Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Commander George F. Neal, Commander, Cummings, to Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland.

 

COPY

S-GFN –J.

U. S. S. CUMMINGS.1              

26 June 1917.           

SUBJECT:  Reports probable sinking of submarine.2

From:     Commanding Officer (Lieut-Comdr. C.P. Neal)

To:       Vice Admiral, Queenstown.

     1.   At about 1:30 p.m. 26 June, 1917, in latitude 47°-10’ North, Longitude 6°-00’ West, the bow wave of a submarine was sighted about 1500 yards, two points on port bow.

     2.   Went 25 knots directly for him. Gun pointers at forward gun could see periscope several times for several seconds but it disappeared each time before they could get on due to zigzag of ship.3 As ship got near it could be seen that he was heading from left to right, so I steered to pass about 25 yards ahead of the mass of bubbles which were coming up. Let go depth charge right ahead of him and marked spot with a buoy.

     3.   Evidence that we got him as follows:-

      (a) E.F. Johnson, C.Yeo. [Chief Yeoman], and F.C.Smith, CE(g) [Chief Electrician] were on after deckhouse and J.J.Shea, C.M.M. [Chief Machinist Mate], J.Connell, C.B.M. [Chief Boatswain’s Mate], M.M. Mann, C.W.T. [Chief Water Tender] and G.C. Zimmerman, Bsmth. [Blacksmith], were on the fantail watching for explosion of depth charge. All of the above named Chief Petty Officers are reliable men and they stated that they saw several large and small pieces of debris go up with the explosion.

      (b) After turning and running back to buoy several pieces of heavy broken planking were floating near buoy. This planking had not been seen as we went by first.

      (c) A large blotch of discolored water could be seen about one hundred yards to win<d>ward of buoy.

      (d) Several spots of discolored water detached from main blotch could be seen.

      (e) Large quantities of air could be seen bubbling up near buoy. This lasted only for a short while, three or four minutes after our return, near buoy.

     4.   Could not remain in vicinity very long due to that to fact that we were convoying the troop ships.4

/s/ G. F. Neal.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517.

Footnote 1: Cummings was escorting the first group of the first troop convoy carrying the American Expeditionary Force.

Footnote 2: According to U-Boats Destroyed, no U-Boat was destroyed in this attack. Kemp, U-Boats Destroyed: 29.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Albert Gleaves, commanding the convoy, ordered the officers in the convoy to constantly zig-zag. Gleaves, History of the Transport Service: 37.

Footnote 4: “To that” is crossed out in pencil and replaced with “to.”

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