Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Commander Joseph K. Taussig

 

Tuesday

Oct 2 [1917]

At sea

Had a good night last night. Bright moonlight at intervals. Convoy keeps in good formation.1 The ships are in 8 columns, so we cover a good wide area. Eight British destroyers join this morning.2 This was a surprise as they were not due until tomorrow. They have been placed in an outer screen. So the convoy is doubly protected. About now we received wireless message that submarine was sighted about 30 miles to southward of us. About one o’clock the Antrim hoisted signal “Submarine sighted: change course eight points to left.” Some of the men below said they felt the shock of the depth charges. If there was a submarine around it must have been sighted by one of the British destroyers and the vessel let the depth charges go. Visibility was not good at this time and we did not see anything. The convoy made the simultaneous eight point change of course in good order. In fifty minutes we returned to original course. Sea has been smooth but visibility good only at times. Late in afternoon a French trawler sent message that a sailing ship was being shelled by submarine. This was about 30 miles from us. One of the British destroyers was sent to investigate. He reported that he found the sailing ship abandoned, but under full sail. The crew refused to return to her. He put some men on board and they were going to sail her into Devenport.

Source Note: D, RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97. Naval Historical Collection.

Footnote 1: In his diary entry of 1 October, Taussig noted that he was in command of the escort group for a convoy of twenty-eight merchant ships under the command and protection of the Royal Navy armored cruiser Antrim. Ibid.

Footnote 2: The escort group already included six destroyers and two British patrol boats. Ibid.

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