The night was dark. The moon rose at 2:10 A.M. Moderate breezes from the eastward.

     4.   The enemy was almost 250 feet long; no periscope visible; wireless strung from top of tower to deck aft. Mounted two guns, one forward and one aft. When diving she went down on an even level, guns remaining on deck as she dove. Calibre of guns 9 centimeters, same obtained by measuring fragments found on board.

B. P. Donnelly    

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There is a note at the top of the document: “Chief Gunner Bernard P. Donnelly, in charge of the Armed Guard/on the GLYNN, made the following report on encounter with sub-/marine:”

Footnote 1: According to these coordinates, GLYNN would have been in the South Atlantic, roughly 1,300 miles west of the southern tip of Africa. It is more likely, however, that Donnelly meant 36° 44' N, which would have put the location of GLYNN near the Straits of Gibraltar.

Footnote 2: Deflection is adjusting a shot to anticipate the location of a moving target.