With vital sea lanes to protect from German U-boats, the U.S. Navy arrived in Ireland 100 years ago as America entered World War I. The first ships reached the harbour at Queenstown (now Cobh) on 4 May 1917, and included six destroyers from the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Division Eight, led by Commander Joseph K Taussig on board the USS Wadsworth.
“They braved rough waters, gale-force winds, and German U-boats to protect commercial ships around Great Britain and France,” Tim Forsyth, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ireland said during a centennial commemoration. “Unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans was a huge threat and the sinking of the Lusitania and several other U.S. merchant ships was on everyone’s minds.”
Other conferences, exhibits and articles about the American naval presence in Ireland include:
- Winning the Western Approaches – Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918, through 7 July, at University College Cork.
- Portraits: Women of Cork and the U.S. Navy 1917-1919, a research project by Damian Shiels (Irish in the American Civil War), through 17 September, at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh.
- The Shipwrecks of Cork Harbour website has a page about the U.S. fleet in Ireland, plus a casualty list. History Ireland magazine also has a feature story on “The U.S. Navy at Queenstown” in its May/June issue, but a subscription is required to access the content.