Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Commander Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, U.S. Destroyer Little

[Extract]

Tuesday

July 23 [1918]

Brest

     Fremont1 sent a signal requesting that all commanding officers of destroyers and patrol vessels in port meet on the Little at eleven o’clock which was done. There was not much done at the conference,- something about standardization of printed forms and a discussion of the extention of depth charge tactics.2

     Took a look at the Benham and Jarvis which had been in collision. It seems that the Jarvis’ steering gear jammed and before she could stop she struck the Benham on starboard bow where at bulkhead and between ward room and state room. There was a big sea running and it seems that at the moment of striking the Jarvis’ engines were running full speed astern and her bow was high out of water coming down on the Benham’s forecastle and doing no damage to that ship below the water line excepting to bend some frames. The ward room was wrecked as was one of the state rooms which was unoccupied. Uberroth3 was on the wardroom transom where the Jarvis bow struck and it was remarkable that he was not killed. He was thrown to the deck with the wreckage but aside from shock was uninjured. The Jarvis’ bow is badly smashed and will have to be renewed, but I believe this can be done quicker than the necessary work on the Benham4. . . .

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

Footnote 1: Cmdr. John C. Fremont, head of the Military Inspections Section on the staff of RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, Commander, Patrol Squadrons Based in France.

Footnote 3: Lt. Frank E.P. Uberroth.

Footnote 4: In a report dated 18 August, RAdm. Wilson estimated that repairs to both the destroyers Jarvis and Benham would be completed by the “early part of September.” Wilson to William S. Sims, 18 August 1918, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520.

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