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Diary of Commander Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, Destroyer Division Eight


Aug 14

At sea.

     Last night about 3 o’clock the Cummings which is in the same patrol as we are, reported that he had been in collision with the Tug Flying Spray. No damage to tug, but Cummings had large hole in bow above the waterline and was returning to Queenstown.1 I have been wondering if the Cummings took the tug for a submarine on the surface and tried to ram. Such mistakes could easily be made on a dark night such as it was.|1| Later in the day I received a wireless message from the C-in-C2 saying that the Cummings would go to Liverpool on the 17th for overhaul, taking the Wadsworth’s place, and for the Wadsworth to remain on patrol until the 18th. I suppose this is what we get for boasting how good condition the ship is in. I do not care very much and realize that military necessity is paramount. The officers and men I think are disappointed because they had made plans for leave, etc. Some of the men had not been going ashore lately in order to save their money. I had anticipated a pleasant time with Johnson and Fairfield3 and we had talked over what we would do on arrival at Liverpool.

     We picked up the steamer Gascony near the Fastnet this morning, and escorted her until south of Daunt Rock Light ship 4 when she was allowed to proceed without escort – no patrol vessel from the next beat putting in an appearance. There have been frequent rain squalls, but we have managed to escape most of them by changing course when necessary to do so.

Source Note: D, RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97. The diary is written on ruled paper with a vertical line one inch in along the left margin. The place and date is written in that space. It is sometimes repeated when the diary entry continues on a second page, as it was in this entry.

Footnote 1: A court of inquiry into the collision was held on 15 August 1917. The court found that the Cummings had a hole “about three feet in diameter and three buckled side plates about ten feet above the water line.” They estimated it would require ten days and £966.00 ($1,267)  to repair. They also determined that the tug was at fault and had it held its course and speed “the collision would have been avoided;” DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 2: VAdm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland.

Footnote 3: Cmdr. Alfred W. Johnson, Commander, Conyngham and Cmdr. Arthur P. Fairfield, Commander, McDougal.

Footnote 4: Fastnet is located on the southern tip of Ireland, and Daunt Rock Lightship off Roberts Head on the southern coast of Ireland near Cork.