Symbol Of Sacrifice: USS Jacob Jones Bell Returns Home

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Ceremony Highlights & Historical Context

The United Kingdom has ceremoniously returned the bell from the USS Jacob Jones, the first American destroyer lost to enemy attack during World War I, to the United States.

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Martin Connell handed the bell to Admiral James W. Kilby, the U.S. Vice Chief of Naval Operations, during the first Sea Lord’s annual seapower conference at Lancaster House in London.

In December 1917, a German U-boat sank the USS Jacob Jones, resulting in the loss of 64 crew members. The shipwreck was discovered in August 2021, lying 375 feet below the surface, 36 miles south of the Scilly Isles. Concerns over possible unauthorized salvage prompted U.S. authorities to seek the U.K. government’s assistance in reclaiming the bell.

Retrieval and Significance of the Bell

Defence Equipment & Support’s Salvage And Marine Operations (SALMO) team successfully retrieved the bell during its commissioning trials using an advanced remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). Before acquiring the bell, the ROV placed the United States flag on the wreck.

Vice Admiral Connell highlighted the bell’s significance, stating that it represents cooperation and sacrifices between the United Kingdom and the United States.The bell serves as a clear symbol of our collaboration, lasting friendship, and shared sacrifices.

Historical Role of USS Jacob Jones

Admiral Kilby remarked on the legacy of the USS Jacob Jones and its crew.Kilby added that being the first U.S. Destroyer lost in battle, its crew’s legacy will never fade.Their stories will be told, and their loss will be remembered as they preserve the country’s history.

Sam Cox, Director of the Navy’s History and Heritage Command, described the ship’s history and role in World War I.The USS Jacob Jones was part of the first American Combat forces to arrive in Europe.

It played an essential role in convoy operations and rescued 379 sailors from three sunken British ships before being destroyed by the U-53.Vice Admiral Connell also shared his personal experiences regarding the significance of ship bells, highlighting their historical and sentimental value for navy personnel.

Commemoration and Partnership

The bell will be displayed at the National Museum of the United States Navy as an emblem of the crew’s bravery and the longstanding relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. navies.

The event commemorates the crew of the USS Jacob Jones sacrifice, strengthening the historical tie and continuing partnership between the two naval forces.

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Source: Marineinsight